The Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom has refused to rule out the possibility that Vladimir Putin might one day become Russian president again.
Yury Viktorovich's words will be of interest to many countries whose fortunes are closely linked to policy made by the Kremlin - including Latvia and Estonia, which have a sometimes-troubled relationship with Russia.
Speaking on BBC Radio Four's World At One yesterday, Mr Viktorovich said: "He may return if he wishes." He also pointed out that although the Russian constitution does not allow for anybody to be elected two times in a row "it doesnt exclude the possibility for anybody to be elected after some time".
Dmitry Medvedev won the recent Russian presidential election by an overwhelming majority while Mr Putin stepped down to become prime minister.
British broadsheets greeted the news with cartoons of the new president being depicted as Putin's puppet, but the Russian ambassador thinks this might not be the case.
He said that Mr Putin is "in favour of keeping the president as the strongest figure in Russia while the prime minister is mostly involved in running regular activities of the business of the government in social, economic and other areas".
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