Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially announced that he will seek another 6-year term as the country’s leader in the upcoming 2024 presidential elections scheduled for March 17th.
Putin Set To Extend His Rule Until 2036
The announcement came during a military awards ceremony in the Kremlin on December 8th, where Putin responded affirmatively to a question posed by Artyom Zhoga, a Russian military officer and official from Donetsk, regarding running again.
This news has been long expected ever since constitutional amendments were passed in 2020 allowing Putin to stay in power until 2036 by essentially resetting his presidential terms. If re-elected next March, Putin would extend his rule over Russia to nearly 4 decades since first becoming acting president in 1999.
“This confirmation sets in motion a reelection campaign that is widely predicted to result in another victory for the incumbent president,” said Nikolay Petrov, an analyst at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
Reelection Amid The Backdrop Of War In Ukraine
Putin’s decision to run again carries heightened significance as it will be the first presidential vote since he ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
“While the election’s outcome is not in doubt, the war in Ukraine forms an important backdrop,” Petrov noted.
The invasion represented one of the most pivotal moves of Putin’s 23-year rule over Russia, followed by the unpopular mobilization drive last fall to call up hundreds of thousands to fight.
“So far, the Ukraine conflict has not factored heavily into Putin’s public appearances in the run-up to the election, an intentional strategy according to observers,” explained Petrov.
A Referendum On Putin’s Leadership
Experts view the 2024 election as more of a referendum on Putin’s leadership through the lenses of Russian society today versus earlier eras of prosperity and stability.
“This is not so much an open democratic election as a re-endorsement of the incumbent president by Russian citizens,” described Petrov.
“Putin is essentially competing against his younger self in order to showcase that his abilities and vision remain undiminished.”
The Russian leader continues to cultivate an image of strength, virility and shrewd strategic thinking – qualities that have enabled his enduring popularity over the years.
Further Consolidation of Power On The Horizon
Assuming a widely expected victory in March, Putin seems intent on further consolidating his grip over Russian politics and governance.
“By removing barriers to remaining president indefinitely, Putin has ensured that no successor can rival his power or influence anytime soon,” explained Petrov.
With key opposition figures imprisoned or exiled, Putin faces no serious political threats at home. And the war footing with Ukraine allows him to demand unity and compliance from Russian society.
So while popular dissent may simmer beneath the surface, March 2024 is poised to officially launch the next chapter of Vladimir Putin’s remarkably enduring reign in the Kremlin.