Now it is official.
Vladimir Putin had already revealed he was seeking a third term as Russia’s President. And today, watched by the current man in the Kremlin, Putin accepted his ruling party’s nomination as its candidate in next year’s presidential poll.
“My thanks to Dmitri Medvedev and to the United Russia party congress for choosing me and asking me to be the candidate for the post of Russia’s president,” Putin said. “Of couse, I gratefully accept this offer.”
Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev are set to swap jobs in 2012. Polls show that United Russia is likely to win next Sunday’s parliamentary vote and that Putin is almost certain to win the presidential election in March.
Opposition groups are demanding free and fair polls and warning the government against mass fraud.
Putin himself issued a warning today to foreign powers. Accusing them of paying NGOs in Russia to try to influence voting, he dismissed the alleged Western bid to interfere as a waste of money.