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Putin to Run for Fifth Term in Russia’s Presidency

Putin Russia elections
President Vladimir Putin, pictured September 2022. Credit: / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 4.0

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday that he will run in the 2024 presidential election, seeking and most likely winning a fifth term.

If elected, the 71-year-old will extend his 24-year leadership of Russia, albeit with an eight-year stint spent formally as prime minister. His tenure is now the longest of any ruler of Russia, barring Josef Stalin.

The decision comes as little surprise, with Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine seen as having boosted patriotic support for the president. The BBC says Putin’s re-election is seen as inevitable, with opposition almost non-existent and Russian media completely under his control.

Putin announced his plan at an awards ceremony at which he presented veterans of the war with Russia’s highest military honor, state-run news agencies reported.

State media reported that one recipient of the Hero of Russia gold star, a lieutenant colonel named Artyom Zhoga, had asked the president to run again. “He will run,” the soldier told reporters afterward.

Earlier, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had said that many people have urged Putin to run. Russia’s Federation Council upper house approved on Thursday a date of March 17 for the vote.

Putin’s standing in Russia remains strong despite war in Ukraine

Opposition politicians have cast the election as one that threatens democracy amid claims that Putin has turned Russia into a corrupt dictatorship.

In recent years prominent opposition leaders like Alexei Navalny and Ilya Yashin have also been imprisoned.

Opponents have suggested they have some hope that the war in Ukraine, and the Western sanctions it has triggered – as well as a failed mutiny by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in June – could see the Kremlin chief’s standing in the upcoming elections challenged.

But independent polling suggests that support for Putin remains strong, with approval ratings of above 80 percent.

His supporters say that Putin has restored order and some of the clout that Russia lost during the chaos of the Soviet collapse in the 1990s.

Putin worked as a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel before resigning in 1991 to begin a political career in Saint Petersburg.

In 1996, he moved to Moscow to join the administration of President Boris Yeltsin. He briefly served as the director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and then as secretary of the Security Council of Russia before being appointed prime minister in August 1999.

Following Yeltsin’s resignation, Putin became acting president and, in less than four months, was elected to his first term as president.

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