Vladimir Putin ended months of speculation today by naming Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as his chosen successor, the AP reports. A Putin loyalist, Medvedev is a business-friendly lawyer with ties to prominent natural gas company Gazprom, AP reports. Putin’s choice is expected to be the prohibitive frontrunner in March’s elections.
All three parties in Parliament said they supported the choice, as Putin promised Medvedev would “carry out the course that has brought results for the past eight years.” While term limits prohibit Putin from running for reelection himself, some see the choice of the mild-mannered Medvedev as paving the way for a Putin return to power in several years. Russian stocks surged on the announcement.