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In 2008 during Russian Presidential election Dmitry Medvedev was elected President with 73% of votes. He had been nominated as a candidate by four Russian political parties and made a promise to appoint Putin for the position of Prime Minister during the campaign.

President-elect Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin in March 2008

In 2008 during Russian Presidential election Dmitry Medvedev was elected President (head of the executive branch) with 73% of votes. He had been nominated as a candidate by four Russian political parties and made a promise to appoint Putin for the position of Prime Minister during the campaign.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, while holding a constitutionally less significant position, continued to be ranked as a somewhat more popular politician (83% of approval vote in January 2009) than President Dmitry Medvedev (75% of approval vote in January 2009).

According to opinion polls conducted by the Levada Center, in January 2009, 11% of Russia's respondents believed it was Medvedev who had the real power in Russia, 32% believed it was Putin, 50% thought that both Medvedev and Putin had the real power, and 7% answered "did not know". In February 2008, prior to the Presidential election, 23% people had believed Medvedev had the real power in the country, 20% thought Putin had the real power, 41% thought Putin and Medvedev had equal shares of power, 16% did not answer. While the number of people who thought that Medvedev was the number had halved, also Putin's approval rating had dropped to 48% from 62% for the same period.