“Yes, I will run as a candidate for the Russian presidency,” Putin said while meeting with workers at the country’s historic manufacturer, GAZ (Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod), in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod on Wednesday.
The upcoming election will be the fourth in Putin’s political career. He held the office of president for two terms from 2000 to 2008, and served as prime minister from 2008 to 2012. Putin then won a third term as president in 2012.
Vladimir Putin had, until now, refused to give a direct answer regarding his plans for the 2018 race. Earlier, Russian media reported that he may run as an independent candidate.
The Russian president enjoys a high approval rating, with over 82 percent of Russians supporting him according to a poll conducted by state-run VTSIOM in late September.
The date for next year’s election has not been announced yet, but it is believed that it will take place on March 18 – the anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Several other people, including an unprecedented number of women, have announced their candidacy. Liberal-Democratic Party head Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the Communist Party’s Gennady Zyuganov, the liberal Yabloko party’s Grigory Yavlinsky, journalist and singer-songwriter Ekaterina Gordon, celebrity and activist Ksenia Sobchak, and business ombudsman Boris Titov have all announced their plans to run.