Vladimir Putin to run again for Russian presidency

Putin has already served as president for longer than any other ruler of Russia since Josef Stalin

Russia's President Vladimir Putin at a medal ceremony on Friday. Reuters
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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is to seek another term in office, a move that could keep the former KGB officer in power until at least 2030.

Speaking on Friday to Russian veterans of the Ukraine war whom he awarded Russia’s highest military honour, the Hero of Russia gold star, Mr Putin said “there is no other way”.

Artyom Zhoga, a lieutenant colonel born in Soviet-era Ukraine, asked Mr Putin whether he would run for president again.

"I will not hide that I have had different thoughts at different times, but it is now time to make a decision," Mr Putin said in television footage from the gilded Georgievsky Hall, part of the Grand Kremlin Palace.

"I understand that there is no other way. I will run for the post of president."

Lt Col Zhoga told reporters afterwards that all of Russia would support the decision.

Mr Putin, who was handed the presidency by Boris Yeltsin on the last day of 1999, has already served as president for longer than any other ruler of Russia since Josef Stalin, beating even Leonid Brezhnev's 18-year tenure.

The announcement follows reports last month that revealed Mr Putin, 71, had decided to run.

With the support of the state, the state-run media, almost no mainstream public dissent, and no discernible successor, he is certain to win.

Supporters of Mr Putin point to some independent polling that shows he enjoys approval ratings of more than 80 per cent.

They say that Mr Putin has restored order and some of the clout Russia lost during the chaos of the Soviet collapse.

But while Mr Putin may face no real competition in the election, he is confronted with the most serious set of challenges any Kremlin chief has faced since Mikhail Gorbachev grappled with the crumbling Soviet Union more than three decades ago.

The war in Ukraine triggered the biggest confrontation with the West since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis; sanctions by the West have delivered the biggest external shock to the Russian economy for decades; and Mr Putin faced a failed mutiny by Russia's most powerful mercenary, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in June.

Mr Prigozhin was killed in a plane crash two months to the day after the mutiny. Since the mutiny, Mr Putin has tightened his control.

Updated: December 08, 2023, 3:26 PM