Putin is not sure if he will run for president of Russia again in 2024: Peskov

Putin is not sure if he will run for president of Russia again in 2024: Peskov

  • Russia’s Putin has not decided whether he will run for president in 2024, his spokesman said.
  • Western officials suggest that the war in Ukraine has weakened his position, writes The Times of London.
  • But keeping people guessing is standard practice for Putin, a Russian expert told Insider.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has not decided whether to run in Russia’s 2024 presidential election, his chief spokesman said on Wednesday. It’s a standard move for him, an expert on Russian politics said, which keeps his opposition guessing.

The spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, gave one word, “No,” when asked by reporters about Putin’s decision. TASS announced the state newspaper Wednesday.

Thanks to the law passed last year, Putin is eligible for two more six-year terms as president — meaning he could be president until 2036. He has already led the country as president or prime minister for 21 years.

Putin’s law tightened his rule even more. The Washington, DC, think tank Freedom House brought Russia one of the lowest rankings for electoral freedomsciting the long-term erosion of any semblance of free and fair elections.

The London Times reported Unnamed Western officials have suggested missteps in the Ukraine war have fueled speculation in Russia about a 2024 challenge to Putin.

“People are talking more about succession and imagining life without Putin,” one official was quoted as saying by the paper. “Russia is not a democratic country and there is no prospect of change in the near future. But the middle of this decade is starting to look interesting.”

Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine based on “incredibly wrong information,” one official told the paper. That mistake weakened him, officials said.

Commenting on the possibility that the setbacks in Ukraine may have weakened his chances overall, Sarah Whitmore, a specialist in Russian and Ukrainian politics at Britain’s Oxford Brookes University, told Insider: “I’m not sure if the mood will turn sour.”

She added: “It’s a really mixed picture.” Whitmore said most Russians — especially older ones — got most of their information from highly controlled state television. There, the main narrative is that Russia’s security is at risk.

“Putin is the person who will protect them, and he is the only one, because who else is there?” she said. “There is no one else because anyone else has long been systematically excluded from the political scene.

Keeping quiet about his next move is standard Putin practice, she said.

“Putin always has to keep people guessing,” she said, noting that Putin waited until the last minute to announce his candidacy in in 2012 elections. “That’s really important because it helped keep the groups around Putin off balance.”

She said that probably Putin did not know if he would run.

“He may be thinking about whether he can get out if his health deteriorates, for example,” she said.

“But it wouldn’t make sense to say that now,” she added, “because it would immediately start a kind of internal power struggle as people compete to be next.”

Asked the same question about Putin’s political career in July, Peskov gave even less information, telling reporters: “Ask him yourself.” TASS reported.

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