MEDVEDEV TO HEAD RUSSIA'S RULING PARTY
- Outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accepted a formal offer on Friday to take up the leadership of the ruling United Russia party, two days after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin resigned from the post, RIA Novosti reported.
Medvedev also said he would "join the party's ranks," someting Putin, who has led it since its inception in the early 2000s, had never done.
Medvedev stands down in May after four years in office and is expected to be given the post of prime minister as part of a power swap agreed with Putin last year.
United Russia has suffered a significant fall in its popularity according to opinion polls after disputed parliamentary polls in December which critics claim were rigged in its favor.
The Kremlin has denied the allegations, but both Medvedev and Putin, whose landslide March 4 presidential election victory was likewise marred by claims of fraud, have pledged to "renovate" the party of power.
In a meeting with top party officials in his Gorky residence outside Moscow, Medvedev said a president should be a "party member."
"Otherwise we will not be able to explain to the people which political force is in power," he said.
- 1749 Death of Mkhitar Sebastatsee. He founded the Roman Catholic Mkhitarist Congregation. He was born in 1676.
- 1827 Russian forces lay seige to Fort Yerevan (currently the Armenian Winery building).
- 1849 Students create the "Ararat Union" in Paris.
- 1868 Death of Grigor Aghatonyan in Paris. He was born in 1823.
- 1915 Birth of Hovhannes Shiraz (poet). He died in 1984.
- 1919 In Constantinople, start of the trials of the leaders of the Young Turk government and the central committee members of the "Union and Progress" party.
- 1925 The Science and Art Institute of the Armenian SSR opens in Yerevan.
- 1930 Death of Archbishop Eghisheh Doorian, historian, literary figure, author, and Patriarch of Jerusalem.
- 1931 An earthquake (Richter Scale: 6.3) occurs in Zangezoor and affects a 100 000 sq.km. area. The Monastery of Tatev and other structures on the Tatev highlands and in the valley of the Vorotan River are destroyed.
- 1994 Israel officially condemned the Armenian Genocide as Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin proclaimed on the floor of the Knesset (the Israeli legislature), in answer to the claims of the Turkish Ambassador, that "It was not war. It was most certainly massacre and genocide, something the world must remember".