Russia's ruling tandem "take turns sleeping": Putin

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin watch the World World 2 era movie Brestskaya Krepost (Brest Fortress) at the presidential residence Bocharov Ruchei in Sochi, December 3, 2010. REUTERS/Vladimir Rodionov/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he sleeps only when close ally President Dmitry Medvedev is awake to make sure the country, which stretches across nine time zones, is properly ruled at all times.

During an annual question-and-answer session with the Russian public broadcast live on state television, Putin read a question from a member of the public: “Who runs the country when you and the Russian president are asleep?”

“We take turns sleeping,” Putin said with a grin, to laughter and applause from the crowd.

Putin was replaced by Medvedev as president in 2008, but is widely acknowledged to be the country’s ultimate decision-maker. The pair have said that they will decide between themselves who will run at the next presidential election in 2012.

Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Paul Casciato