Vladimir Putin has still not declared whether he intends to run in next year’s Russian Presidential election, but according to a recent poll by Russia’s Levada Centre, 64% of Russians want Putin to be President for another term. If Putin runs and wins in the 2018 election, he will remain in office until 2024, the same year Trump will leave office in the US should he seek and win another term in 2020.
Thus far, the only mainstream Russian politician who has officially declared his candidacy is LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia) founder Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Long time leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov has ruled himself out, preferring a younger leader to represent a party with an increasingly ageing but still prominent electoral base.
In an interview about Donald Trump’s election victory, Zhirinovsky predicted that by 2024, Russia’s political system would become more evenly divided between left and right where at the moment Russia has the Communists and Fair Russia parties on the left and Unity Russia and his own LDPR on the right.
The Levada poll also found that if elections were held tomorrow and Putin was running, 48% of those polled would cast their vote for the incumbent while Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov (listed as the Communist candidate in the poll) would both get roughly 3% of total votes. By contrast the second most popular option after Putin was ‘undecided’ at 19%. 13% of those asked said that they did not plan to vote at all next year.
If Putin does in fact decide to run, he will almost certainly win. His record in government and his personal popularity at home and abroad means that even other qualified candidates will stand little chance of beating a man who Russians see as their best leader in a century.