Russian President Vladimir V. Putin announced he would run for re-election during an event at the Gorky Automobile Factory in Nizhny Novgorod. On the floor of the vehicle factory, he delivered a brief statement that was broadcast live on state television. Mr. Putin said, “There is no better space and no better occasion to announce this. I will run for the presidency of the Russian Federation.” The hall erupted in cheers of support.
He is expected to win a fourth term handily in a March election. A poll conducted in September showed 64 percent of likely voters supported him and 52 percent of all voters supported him. The poll by the Levada Center was based on 1,600 people questioned between September 15 and 19. Election Day has been moved to March 18.
Mr. Putin spent most of his early career as a middle-level K.G.B. agent in East Germany. After the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Russians experienced widespread instability and poverty. After Mr. Putin assumed the presidency in 2000, Russians gained more household income in the first eight years of his term than during any other period in their recent history.
The 2014 annexation of Crimea has kept his popularity ratings hovering around 85 percent. The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia also fueled his ratings. The scandal over state-backed doping, which resulted in Russia being barred from the 2018 Winter Games, has barely caused a dent in his popularity.
There is also the lack of serious challengers to his candidacy. His strongest rival, Aleksei Navalny, has been barred from running because of a series of criminal cases. The rest of the field is dominated by novices not popular enough to threaten Mr. Putin.
Mr. Putin wants to cement his place as one of the more important historical figures to ever rule Russia. If he wins another six-year term, ending in 2024, his presidency and years as prime minister will have lasted 24 years, the longest by a Russian leader since Joseph Stalin. It is widely believed that it would be his last term, barring further constitutional changes.