Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking a fourth term in office -which would keep him in the Kremlin through 2024, if he wins another six-year term as expected.
If he wins, which he nearly certainly will, Putin will have spent 24 years as Russian leader by the end of his term in 2024, including four years in which he was prime minister but still called the shots.
Backed by state television, Putin regularly enjoys approval ratings of around 80 per cent, and his decision to run for re-election, which he announced at a auto factory in the Volga river city of Nizhny Novgorod, was widely expected.
"Yes, I will run as a candidate for the Russian presidency", Putin said.
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"I couldn't find a better place and moment for that", he said, to massive applause.
"Naturally, there could still be some pockets of resistance, but overall the military work at this stage and on this territory is completed with, I repeat, the total rout of the terrorists", he said.
The workers then broke into a chant of "Russia!". REUTERS/Sergei KarpukhinPutin is lauded by allies as a father of the nation figure who has restored national pride and expanded Moscow's global clout with interventions in Syria and Ukraine. "To my mind, that's too long". He has organized a grassroots campaign and staged rallies across Russian Federation to raise pressure on the Kremlin to let him register for the race.
Putin has spent a year dodging the question about whether he would run.
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Dispatchers said they didn't alert patrol officers or commanders because they couldn't confirm it came from their jurisdiction. They didn't send a patrol officer or relay the information to Memphis police until days later.
There is no obvious successor.
"The decision will be taken and announced in the near future", said Putin, without making it clear just how soon. In late November, United Russia Chairman Dmitry Medvedev pledged "unconditional" support for Putin if he chooses to run. That decision will trigger a round of intrigue over the succession, as whoever holds the prime minister's post is often viewed as the president's heir apparent.
In the meantime, perhaps the Kremlin's biggest task will be to make it look as if Putin faces real electoral competition.
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