Vladimir Putin is running for president in 2024: “I have no choice”. That’s how long he can govern

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By John

In the halls of the Kremlin, at the request of the military, in time of war, Vladimir Putin confirmed that he will run for president again in next March’s elections. The 71-year-old leader is embarking, without major risks, on his fifth mandate, after arriving in the Kremlin in 2000. His (obvious, barring unforeseen circumstances) re-election would keep him in power at least until 2030 with the possibility of running again until 2036. And He has already remained president longer than any Kremlin leader since Stalin, surpassing Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev’s 18-year rule.

Apparently the announcement was accidental, as the presidential spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, told the press. After awarding decorations to some soldiers who fought in the war in Ukraine, Donetsk lieutenant colonel Artyom Zhoga asked him if he would run again. A video then released by the Kremlin shows the moment of the dialogue between the two: “Everyone at the front is worried and wondering if he will run again,” Zhoga tells him. «I understand that today it is impossible to do otherwise. I will run in the presidential elections in Russia”, Putin replies.
Putin’s election campaign has started de facto, but de jure he still has to be registered as a candidate, his spokesman explained. His candidacy – which was expected to arrive by mid-December – was thus presented as a response to the requests of the soldiers at the front. «The announcement of the candidacy is full of symbols», noted analyst Tatiana Stanovaya, «the heroes of Donbass want to see him president, Putin has chosen war and war chooses Putin. It’s about survival.”

The Russian president is experiencing a particularly favorable moment: for now, the front line of Moscow’s army has largely repelled the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the country is redirecting its economy to face a long war. Revenue from the sale of energy resources has recovered, despite Western sanctions, and Putin can confidently face the election after increasing military spending and seeing the United States waver in its support for Kiev. Yesterday, the Federation Council (the Russian Senate) set the presidential elections for March 17, 2024: for the first time, they will be spread over three days (starting on March 15) and will also take place in what Russia calls its “new territories”, i.e. the partially occupied regions of Ukraine that Moscow claims to have annexed Last year.

According to polls, Putin has an approval rating of over 80 percent. Since the beginning of the war, his regime has repressed every voice of dissent remaining in the country, while it is estimated that around one million Russians have emigrated abroad, including many opponents and independent journalists. NGOs are branded “foreign agents” and often forced to close, while the propaganda of traditional values ​​is strengthened, promoted in conjunction with the Patriarchate of Moscow, and which as its latest initiative has launched the ban on the “international LGBT movement”. The war in Ukraine, now in its 22nd month, looms large over the 2024 presidential election as Putin views the invasion as part of a broader struggle against the West.

The Russian political mechanism is such that no other major party has dared to present a candidate, waiting for Putin to take the first step. The team of jailed oppositionist Aleksei Navalny has proposed voting for any candidate other than Putin. A group of his followers managed to hang banners in Russian cities that linked to the “Russia without Putin” website, advertisements that were soon removed. Navalny’s team said the March consultation would be “a travesty of the electoral procedure” with the results “as usual, falsified.”