Moscow: The Russian parliament on Wednesday announced that the next presidential election will be held on March 17, 2024, clearing the way for President Vladimir Putin to seek a fifth term in office. Putin, who is 71 years old, has not officially declared his candidacy yet, but he is widely expected to do so soon, as the election date is now confirmed.
Putin, who has been ruling Russia since 2000, either as president or prime minister, secured the possibility of extending his rule until 2036 by pushing through constitutional changes last year. The amendments allow him to run for two more six-year terms after his current one expires in 2024. If he wins both elections, he will surpass the record of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who ruled for 29 years.
Putin faces no serious challenge from the opposition, as most of his critics are either in prison, such as Alexei Navalny, or in exile, such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The independent media and civil society are also under constant pressure and censorship from the authorities.
Despite the ongoing military intervention in Ukraine and the recent uprising of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of a private military company known as Wagner Group, Putin’s popularity remains high, according to independent polls. The majority of Russians support his assertive foreign policy and his portrayal of himself as a defender of national interests and values.
With the election date set for March, Putin is poised to secure another landslide victory and cement his grip on power for at least another six years.