Vladimir Putin speaks to Maria Kostyuk, mother of Andrei Kovtun who was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Russia, after a ceremony in Moscow on Friday. AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday told soldiers who had fought in the Ukraine war that he would run for president again in the 2024 election, a move that will allow him to stay in power until at least 2030.
Russia’s Central Election Commission said on Friday that the election would for the first time be held over three days — from March 15-17.
After Putin awarded the Ukraine war veterans with Russia’s highest military honour, the Hero of Russia gold star, Artyom Zhoga, a lieutenant colonel born in Soviet-era Ukraine who fights for Russia, asked the president to run again.
“I will not hide that I have had different thoughts at different times but it is now time to make a decision,” Putin told Zhoga and the other decorated soldiers. “I understand that there is no other way.” “I will run for the post of president,” Putin was shown in television footage saying in the gilded Georgievsky Hall, part of the Grand Kremlin Palace.
Zhoga told reporters afterwards that he was very glad Putin had assented to the request, adding that all of Russia would support the decision. “Thanks to your actions, your decisions, we have gained freedom,” Zhoga said, adding: “We need you. Russia needs you.” Reuters reported last month that Putin had decided to run.
Earlier during the day, the Kremlin said that “lots of people” were urging Putin to run for a new six-year term in March, and that Putin would announce his decision “when he deems it appropriate.”
When asked on Friday about the outcome of a survey conducted by a state-backed pollster in which 70% of respondents were recorded as saying that Putin should run for another term, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:
“Very many people are calling on Putin to run for office and continue as head of state, declaring their full support. This is noticeable,” said Peskov.
Russia's Central Election Commission said on Friday that the election would for the first time be held over three days — from March 15-17.
"We must remember and never forget and tell our children: Russia will be either a sovereign, self-sufficient state, or it will not be there at all," Putin said during a congress of the ruling United Russia party.
Former TV journalist Yekaterina Duntsova was disqualified on Saturday from running against Vladimir Putin in an election next March because of alleged flaws in her application to register as a candidate.
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