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Putin says Medvedev not easier for West to deal with

RIA Novosti

08/03/2008 18:19 NOVO-OGARYOVO, March 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's outgoing president Vladimir Putin said Saturday his successor, president-elect Dmitry Medvedev will defend Russia's interests as actively as he did.

"I do not think our partners will find is easier to deal with him [Medvedev]. He is a true patriot, and will defend Russia's interests on the international arena very energetically," Putin told journalists after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Medvedev won just over 70% of the vote in last Sunday's presidential elections. He is to be inaugurated as Russia's new president on May 7.

Medvedev and Merkel, who met in Meiendorf Castle, a presidential staff residence near Moscow, Saturday, said they hoped mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation will continue.

"We highly value your visit to us, and regard it as a continuation of the strategic cooperation and partnership traditionally existing between Russia and Germany," Medvedev said.

Merkel said Russia and Germany "have all prerequisites for successful cooperation."

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