Putin confirms intention to run for re-election in 2024: reportstext_fields
Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday his decision to seek re-election in 2024, signaling his pursuit to extend his extensive rule well into the 2030s, according to Russian news agencies.
This move would potentially cement his position as the country's leader for decades.
Having governed Russia since the early 2000s, Putin, aged 71, has won four presidential terms and briefly held the position of prime minister, presiding over a political landscape where opposition voices have become nearly non-existent.
The announcement of his re-election bid was conveyed to Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Zhoga, a Russian military officer, following an awards ceremony for army personnel at the Kremlin, as reported by state-run news agencies.
Analysts anticipate that Putin is unlikely to face significant challengers in his quest for a fifth term, aiming to secure a substantial mandate that would potentially mask internal discord concerning the Ukraine conflict.
Through a controversial constitutional reform in 2020, Putin has the potential to retain power until at least 2036, raising concerns among rights groups about electoral irregularities and limitations on independent observers during the upcoming vote.
Media regulations related to the 2024 election have been tightened by Putin, including the exclusion of some independent media outlets from accessing polling stations. The election itself is scheduled over a three-day period from March 15 to March 17, a timeline criticised by Kremlin detractors, arguing that it hampers transparency.
Five major parties have been permitted to nominate a candidate for the 2024 election without the need for signature collection, all aligning with the Kremlin's policies, particularly its stance on the Ukraine conflict.
Notably, Alexei Navalny, Putin's prominent opponent, is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence on charges that his supporters label as baseless. Navalny has urged Russians to vote for any other candidate besides Putin, denouncing the electoral process as a "parody."
Putin's continued leadership amidst the Ukraine conflict has sparked a crackdown on dissent, leading to mass detentions and imprisonments, with many fleeing the country out of fear.
Although Russia faced unprecedented sanctions from Western nations due to its actions in Ukraine, the economy demonstrated resilience, with Putin's approval ratings remaining high. Moscow redirected a significant portion of its energy exports to Asian markets, enabling sustained funding for the conflict.
Putin's perceived resurgence comes amid waning Western support for Ukraine and the failure of Kyiv's counter-offensive against entrenched Russian positions.
The Kremlin seems to adopt a similar narrative to the 2018 presidential election, framing the upcoming vote as a battle against Western values. Recent moves branding the "international LGBT movement" as extremist reflect a broader cultural confrontation with the West.