"Let's see if we survive," Putin told reporters after a live televised question and answer session, his first as premier. "The next elections are in 2012, meanwhile everybody should toe the line. Let's not make a fuss."
When answering questions from the Russian public for 3 hours and 8 minutes, three minutes longer than last year, Putin said he approved of extending presidential terms in the country.
Both houses of Russia's parliament approved in November amendments to the Constitution extending the presidential term from four to six years and the lower house term from four to five years.
"To some extent it is a matter of taste, but I believe this [the extension] is reasonable for such a huge country as Russia," Putin said.
"Six years for presidents of such a nationally diverse country is quite understandable," he added, pointing to Russia's smaller neighbor, Finland, where the president is also elected for six years.
President Dmitry Medvedev's proposal, which he made during his first state of the nation address on November 5, triggered speculation that the extension of the parliamentary and presidential terms, which would apply to the next head of state and legislature, was a pretext for the return to office of his predecessor, Putin.
He described his power tandem with Medvedev as very effective.
The constitutional amendments need the approval of at least two-thirds of regional legislatures. After that, the Federation Council will hold another session to endorse their decision. The amendments will come into force once they have been signed by the president and published in a government newspaper.