Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Vladmir Putin says he will stand for re-election

Vladmir Putin says he will stand for re-election

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said he would seek a new six-year term in the country's March elections in a move that would make him the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin. He added that Nizhny Novgorod, where the Gorky Automobile Plant is located, is known as "Russia's third capital" and the birthplace of the people's militia movement that helped preserve Russian statehood and sovereignty during the 1612 war with Poland.

Putin was president for two terms between 2000 and 2008, before paving way for his current prime minister Dimitry Medvedev who ruled for four years with Putin as PM.

In a carefully-staged appearance Wednesday at an event in Moscow to celebrate volunteer work, Putin was asked directly by the presenter if he was ready to declare his candidacy for the presidential election in March, setting him up to go public with what's already an open secret.

There is no obvious successor.

Analysts note that Mr Putin's biggest challenge in the election will not be fending off his opponents - no one appears capable of beating him - but rather mobilising voters to turn out amid signs apathy is seeping in.

"The decision will be taken and announced in the near future", said Putin, without making it clear just how soon.

Putin, once re-elected, will have to choose whether to leave Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister, or to appoint someone else. That decision will trigger a round of intrigue over the succession, as whoever holds the prime minister's post is often viewed as the president's heir apparent.

A political ingénue, Sobchak has scant chance of winning.

They are broadly supportive of the Kremlin's policies and have repeatedly run for president, behaviour critics say is a ruse to create the illusion of genuine political choice.

Veterans of past campaigns - Communist chief Gennady Zyuganov, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and liberal leader Grigory Yavlinsky - all have declared their intention to run.

The appearance was shown live on state television.

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