March 1 Here is a look at Russia's two
leaders, President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin. Russia holds a presidential election on Sunday that will
likely swap their positions.
Dec. 31, 1999 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin steps down,
making Prime Minister Putin the acting president.
March 26, 2000 - Putin wins the presidential election with
53 percent of the vote.
Dec. 10, 2007 - Putin presents long-time ally Medvedev as
his preferred successor and says he will become prime minister
and lead the largest party in parliament. Putin's support makes
Medvedev's victory in the March 2 presidential election certain.
May 8, 2008 - Putin becomes prime minister a day after
Medvedev's inauguration as president.
Sept. 11, 2009 - Putin says he has not yet decided whether
to run for president in 2012 when Medvedev's term ends, in
comments timed a day after Medvedev published his vision for
Russia's economic and political reform.
June 1, 2010 - Medvedev criticises Putin's
government for ignoring environmental problems and says he is
ready to throw the weight of his presidency behind the issue.
June 17 - Putin steals the headlines from Medvedev
by overseeing a major energy deal before the president hosted
Russia's biggest international investors' event. The deal later
Dec. 16 - Putin says Mikhail Khodorkovsky belongs in jail
and suggests that the imprisoned tycoon, whom he has compared to
American gangster Al Capone, was behind a string of murders.
Dec. 24 - Medvedev says neither he nor any other government
official has the right to comment on the second trial of
Khodorkovsky before the verdict is announced.
Jan. 14, 2011 - Putin blesses BP's $16 billion share
swap with state-controlled Rosneft. The deal later collapses
after BP's partners in its TNK-BP Russian venture oppose the
deal. Medvedev says in May that those who prepared the deal
should have done proper due diligence.
March 21 - Medvedev appears to rebuke Putin for comparing
Western calls for action on Libya with the crusades in the
sharpest public difference between Russia's ruling tandem.
March 31 - Medvedev orders the removal of ministers from
boards of state firms, a move that forces Putin ally Igor Sechin
from his post as Rosneft chairman.
May 13 - Medvedev says Russia could face civil war or
stagnation if too much power was concentrated in the hands of
one man, an apparent jibe at Putin.
June 17 - Medvedev warns that Russia will face stagnation if
it fails to modernise and, in veiled criticism of the political
system under Putin, said it must avoid one-man rule.
June 20 - Medvedev indicates he and Putin would not compete
for the presidency. "Competition between us could undermine the
tasks and the aims that we have been realising in recent years."
June 21 - Putin dismisses speculation of a rift with
Medvedev, saying he and his protege share a "joint programme"
for Russia's development.
June 23 - Putin says the government has not yet found the
money to pay for a payroll tax cut proposed by Medvedev.
Sept. 24 - At a conference of Putin's United Russia party,
Putin and Medvedev lay out plans for Putin to return to the
presidency and Medvedev to take his place as prime minister,
though they leave unclear when the latter might occur.
Oct. 17 - Putin suggests his plan to appoint Medvedev as
prime minister following his own return to the Kremlin depends
on the ruling party's performance in the parliamentary election.
Dec. 4 - Parliamentary election is held at which the United
Russia party win a majority, Medvedev led the party's ticket.
The opposition says the election was rigged, sparking protests.
Dec. 15 - Putin confirms he intends to appoint Medvedev as
prime minister after the 2012 presidential election.
Dec. 22 - Medvedev calls for sweeping reform of Russia's
political system to try to appease protesters.
-- Shortly afterward, the Kremlin appoints Deputy Prime
Minister Sergei Ivanov as presidential chief of staff, handing
one of the most powerful jobs to a Putin ally. Vyacheslav
Volodin, another Putin ally, becomes deputy chief of staff.
Feb. 28, 2012 - Putin brushes off a reported plot to kill
him as part of his daily burden as Russia's prime minister. The
opposition reacts with scepticism, suggesting the timing of the
announcement would attract sympathy before the election.
March 4 - Presidential election.
(Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;
Editing by Alison Williams)