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Putin says Russia's revival is focus of his life

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President Vladimir Putin has said Russia's revival is the main focus of his life, the goal for which he is ready to sacrifice his personal interests.
MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin has said Russia's revival is the main focus of his life, the goal for which he is ready to sacrifice his personal interests.

In an interview with Time Magazine, which named him its Person of the Year 2007, Putin said: "I have decided for myself that I can sacrifice everything to help the revival of my country. I have defined this as the main focus of my life."

Earlier this week, Putin, 55, agreed to become prime minister if his longtime ally, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, nominated as a presidential contender, won polls in March 2008. The incumbent thereby ended years of speculation about his post-election role.

Putin, Russia's most popular politician, is barred by the Constitution from running for a third consecutive presidential term. But analysts have suggested he will remain a de-facto leader in any capacity, and his supporters have insisted he should remain the "national leader" with no particular post.

Putin said being head of state was a difficult job and he did not feel himself being a national leader.

"I feel myself being a workhorse dragging a heavily laden cart. But I can enjoy the process if I manage to move quickly and with good results," the president told the magazine.

Speaking about his career, Putin said his KGB background had taught him to analyze information, make independent decisions and respect partners.

"Cooperation [between security agencies and their recruited agents] is based on different things: a person's dependence on an intelligence service, financial interest, and politics. But the most solid basis of such cooperation is trust in and respect for a partner," Putin said.

Putin said respect for partners was also extremely important in politics.

Putin, the former premier, became Russian president in 2000, when then President Boris Yeltsin surprised the nation on New Year's Eve by announcing his resignation and handing over power to him. Putin earlier headed the Federal Security Service, the KGB successor, and the Security Council.

In the late 1980s as a KGB major, Putin worked in Eastern Germany recruiting people to spy on the West. He later worked in St. Petersburg's city government.

Time's Person of the Year title reflects a recognition of a powerful individual with strong influence on world affairs, positive or negative, the magazine said.

While admitting that Putin was not democrat in a way the West would define it, the magazine describes the Russian leader as someone who "stands, above all, for stability, - stability before freedom, stability before choice, stability in a country that has hardly seen it for a hundred years."

Time wrote that it remained to be seen "whether he proves to be a reformer or an autocrat who takes Russia back to an era of repression."

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