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Monday 23 July 2018

Six more years? Putin confirms he will run for re-election

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives at the congress of volunteers in Moscow, yesterday. Photo: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives at the congress of volunteers in Moscow, yesterday. Photo: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

Alex Luhn

Vladimir Putin will run for re-election as president of Russia in March.

After months of public speculation, Mr Putin made the announcement while speaking to workers at the 85th anniversary of the Gorky automobile plant (GAZ) in Nizhny Novgorod, a Soviet-era powerhouse that has been revived through orders from Western carmakers in recent years.

"There is probably no better place and reason for this," Mr Putin said.

"Thank you for your support, I will put my candidacy forward for the presidency of the Russian Federation."

Amid applause and uplifting music pumped over the speakers, he praised the factory and its long history.

He is almost certain to win another six-year term.

By the end of it, he will have been in power for more than 24 years, including a stint as prime minister that allowed him to skirt the limit of two consecutive terms.

State television immediately began devoting its evening news programmes to the announcement, which it dubbed a "historic event".

During his appearance, the president also said Russia "won't announce any blockade" of the 2018 Winter Olympics after it was banned on Tuesday over its doping programme. Russian athletes can still participate under a neutral flag.

Mr Putin had long been expected to run and is almost certain to win given his approval ratings, which have remained above 80pc since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

At 65, Mr Putin has already reached the Russian retirement age, and he has run the country for 18 years, surpassed only by Joseph Stalin.

The ageing leaders of two Kremlin-loyal parties, who avoided criticising Mr Putin during previous elections, have announced their candidacies, as has socialite Ksenia Sobchak, nicknamed the "Russian Paris Hilton". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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