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The Medvedev era, as seen on Twitter

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Who's in charge ... Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, right, and Vladimir Putin.

Who's in charge ... Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, right, and Vladimir Putin.

It was the end of an era, the kind of moment when a Twitter buff might unleash a barrage of 140-character spurts of sentiment, humor or self-aggrandizement.

But Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's one-time tweeter-in-chief, was characteristically modest and a little flat when his term as president came to an end on Monday: "Thanks to everyone for their support over the past four years as President of Russia. Our dialogue will continue. There is much work ahead!," he tweeted an hour after Vladimir Putin was inaugurated as his replacement.

The underwhelming statement was the final point on a presidential arc that started with hopes for reform, briefly rose to cautious optimism, then diminished into disappointment.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Krasnaya Polyana, southern Russia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Krasnaya Polyana, southern Russia.

When Medvedev opened a Twitter account in June 2010 while on a visit to Silicon Valley, it was seen as a sign he wanted to modernise Russia's economy and move away from the stiff, authoritarian ways of Putin.

But Medvedev's 527 tweets as president (398 in English) reveal a man whose initial enthusiasm dissipated and 500

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