He’s running! Putin wants to be Russian president again – POLITICO

Who could have seen this coming?!

Russian President Vladimir Putin is on track to maintain his grip on the country’s top job until the end of the decade, declaring his intent to win an election even his own officials have said is more or less a formality given the near-total clampdown on domestic opposition.

The 71-year-old confirmed he will seek another six years in office during a vote scheduled for March 17 next year, state-owned news outlet TASS reported after Putin spoke at an event in the Kremlin on Friday.

In an interview over the summer, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov revealed his boss “will be reelected next year with more than 90 percent of the vote” because Russia’s presidential election “is not really democracy, it is costly bureaucracy.”

Peskov later claimed he’d been misinterpreted and meant the vote was a done deal for reasons of Putin’s popularity alone. Putin was first elected as Russian president in 2000 and, other than a break when he took on the role of prime minister between 2008 and 2012, has held the top job ever since.

Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny has launched an “anyone but Putin” campaign from behind bars, but says the results will be “rigged” anyway.

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