Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said he would seek a new six-year term in the country's March elections in a move that would make him the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin. He added that Nizhny Novgorod, where the Gorky Automobile Plant is located, is known as "Russia's third capital" and the birthplace of the people's militia movement that helped preserve Russian statehood and sovereignty during the 1612 war with Poland.
Putin, 65, has been in power since 2000, either as president or prime minister.More news: Natural disaster hits Uttarakhand, tremors felt in Delhi-NCR
"I will put forward my candidacy for the post of president of the Russian federation", he said.
With his approval ratings topping 80 percent, Putin is certain to win a quick victory in the March 18 vote.More news: Tonya Harding posed with Margot Robbie, Allison Janney at 'I, Tonya' premiere
"Thank you for your work, for your attitude to your jobs, your factory, your city and your country!" There is no obvious successor, and many investors say the lack of a clear succession plan, and likely jockeying for position among Russian elites for dominance in the post-Putin era, is becoming the biggest political risk. In late November, United Russia Chairman Dmitry Medvedev pledged "unconditional" support for Putin if he chooses to run. Several hours earlier, he was asked about his intentions in Moscow and signaled that he would run but stopped short of declaring his bid.
Putin served as prime minister - though few doubted who was really in charge - and returned as president in 2012. He said he would decide shortly if he would seek another six-year term.More news: Today Analysts Focus on Schlumberger Limited (SLB), SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (SEAS)
The most visible Putin foe, Alexei Navalny, also wants to run, even though a conviction he calls politically motivated bars him from joining the campaign.
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