8th December 2023 – (Moscow) Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced his intention to run for re-election in 2024, as reported by state media. After months of speculation surrounding the 71-year-old leader’s plans, Putin confirmed his decision to participate in the upcoming vote during an awards ceremony for army personnel at the Kremlin. The announcement follows constitutional amendments in 2020 that reset his term count, thereby allowing him the possibility of serving six more years in office.
According to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, Putin disclosed his candidacy to Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Zhoga, a Russian military officer, who quoted the President as saying, “There are good and bad times, but today he’s with the [Russian] people.” Zhoga expressed his readiness to become one of Putin’s confidants on the campaign trail if asked.
The day prior to Putin’s announcement, the upper-house Federation Council of Russia unanimously approved March 17 as the date for the 2024 presidential election, effectively initiating the campaign process. Following Putin’s declaration, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko stated that his decision was rooted in the interests of the country and its citizens. Putin had previously stated that he would reveal his plans to run only after the country’s parliament formally called for the presidential election, a race in which he is widely expected to emerge victorious.
The political landscape leading up to the election has been marked by a sweeping crackdown on opposition figures, with many either in exile or imprisoned. This intensified after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who remains a prominent voice of dissent, urged Russians to vote for any candidate other than Putin in the upcoming election. Navalny characterized the election as a referendum on the approval of Putin’s actions and the war in Ukraine, which Putin has framed as part of a larger struggle between Russia and the West.
The elections will also take place in what Russia refers to as its “new territories,” comprising partially occupied regions of Ukraine that Moscow claims to have annexed. This move is viewed as part of the Kremlin’s efforts to consolidate political control in those regions and legitimize them as Russian territory.
While Putin had kept his re-election plans closely guarded until the last moment, recent months have seen him engaging in what can be considered pre-campaign activities, such as public events and direct interactions with ordinary Russians during his nationwide trips. Despite the constitutional limitation on consecutive terms, the 2020 constitutional amendments reset Putin’s term count, allowing him the potential to serve two additional six-year terms.