President Vladimir Putin isn’t going anywhere — at least in political terms. Russian state media said Friday he has announced his candidacy in the 2024 presidential election which he is all but certain to win.
The Kremlin is rallying support for Putin’s fifth presidential term by pitching him as the defender of traditional Russian values against the “liberal” West as the war in Ukraine grinds on.
Putin has been in high office for almost a quarter of a century, longer than any ruler since Josef Stalin.
The former KGB spy can still count on wide domestic political support despite starting an immensely costly war in Ukraine that has taken thousands of his countrymen’s lives, provoked repeated attacks inside Russia -– including one on the Kremlin itself -– and corroded its aura of invincibility, AP reports.
The only challenge to that reign came in June when mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin raised widespread speculation Putin could be losing his grip, but he emerged with no permanent scars.
Prigozhin, however, died a few weeks later in a plane crash.
Lawmakers in Russia have set the country’s 2024 presidential election for March 17.
Putin, 71, will claim a fifth term in office if he wins, which most see as a certainty given opposition is almost non-existent and Russian media outlets remain completely under his control.
Under constitutional reforms he orchestrated, Putin is eligible to seek two more six-year terms after his current term expires next year, potentially allowing him to remain in power until 2036.
Last month, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Putin — who has been waging all-out war on Ukraine since February 2022 — could “hardly” face any real competition if he was to run again.
He is the “unquestionably top-ranked political figure” in the country was the conclusion given.
Meanwhile Putin’s foe on the international geopolitical stage, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, will not be facing voters anytime soon.
He told his people last month discussions about the scheduled 2024 presidential election in his country were “absolutely irresponsible” in light of the ongoing Russian invasion of his country, as Breitbart News reported.
He also indicated his despair at the level of support he is receiving from the West.
Zelensky’s presidential term is scheduled to end in 2024 but, as Ukraine is currently in a state of martial law, it is unconstitutional to hold a presidential race.
The Ukraine president had previously stated he would be open to holding elections if Western countries – specifically the U.S. and European Union – paid for them.