Dmitry Medvedev
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Putin Does Not Rule Out Poll Run-Off

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin refused to rule out on Wednesday a run-off in March presidential polls where he will seek a third Kremlin term but warned a second round risked causing instability.

"I understand that a second round run-off is possible, according to the current legislation," Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying at a meeting with Russian election observers.

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Russia Bars Putin Critic from Presidential Poll

Russia on Friday disqualified Vladimir Putin's liberal challenger Grigory Yavlinsky from the March 4 presidential ballot, in a move slammed by his supporters as undermining the legitimacy of the polls.

Russia's central elections commission said it could not accept nearly a quarter of the registration signatures gathered by Yavlinsky's Yabloko (Apple) party because they were either photocopies of originals or fakes.

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Putin Says Russia Will Never be a 'Dictatorship'

Russia will never become a dictatorship, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Wednesday, as he continued his bid for a third term as president despite unprecedented protests against his rule.

"We have an open country and no matter what they say or write, no matter what scary statements they make about some sort of dictatorship, we don't have that and -- I hope -- never will," he told students of Tomsk Polytechnic University in Siberia.

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Mikhail Margelov Says Moscow Can Do No More for Assad

A member of Russia's Parliament, Mikhail Margelov, said Monday that Moscow ran out of methods to stop the international push for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.

Russia's veto of a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria "was the last instrument allowing Bashar Assad to maintain the status quo in the international arena,” Margelov was quoted as saying by Russia's Itar-Tass news agency.

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Medvedev Holds Mideast Talks with Abbas

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev held talks Friday with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas focused on efforts to kick start stalled peace negotiations with Israel.

Abbas told Medvedev in opening remarks at the Russian president's suburban Moscow residence that the Palestinians "will always draw upon your advice and the favorable approaches proposed by the Russian Federation."

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Medvedev Submits Reform Bill after Protests

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday submitted a bill to parliament that would reinstate the direct election of regional governors following mass protests calling for reform.

Under the bill, Russian citizens would elect their regional leaders running independently or on a party ticket for a term of five years, the Kremlin said in a statement.

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Russian Opposition Leader Arrested after Rally

A leader of Russia's liberal opposition was arrested Saturday at a protest rally against fraud-tainted parliamentary polls as Vladimir Putin seeks a third Kremlin term in the face of attacks on his 12-year rule.

Sergei Mitrokhin, a leader of the Yabloko party which called the rally, was arrested at the end of the protest attended by some 300 people and was now facing a fine or a 15-day jail term, a party spokesman told Agence France Presse.

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Moscow 'Concerned' over Mubarak Death Demand

Russia on Saturday said it was concerned after Egyptian prosecutors demanded a death sentence for fallen dictator Hosni Mubarak, calling for humanitarian factors to be considered.

"Such announcements are heard in Moscow with concern," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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Dozens Arrested in Russia New Year Protests

Russian riot police arrested dozens of people on Saturday in Moscow and Saint Petersburg who tried to stage unsanctioned New Year's Eve protests against 12 years of Vladimir Putin's dominant rule.

The show of police force marked the first time the authorities had cracked down on members of the Russian opposition since allowing two massive rallies on December 10 and December 24.

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Medvedev Says Russia Needs 'Comprehensive' Political Reform, Slams 'Extremists'

President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday warned that "extremists" were seeking to whip up instability in Russia through the protest wave that has rattled the Kremlin after disputed parliamentary polls.

In his last annual address to the nation before his expected handover of power to Vladimir Putin next year, Medvedev sternly vowed that Russia would not allow the West to interfere in its biggest outburst of protests in years.

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