Putin Presents Medvedev to CIS Heads

President Vladimir Putin presented Dmitry Medvedev to fellow CIS leaders on Friday, just a week before a presidential vote Medvedev is expected to win.

Putin introduced Medvedev to leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States as "one of the candidates" in the March 2 election, but left no doubt he was more than that.

"The CIS is one of the key aspects of our foreign policy, and he [Medvedev] is in fact a co-author of the policy that Russia has conducted there," Putin said.

"We should not have and we will not have any revolutionary changes, specifically because Dmitry Anatolyevich is a co-author of the policy," he said.

The 11 foreign heads of state invited to the summit lined up to shake hands with Medvedev, who stood next to Putin.

In an unusual break with protocol Medvedev was given the floor at Friday's informal summit straight after Putin and spoke for nearly 10 minutes, almost as long as his boss.

"If I win the election, I will want to count on the continuation of working relations marked by trust and on establishing personal contacts with you," he said. "There is no doubt that this is important for our peoples and our countries."

Medvedev also joined the heads of state at a round table, sitting on Putin's right-hand side.