Russian President Strongly Hints Will Run For Reelection, Stops Short Of Announcing

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared his intention to seek re-election next March, a vote he appears certain to win.

Putin issued a statement while meeting workers at the GAZ factory in Nizny Novgorod, where he confirmed his plans to run for the election on the 18 March 2018.

Putin's approval rating tops 80 percent, and is virtually assured victory in next year's election, the AP story said. He held the office of president for two terms from 2000 to 2008, and served as prime minister from 2008 to 2012. Putin told workers. "I'm sure that together we will succeed".

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They are likely to be joined by Ksenia Sobchak, a star TV host who is the daughter of late former St Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, who was Mr Putin's boss in the 1990s.

Putin is seeking a fourth term as president.

Alexei Navalny, the most prominent Putin opponent, also wants to run, even though a conviction he says is politically motivated prevents him from joining the campaign. Allies laud Putin as a father-of-the-nation figure who has restored national pride and expanded Moscow's global clout with interventions in Syria and Ukraine.

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One of the items at the top of Mr Putin's agenda if he wins re-election will be whether to keep prime minister Dmitry Medvedev in post. Putin draws much of his support from outside the two biggest cities - Moscow and St Petersburg - where many credit him with raising their living standards despite an economic crisis Russian Federation is only now recovering from.

After shouts of "yes" came from the crowd, Putin said: "In that case, a decision will be made in the nearest future, taking into account the support from society".

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