Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Vladmir Putin says he will stand for re-election

Vladmir Putin says he will stand for re-election

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday that he will run for reelection in 2018.

Putin made the remarks in what seemed to be a tightly scripted appearance at an awards ceremony for volunteer groups in Moscow on December 6. "Have you invited me in any capacity, in a personal capacity?"

The appearance was shown live on state television.

Putin, who first became president after Boris Yeltsin sensationally resigned on New Year's Eve 1999, handed power to his ally Medvedev in 2008 at the end of his second term. If he wins what would be his fourth presidential term in March, he would be eligible to serve until 2024.

"It was necessary to ensure electoral mobilization", Dmitry Orlov, a political consultant close to the Kremlin, said in televised remarks. "There is no better place and better reason for this announcement", he added before thanking the factory workers for their support. Putin told workers. "I'm sure that together we will succeed".

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For months, Putin was fending off endless questions about his plans, fueling speculation about possible motives behind the delay.

A stream of fawning comments from officials and lawmakers quickly followed his announcement. "The decision was expected ... but we were already getting anxious".

Otherwise, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, 73, and nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky, 71, - both political retreads - are likely to run.

Before Putin took the floor prominent figures, including athletes and Soviet-era celebrities such as 83-year-old actor Vasily Lanovoi, took to the stage to extol the country's successes, such as Soviet victory in World War II.

The most visible Putin foe, Alexei Navalny, also wants to run, even though a conviction he calls politically motivated bars him from joining the campaign.

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