MOSCOW, October 5 (Itar-Tass) — The governing tandem's decision made public by President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the recent congress of the United Russia party (URP) was an absolute surprise to everyone, Dmitry Peskov, the Premier's press secretary, told the Dozhd (rain) television channel on Tuesday night in a live broadcast, acknowledging that he was "dumbfounded" by such a decision.
"No one knew about that. If someone asserts that he knew that in advance, he tells you a lie. I did not think that that would happen so early. It seemed to me that that would be done closer to the elections," the press secretary said, assuring the TV channel audience that he, just as all his colleagues, had learned about the decision only at the moment of its being made public.
At the end of September, at the URP congress, Putin suggested that Medvedev head the URP Federal list at the State Duma elections and later on head the country's government. The President, for his part, stated that the now Premier must be a URP candidate at the forthcoming presidential elections.