MOSCOW — Dec 7, 2017, 9:25 AM ET

Putin undecided whether to run as an independent or not


Russian President Vladimir Putin has not decided yet whether to run for office next year as an independent candidate or secure support from the ruling party, his spokesman said Thursday.

The 65-year old Russian leader, who has ruled the country since 2000, ended months of speculation by announcing Wednesday that he would seek his fourth term in office in the March 18 presidential vote. Putin's 80-percent approval ratings make his victory all but certain.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday that the president has yet to make up his mind whether he would run as an independent or on United Russia's platform.

United Russia won last year's parliamentary election, but is nowhere near as popular as Putin. The Russian president may want to avoid association with the party, which has been tainted with corruption scandals.

Asked if there is anyone to challenge Putin, Peskov told reporters Thursday that Putin is "the strongest candidate."

"The level of the popular support that he enjoys is unavailable for other candidates," Peskov said.

The Kremlin has been worried about growing voter apathy, and the uncertainty over Putin's plans seemed intended to encourage public interest in the race.

Putin's most visible adversary, anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navlany, declared his intention to run last December but a criminal conviction bars his from running for president. Navalny has been convicted on two separate sets of charges largely viewed as politically motivated.

Despite the ban, Russia's most popular opposition politician has mounted a grassroots campaign and held rallies across Russia to pressure the Kremlin to allow him to run.

Putin's potential rivals include several luckless candidates from past contests and one notable newcomer — TV host Ksenia Sobchak, 36, the daughter of Putin's former boss.

News - Putin undecided whether to run as an independent or not

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  • TexasVulcan

    Most of the posters here I agree with. It hardly matters how a dictator "runs for office".

  • ShawnLetwin

    Like it matters which party he runs under...window dressing for the Party of Putin...look forward to his Facebook campaign strategy!

  • Texan9


  • Dicazi

    Putin IS the ruling party.
    He kills or imprisons his opponents.
    Does it matter what party is behind him?

  • Bucktooth

    Does it really matter?

  • threehundredthousand ✓ᵛᵉʳᶥᶠᶥᵉᵈ

    "Putin undecided whether to run as an independent or not"

    Briefly as I read that I thought it meant in the Winter Olympics. But, sadly, that isn't what it meant.

  • Rabbit2011

    Who cares what he runs as? He wins no matter what party he belongs to because his opponents are jailed or killed. I see this in our future at the rate we're going. The Republicans care nothing about the Russian investigation and will do nothing no matter what Mueller finds. Senator Franken is stepping down but Trump remains with worse allegations against him and they want a child predator from Alabama as their next senator to replace Sessions. We're really heading in the wrong direction and I'm sure Trump is taking orders from Putin on what to do next.

  • John Barron

    Hysterical. Just call it the Party of Putin and be done with it. What a joke.

    Perhaps we just wants to change parties for the fun of it, or to prove to someone he can just for a goof, a bet perhaps? Haha.."Hold my Vodka.. Watch this."

  • caliento

    as if that would make any difference in a country where Putin "eliminates" his opponents.....It is actually a One Party "Criminal State" the USSR

  • cephalo

    How interesting that Putin so popular, yet the party he heads is not popular...