Putin Library Clears the Duma

The State Duma approved in a final reading Friday the creation of a foundation for Vladimir Putin to preserve his legacy after eight years as president.

Putin is to step down on May 7 when President-elect Dmitry Medvedev will be sworn in, but he says he will serve as prime minister and lead United Russia.

A state-funded museum, archive and library, controlled by Putin or his heirs, will be part of the Russian President's Center for Historical Legacy and serve as a repository for documents accumulated during his term in office.

The foundation, the first of its kind in Russia, is modeled on the libraries created for each outgoing president in the United States.

"The aims of the activities of the center are the study and public representation of the historical legacy of the Russian president, after the end of his duties, as an integral part of the new history of Russia," the bill says.

The Duma passed the bill 386-57 in the last of three readings. It now has to be approved by the Federation Council and signed into law by the president.