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President Dmitry Medvedev holds first press conference ;

May 18, 2011 - RUSSIA

Dmitry Medvedev holds the first press conference of his three-year presidency, an indication that his news could be dramatic. It could relate to his expected campaign to hold on to his job. His expected main rival in the 2012 presidential election, his predecessor and now prime minister, Vladimir Putin, is widely seen as a shoo-in. The possibilities include measures to tamp down corruption and to attract investment capital, and his reaction to United States-NATO missile plans for Romania.

Dmitry Medvedev holds the first press conference of his three-year presidency, an indication that his news could be dramatic. It could relate to his expected campaign to hold on to his job. His expected main rival in the 2012 presidential election, his predecessor and now prime minister, Vladimir Putin, is widely seen as a shoo-in.The possibilities include measures to tamp down corruption and to attract investment capital, and his reaction to United States-NATO missile plans for Romania. Putin, considered the most powerful man in the country, was forced by term limits to hand power to Medvedev, and has launched an informal campaign to take back his job at the helm. The Wall Street Journal reports that Medvedev, who has made tamping down on corruption his signature issue, signed a bill on May 4 that outlaws foreign bribery and gives prosecutors the authority to seek large fines for graft. Some Russian analysts have seen Medvedev's softer stance towards NATO as a sign he wants to put distance between himself and Putin, positioning himself as the man best able to do business with the West. He declared at the NATO summit in November that the period of cooling relations between Russia and NATO is over. If his May 18 press conference includes a position on NATO, it is likely to be a testy reaction to the recent news that the United States will position missiles in Romania. The Kremlin has said the placement violates an agreement made in November. The Los Angeles Times notes that Medvedev already has given indications that he sees a future outside the Kremlin. The question is whether that will be in 2012 -- or in 2018 when his term limit expires. He has recently said he would like to teach. (WRITTEN May 2011)

Russia 'to work with Nato on missile defence shield' (BBC 20 Nov 2010)

Russia Criminalizes Foreign Bribery (WSJ 5 May 2011)

Mission accomplished for Nato in Lisbon? (BBC 20 Nov 2010)

Medvedev fights to attract private equity (FT 5 May 2011)

Indecision 2012, Kremlin-style (Moscow News 28 Apr 2011)

Date written/update: 2011-05-18