Vladimir Putin makes it official - he's running for re-election in 2018

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Vladimir Putin has said he would seek another term as Russian president in next year's election.

The Russian leader chose an enthusiastic audience of factory workers in Nizhny Novgorod to make the announcement.

Putin was president for two terms between 2000 and 2008, before paving way for his current prime minister Dimitry Medvedev who ruled for four years with Putin as PM.

The newspaper notes that the vote on March 18, 2018, will coincide with the anniversary of Putin's orchestration of Russian Federation annexing Crimea from Ukraine, an event that has boosted his popularity.

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A win would see Mr Putin secure a fourth six-year term as president and means he would be eligible to serve until 2024, when he will be 72. "I suggest we don't agree".

Mr Putin's approval ratings top 80%, meaning a comfortable first-round victory in the March poll is likely.

There is no obvious successor.

In comments released by the Kremlin, Putin said the military operation in the area was now finished, and that the focus would switch to a political process that would eventually involve presidential and parliamentary elections.

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"The decision will be taken and announced in the near future", said Putin, without making it clear just how soon. Sobchak said on Wednesday that Putin would probably win "as always", but that she still planned to run to represent people who wanted change.

They are broadly supportive of the Kremlin's policies and have repeatedly run for president, behaviour critics say is a ruse to create the illusion of genuine political choice.

The veterans of past campaigns - Communist chief Gennady Zyuganov, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and liberal leader Grigory Yavlinsky - have all declared their intention to run.

"The United Russia party that has been founded by President Putin will support his candidacy".

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State television, where many Russians still get their news, affords Putin blanket and uncritical coverage while ignoring or denigrating his opponents.

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