Current Russian President Vladimir Putin may run for president in the 2018 elections as an independent candidate, RBC news agency reported with reference to federal officials and sources in the Russian Presidential Administration.
According to RBC, the topic of Putin running independently was taken up at a seminar for governors and deputy presidential envoys on internal policy in the Moscow Region at the start of December.
“It was not spoken about directly, but we were warned to prepare for collecting signatures,” sources told the agency.
The sources also pointed out that the initiative group in support of Putin’s independent candidacy will most likely convene after the United Russia congress, and the printing of the signed lists will take place on December 31.
“The instruction of the team leaders of the signature collectors and the collection itself may begin on January 8, immediately after the new year holidays. The submission of the signatures is planned for somewhere in the last third of January,” the publication states.
Furthermore, a correspondent in the Presidential Administration said that the Kremlin considers independent candidacy the most important format for Putin, but “in any case, the scenario of candidacy on behalf of United Russia has also been worked through”.
On December 6, Putin announced that he would run in presidential elections for the fourth time.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will reportedly not compete with Putin in the elections.
The Russian presidential elections will take place in March 2018.
Other persons who have announced their intention to run in the elections include Grigory Yavlinsky, co-founder of the Yabloko (“Apple”) Party, journalist Kseniya Sobchak and another two TV presenters – Anfisa Chekhova and Katya Gordon, porn star Elena Berkova and Gennady Zyuganov, head of the Communist Party.