Russian leader Vladimir Putin has decided to run in presidential elections next March, news agencies reported Friday, allowing the Kremlin leader to extend his decades-long grip on power.
Putin told Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Zhoga, a Russian military officer, about his decision to participate in the upcoming vote following an awards ceremony for army personnel at the Kremlin, state-run news agencies reported.
“We are very happy that the president heard our request that he run. All of Russia supports him,” Zhoga was cited as saying by state-run news agency RIA Novosti.
Putin, however, has yet to make a formal announcement that he will compete in the vote scheduled to take place between March 15-17 next year.
“Our President has never avoided and does not avoid responsible decisions,” said Valentina Matvienko, the head of Russia’s upper house of parliament.
“And today he has once again confirmed this. He confirmed that at the moment of a historic choice and a historic challenge,” she added.
Putin will not face any major challengers and will likely seek as big a mandate as possible to conceal domestic discord over the Ukraine conflict, analysts say.