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Vladimir Putin will seek reelection in 2018

Meduza

After a long wait, Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he will seek reelection in Russia’s presidential election next year. He made the announcement in Nizhny Novgorod at a concert dedicated to the 85th anniversary of the Gorky Automobile Plant.

“I will put forward my candidacy for the position of president of the Russian Federation. There’s no better place or occasion than this [anniversary celebration] to make this announcement,” Putin told the crowd at the GAZ auto plant.

Putin’s announcement came as a response to one of the factory’s workers, who asked the president for “the gift” of letting them know his intentions next year. “Without exception, everyone in this hall supports you. Mr. Putin, give us the gift of announcing your decision. Because we’re all for you. GAZ supports you,” the worker told Putin.

Just a few hours earlier, Putin addressed a large crowd of young people at the “Volunteer Russia 2017” award ceremony. Asked if he would run for reelection, the president said he would reach a decision “in the near future.” Putin also asked the crowd if they would support him in a reelection bid, and the response was a thunderous yes.

Russia's next presidential election will take place on March 18, 2018. So far, in addition to Putin, several other familiar faces in Russian politics have announced their intention to run, including Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and Yabloko founder Grigory Yavlinsky. The race will also include Entrepreneurs' Rights Commissioner Boris Titov and television celebrity Ksenia Sobchak.

Anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny has led Russia's most visible campaign to date, but federal law prohibits him from running for elected office until ten years after his suspended felony sentence expires. Navalny argues that this restriction is unconstitutional.

Photo on front page: Kremlin press service