Putin is prohibited by law for running for a third consecutive term, but clearly wants to retain a powerful role once he steps down. Medvedev's proposal would provide that role.
"Having expressed my readiness to run for president of Russia, I appeal to (Putin) with a request to give his principal agreement to head the Russian government after the election of the new president of our country," Medvedev said in televised address a day after Putin endorsed his candidacy.
Medvedev also said that after the election the country must continue to pursue the policies driven by Putin over the past eight years.
Putin's support for Medvedev virtually ensures that he would win the election.
Medvedev's support for Putin's policies and his proposal that he become prime minister were sure to raise questions of whether he would be a genuinely independent president or essentially a figurehead doing Putin's bidding.
“It is not enough to elect the new president. It is also important to preserve the efficiency of the team. I believe it is highly important to keep Vladimir Putin on the key position of the executive power – the chairman of the government of the Russian Federation,” Dmitry Medvedev stated.
It is worthy of note that Putin has already taken the PM’s position before. Boris Yeltsin offered his candidacy for the post in August 1999. Several months later Putin obtained the position of Russia’s acting president, when Yeltsin suddenly decided to step down on December 31, 1999. Putin was Russia’s PM for a bit more than half a year.