Neave Barker, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Moscow, said the move is one of several made by Medvedev in recent weeks that appear to set him apart from Vladimir Putin, the prime minister and his predecessor.

"Medvedev’s on a mission present a more modern and measured leadership, but a number of his moves fail to complement the work of his predecessor Vladimir Putin, prompting talk of a split between president and prime minister," he said.

'Difference in style'

Earlier this month, Medvedev granted an interview to Novaya Gazeta, a newspaper fiercely critical of the Kremlin and Putin, in which he called for greater transparency in Russia.

This week, a judge's decision to grant an early release for Svetlana Bakhmina, a former lawyer of the defunct Yukos oil company, also suggested a change in attitude to Putin era politics.

Human rights groups have welcomed these moves, but want more evidence that there will be actions to back up the rhetoric.

Alison Gill, director Moscow's Human Rights Watch office, told Al Jazeera: "We welcome some of his latest statements ... but what we want to see are actions. Let's evaluate what he does and let's evaluate what the Kremlin actually does".

Real power

Analysts are continuing to question the extent to which Medvedev is prepared to push democratic reform, and suggest the real power still belongs to Putin.

Masha Lipman, from the Carnegie Endowment Centre in Moscow, said Putin still appeared to be the main decision maker.

"I think there is a difference in style between the two presidents and a difference in background," she told Al Jazeera.

"But I think Putin remains to this day the senior partner in the ruling tandem even though his office is inferior to Medvedev, according to the Russian constitution. I think he is the chief decision maker."