Vladimir Putin has announced that he will be seeking another term in office for next year's elections.
“Our country is its people, people like you. It's workers, scientists, engineers, designers, teachers and doctors,” the Russian President said as he confirmed his candidacy while meeting with workers at an automotive manufacturer.
“Russia can deal with any, even the most complex challenges it faces.”
Putin would be making a bid for his fourth term, after having been president from 2000 to 2008, and again from 2012 until today. He was also the prime minister between 2008 and 2012.
Although Putin has been demonized in most Western media, particularly in the wake of the so-called “Russiagate” involving alleged Russian involvement in U.S. elections, he is widely viewed within his own country as a strong leader who has built up the country's economy and re-strengthened its position in the post-Soviet world.
His approval ratings are consistently over 80 percent, according to various state and independent polls, making him among the most popular leaders in the world.
Other candidates putting their name forward include the Communist Party's Gennady Zyuganov, who was among the most prominent voices opposing Boris Yeltsin in the mid-1990s. The Liberal-Democratic Party head Vladimir Zhirinovsky, media star Ksenia Sobchak, journalist Ekaterina Gordon, and the Yabloko party's Grigory Yavlinsky are also making bids.