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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin apparently felt so threatened by a question Monday about his "political marriage" with President Dmitri Medvedev that he needed to emphasize the two leaders are just very good friends.
According to The New York Times, "During a visit to Italy, Mr. Putin mocked a question from an Italian reporter who wanted him to explain the secrets to success in a 'political marriage.' Mr. Putin has led Russia jointly with Mr. Medvedev for the past two years, after term limits prevented Mr. Putin from running for a third consecutive term as president."
Putin, a notoriously tough former KGB agent, said the question was put "in a very literary way," the Times reported.
"Mr. Medvedev and I are people of a traditional orientation," said Putin. "I can tell you this with complete certainty. As for marital unions, you have exaggerated a bit. But we are friends, friends for many years, I have already said this. And the way that we have arranged our work today -- it seems to me, we can be proud of this."
Putin delivered the comments at a news conference with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. Medvedev, who did not join the event, later said that he and Putin sometimes have different views on how to lead Russia.