Russian Parliament overwhelmingly confirmed Dmitry Medvedev's appointment as Prime Minister on Tuesday even as anti-government protests continued in Moscow for a third day.
The Lower House, State Duma, voted 299 to 144 to endorse new President Vladimir Putin's candidate for Prime Minister. The assenting votes came mainly from the Kremlin party, United Russia, whereas the Communist Party and Left-leaning Just Russia voted against.
Addressing the legislators, Mr. Putin confirmed that he and Mr. Medvedev had long ago agreed on the job swap but denied it was “manipulation or political game”.
Mr. Putin, who served as Russia's President for two terms last decade, was sworn in for a third term on Sunday, replacing Mr. Medvedev who had succeeded him in the Kremlin four years ago.
The ruling tandem's decision to trade places provoked the biggest protests in Russia since the break-up of the Soviet Union 20 years ago. On Sunday, the protests for the first time led to clashes with police when some 50,000 Russians took to the streets in Moscow. Dozens of protesters and police were wounded and hundreds were detained.
Despite heavy presence of riot police in Moscow, protests resumed on Monday and several hundred young people spent the night on Tuesday in a park near the Kremlin, with more Muscovites joining them in the morning in largely silent dissent. Opposition leaders called it an “indefinite popular walkabout”, a new tactic designed to avoid arrests.
Police said they have detained about 750 protesters since Sunday, but opposition claimed the number of arrests exceeded 1,000.
In his confirmation speech, Mr. Medvedev said the government must work to reunite the nation.
“We must consolidate our society to deal with main tasks and to show that the state is not alienated from the people,” he said. “That is why, in my view, the government must change.”