I'm not sure this is going to surprise anyone, but the Associated Press has the less-than-shocking details of Putin's possible plans for when his third term as president is up:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he could run for a fourth presidential term in 2018. If he does and wins, that would keep him in power for about a quarter century and make him the nation's longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin.
Putin, who served two consecutive four-year terms starting in 2000, became prime minister in 2008 to observe a constitutional limit of two consecutive terms. He remained in charge as prime minister, with his loyal associate, Dmitry Medvedev, serving as a placeholder. Medvedev initiated a law that extended the presidential term to six years, and Putin won a third term in 2012 despite major public protests in Moscow against his rule.
Again, the news itself isn't a shock, but it's at least noteworthy that Putin is already on the record talking about a fourth term with another five years left on his current one. As my colleage Joshua Keating noted last week in the midst of Putin's rather strong showing on the global stage thanks to Syria, the Russian strongman actually looks less in control at home than he has in a long time. Only time will tell, of course, whether that emerging trend will continue over the next half decade.
Note: For what it's worth, the AP's counting Putin's four-year stint as prime minister (as it should) to reach the "about a quarter century" tally.
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