YAROSLAVL (Sputnik): Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he was not ready to become Russia's leader when late President Boris Yeltsin first offered him run for president.

"When Russia’s first President Boris Yeltsin summoned me and said: 'I want to present your candidacy to the State Duma, in order you to become the prime minister, and then I will offer you to stand for the presidential election. Do you agree?' I told him no," Putin said, adding that he explained the refusal by saying that he was not ready for that.

Putin also noted that a person practicing any profession could become a president if he dedicated a whole life to it.

"A person of any profession can become a president. As a rule, presidents are people who have either legal or economic expertise, immersed in society and rules of human interaction. These professional knowledge and skills are useful and needed. But, I repeat, a person of any profession can become a head of state or government," he said.

On December 31, 1999, the first Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced his decision to step down and appointed Putin acting head of state.

Putin was first elected as president in 2000 and re-elected in 2004. He was barred by the constitution from running in 2008 and assumed the post of prime minister. Same year, the constitution was amended to extend the presidential term to six years. In 2012, Putin once again became president of Russia. After another six years in office, he won re-election last March with 76.69 percent of the vote.