By Asish Samson
In a surprising yet not entirely unexpected move Vladimir Putin has announced his decision to run for fourth term as President of the Russian federation. It will be a six year term which means he will be President till 2024 if he is elected. He is expected to breeze to a win without much opposition due to his immense popularity and lack of a serious contender.
He announced his decision after he was asked by one of the workers in a vehicle factory in the northern city of Nizhny Novgorod which he was visiting. He replied “ There is no better space, no better occasion than this” before confirming his run to loud cheers from the crowd.
Meanwhile Aleksei Navalny , anti-corruption crusader has been blocked from running due to the criminal cases against him which he claims were politically motivated. Navalny has constantly attacked the Putin regime for its blanketed approach to dealing with corruption. He has been seen by Kremlin as a threat to it agenda. Ksenia Sobchak, a celebrity show host is also running along with several smaller candidates which will surely fracture the opposition in an added advantage to Putin.
Putin has been at the forefront of Russian politics since the last seventeen years when he served as President from 2000 to 2008 and then as Prime minister from 2008 to 2012 and then again as President from 2012 in a move that sparked protests. He is seen globally as figure indicative of modern Russia while facing criticism for his authoritative rule and Annexation of Crimea which attracted global ire.
Unfazed by all the criticism Putin has remained staunchly by his decisions. Opinions polls suggest an easy win for him in the protracted three month campaign. His political power combined with Kremlin’s resources in his hand and his popularity among the masses are all an added advantage to the former KGB who is seen as strong on military action. He could well become one of Russia’s icons in the likes of Stalin and Lenin.