Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Friday he is running for another six-year term, one day after lawmakers in Russia’s upper house of parliament set the date for the next presidential election for March 17, 2024.
Putin made the announcement on Russian state television following a ceremony at the Kremlin for military personnel.
During a conversation with military officer Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Zhoga, Putin said that he “had different thoughts at different times, but this is a time when a decision has to be made,” and said he was running for president.
The state-run news agency quoted the officer as confirming what the president had said.
Carnagie Russia Eurasia Center analyst Tatiana Stanovaya told the Associated Press she thinks the announcement was likely made in a low-key way instead of a formal speech to reflect Putin’s modesty, showing he is more concerned with doing his job than participating in fanfare.
Observers say the 71-year-old Putin — already Russia’s longest-serving ruler — will have no trouble being reelected, as any serious opposition he might face is in jail or otherwise out of the picture.
Russian elections during Putin’s term have not been known for their fairness or transparency.
The U.S. State Department bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs reports the Russian government uses “arbitrary designations, criminal convictions, and administrative barriers to disqualify potential opposition candidates, ensuring no independent voices can participate in government processes.”
The state department said new constitutional amendments approved by the government and endorsed in a nationwide vote in July 2020 will, among other things, provide Putin the opportunity to remain in power until 2036.
Putin was first appointed as acting president in 1999 by Boris Yeltsin, who resigned because of ill health. Putin was first elected in 2000. In 2008, facing constitutional limitations, he stepped aside to serve as prime minister while ally Dmitry Medvedev served as president. Putin returned to the presidency in 2012.
Some information for this report were provided by The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.