Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that he will seek reelection. Should he win, it will be his fifth term as head of state.
The presidential election will be held between March 15 and March 17, 2024. The winner will be inaugurated in early May.
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Putin made his remarks at a ceremony where he awarded Hero of Russia medals to servicemen who had taken part in the military operation against Ukraine.
Hero of the Donetsk People’s Republic Artyom Zhoga, who was recently named speaker of the Russian federal subject’s parliament, asked if he would run in 2024 and he replied in the affirmative.
The footage from the ceremony shows Zhoga shaking hands with Putin and telling him that the entire Donbass would like him to participate in the election. “Thanks to your actions… we became free, we got the opportunity to choose… You are our president… We are your team, we need you, Russia needs you,” he said.
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Thanking him for the praise, Putin admitted that while he had “different thoughts at different times” on the subject, the time had come to make a final decision. “I am going to run for President of the Russian Federation,” he said.
Zhoga is the commander of the republic’s famous Sparta Battalion, which has been defending the DPR against Kiev’s forces since 2014. He took over the military post from his son Vladimir, who died at the age of 28 in 2022 while providing cover for the evacuation of civilians near the town of Volnovakha. For his heroic deeds, he was posthumously awarded the title “Hero of Russia.”
According to a Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) poll released on Thursday, about 70% of Russian citizens believe that Putin should run for another term in office, with another 15% saying that the incumbent should leave his current post but take a senior government position. Only 8% believe that the Russian leader should leave the political stage altogether.
Putin’s likely contenders for now include Gennady Zyuganov, the long-time leader of the Russian Communist Party, who announced his bid in late November but noted that the final decision would be made by his party’s Central Committee. Other Russian parties, including the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and New People, have also signaled that they intend to put forward their own candidates.