In a move that is likely to extend his rule for another six years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially declared his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election scheduled for March 17, 2024. Despite facing criticism for his handling of the costly war in Ukraine, Putin remains a dominant political figure with widespread support, according to state media reports.
Putin’s announcement came during a Kremlin award ceremony, where he revealed his intention to seek re-election. The independent pollster Levada Center indicates that approximately 80% of the Russian populace approves of Putin’s performance. However, opinions on this high level of support vary, with some questioning whether it stems from genuine admiration or a climate of suppressed dissent.
At 71 years old, he is set to become the longest-serving Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin. Having already used his political influence to amend the constitution twice, allowing him to potentially stay in power until his mid-80s, Putin’s determination to retain control is evident. The first amendment in 2008 saw him transition to the role of prime minister due to term limits but continued to wield significant influence. Three years ago, another set of amendments extended presidential terms to six years and reset term limits, paving the way for his potential re-election in 2024.
Political analysts suggest that Vladimir’s fear of relinquishing power may have driven his decision to launch the war in Ukraine in 2022. At that time, his approval ratings were lower, hovering around 60%, and some believe that the conflict was a strategic move to consolidate his support base.
While the Russian president may have initially aimed for a swift and victorious resolution in Ukraine to bolster his re-election bid, the war has proven to be a protracted and challenging endeavor. The conflict has posed significant economic and political challenges, impacting the rising prosperity integral to Putin’s popularity among Russians.
Despite facing criticism for his handling of the war and concerns about his health in 2022, Putin shows little sign of slowing down. His rule has spanned five U.S. presidencies, from Bill Clinton to Joe Biden. Throughout his political career, he has navigated challenges, including public protests in 2012 when he announced his intention to run for a new term.
As Putin positions himself as a wartime president, the outcome of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is expected to shape the narrative around the 2024 election. Observers suggest that Putin will likely emphasize his role in mobilizing the population during these challenging times.
In the coming months, the world will closely watch Russia’s political landscape as Putin seeks another term in office, navigating both domestic challenges and international scrutiny.
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