The Kremlin has denied reports that President Vladimir Putin has already decided to run for re-election in 2024, saying that he will make an announcement only after the election is officially called.
The Kremlin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Monday that Putin was focused on his current duties and had not yet made up his mind about his political future.
Peskov’s comments came in response to a report that claimed that the Kremlin had begun preparing for Putin’s re-election campaign and was compiling a list of influential figures that would support him. The report cited unnamed sources close to the presidential administration and said that Putin was expected to announce his candidacy in January 2024.
However, Peskov dismissed the report as “speculation” and said that the Kremlin had not started any campaign activities. He also said that Putin had not discussed his plans with anyone and that it was premature to talk about his potential rivals or allies. He added that Putin would make a decision based on the situation in the country and the world.
Putin, who has been in power since 1999, is eligible to run for two more six-year terms as president after a constitutional reform that he initiated and approved in 2020. The reform reset his previous terms and also introduced new requirements for presidential candidates, such as not having foreign citizenship or a residence permit.
If Putin decides to run and wins the 2024 election, he could extend his rule until 2030, making him the longest-serving leader in Russia’s history. However, he has not yet confirmed or denied his intention to do so, leaving many observers and analysts guessing about his motives and strategy. Some believe that he wants to keep his options open and maintain his popularity, while others think that he is looking for a successor or a way to exit gracefully.
The 2024 presidential election is scheduled to be held in March, but the exact date will be determined by the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, no earlier than December 2023. According to the latest opinion polls by the independent Levada Center, Putin enjoys a high approval rating of 82%, while no other potential candidate has more than 5%.