Putin sets sights on fourth term
RUSSIA'S President Vladimir Putin said he may run for a fourth presidential term in 2018. The announcement confirms the expectations of most Russians and frustrates those now working to restore free elections in Russia.
If Mr Putin, pictured, runs and wins, it would keep him in power for about a quarter-century and make him the nation's longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin.
Mr Putin has largely rolled back on Russia's post-Soviet democratic achievements.
Mr Putin, who served two consecutive terms starting in 2000, became prime minister in 2008 to observe a constitutional limit of two consecutive terms. He won a third term in 2012.
Mr Putin addressed his future plans when challenged by former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon during a conference. Mr Fillon said he would not reveal whether he planned to run for president unless Mr Putin answered the same question. "And if I answer, will you?" Mr Putin responded.
"We'll see," Mr Fillon said.
"I don't exclude that," Mr Putin said. To which Mr Fillon added: "Me either."