Russia – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Friday he had not yet decided whether to run for president in 2012 when Dmitry Medvedev's current term ends.

Asked whether he would run again for president, Putin said: My term expired and I thought Medvedev was the best person to replace me and I backed him.

In 2012, we will think together and will take into account the realities of the time, our personal plans, the political landscape and the United Russia party and we will take the decision, Putin told academics and reporters from the Valdai discussion group at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow.

Putin left the Kremlin in May 2008 after eight years as president and handed over power to Medvedev, whom Putin had handpicked as his successor and backed in a presidential election.

Medvedev prompted speculation about a Putin return to the Kremlin last year when he unexpectedly proposed lengthening the presidential term to six years from four.

(Reporting by Janet McBride; writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Stott)