While not publicly stated yet, Vladimir Putin seeking, and obtaining, reelection in the March 2024 presidential elections in Russia is a foregone conclusion, Reuters reports.
While many sources - diplomats and officials and intelligence agents - have said the 71-year-old Putin remaining in his post for life seems likely, there had been no confirmation of a plan to seek reelection, until now, Reuters says.
Putin sees his mission in continuing to steer Russia through the most perilous period it has faced in decades, no fewer than half-a-dozen sources told Reuters, meaning the die is cast in terms of running in March next year.
Given the lack of serious rivals who could unseat Putin and the fact that some approval ratings are reportedly as high as 80 percent, he would likely be running unopposed anyway; the continued support of state organs and the state-run media would only heighten this.
Most of the sources who spoke to Reuters, anonymously, in fact said the decision to run in 2024 had been made, with one claiming a "choreographed hint" would emerge in the next few weeks.
This comes in the wake of the failed putsch in Southern Russia last summer, led by the leader of a notorious mercenary organization, the Wagner Group.
The short-lived mutiny was quelled while Wagner's leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was killed in a plane crash later on in the summer, meaning what remains of the group is now firmly under the central state apparatus.
For his part, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says: "The campaign has not been officially announced yet."
Challenges Putin faces now and in the future include the most major stand-off with the collective West, over Ukraine, since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis involving the Russian Federation's predecessor state, the Soviet Union.
The effects of Western sanctions arising from the invasion of Ukraine, soaring defense spend and inflation are all taking their toll on Russia's economy.
Vladimir Putin became Russian president on the last day of the last millennium, replacing Boris Yeltsin.
Russia's constitution was amended in 2020 to include changes which will allow Putin to remain in office after 2024; previously, no more then two consecutive terms as president were permissible under the constitution, hence the job switch 2008-2012 with Dmitri Medvedev. While the latter was president of Russia during this period while Putin was prime minister, few were under any illusions as to where the real power lay – or, as U.S. talk show host Larry King put it at the time, citing a leaked State Department cable, Medvedev: "plays Robin to Putin's Batman."
In more recent times, Medvedev has been reduced to, for instance, posting a tweet containing a Russian caricature of the residents of neighboring Finland, while mocking that country's accession to NATO.
Editor: Andrew Whyte