'Russia will go only forward': Putin declares run for re-election in 2018

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Vladimir Putin
Russia's President Vladimir Putin holds a glass during a ceremony of receiving diplomatic credentials from foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, November 9, 2016. Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

Russian President Vladimir Putin ended on Wednesday speculations about whether or not he will run for re-election after announcing his intention to extend his rule until 2024. He said that his country will go only forward and that the reason behind the decision was to make his fellowmen’s lives better and make Russia more protected and powerful.

Putin announced running for re-election for March 2018 at the GAZ automobile factory in Nizhny Novgorod. “Yes, I will run as a candidate for the Russian presidency,” the Russian leader said.

Artyom Baranov, the factory’s senior site master, during a ceremony, urged Putin to “make us a gift” and announce his decision. He assured the Russian leader that everyone supports him without any exception.

Putin then said he could not find a better place and moment for his announcement. He expressed gratitude and declared he will be running for the office of president of the Russian Federation.

Putin addressed veterans and workers of the plant, telling them that with the active involvement of its people, his country can deal with “any, even the most complex challenges it faces.” He stressed that Russia is its people, its workers, teachers, scientists, engineers, doctors and designers.

Putin also attended the Russian Volunteer 2017 award ceremony in Moscow. During his stay there, he asked the crowd if they would support his decision to run for the presidency again. The audience replied with a seemingly unanimous "Yes.” He told the crowd he would certainly keep their reaction in mind when he makes [the decision].

The 65-year-old is widely expected to secure what will be his sixth term. Putin has a high approval rating, with a recent poll conducted by state-run VTSIOM showing that the majority or 82 percent of Russians are on his side.

The next election in Russia, scheduled on March 18, will be the fourth in Putin’s political career. From 2000 to 2008, he held the office of president and served as prime minister from 2008 to 2012. Putin’s third term happened when he won as president in 2012.

There were previous reports claiming Putin may run as an independent candidate. Several other people have already announced their plans to run. These include the Communist Party’s Gennady Zyuganov, Liberal-Democratic Party head Vladimir Zhirinovsky, journalist and singer-songwriter Ekaterina Gordon, the liberal Yabloko party’s Grigory Yavlinsky, business ombudsman Boris Titov and activist Ksenia Sobchak, RT reports.

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