Russia’s Vladimir Putin has said he will seek another term as president in next year’s election.
He made the announcement in a speech to workers at a car factory in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod.
“I will put forward my candidacy for the post of president of the Russian federation,” he said.
Mr Putin has been in power since 2000, either as president or prime minister. If he wins the March election he will be eligible to serve until 2024.
Russian TV journalist Ksenia Sobchak has already said she will stand in the election but opinion polls suggest Mr Putin will win easily.
Russia’s main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been formally barred from standing because he was found guilty of embezzlement – a charge he claims was politically motivated.
Mr Putin is popular with many Russians, who see him as a strong leader who has restored Russia’s global standing with a decisive military intervention in the Syrian civil war and Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
But his critics accuse him of facilitating corruption and illegally annexing Crimea, which has led to international condemnation.
Vladimir Putin: From spy to president
- Born 7 October 1952 in Leningrad (now St Petersburg)
- Studies law and joins KGB after university
- Serves as a spy in communist East Germany – some ex-KGB comrades later get top state posts in Putin era
- 1990s – top aide to St Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, who had previously taught him law
- Enters Boris Yeltsin’s Kremlin in 1997, made chief of Federal Security Service (the FSB – main successor of the KGB), then prime minister
- New Year’s Eve, 1999 – Yeltsin quits and names him acting president
- Easily wins presidential election in March 2000
- Wins a second term in 2004
- Is barred from running for a third successive term by the Russian constitution, but instead becomes prime minister
- Wins a third presidential term in 2012