December 12, 2023

An Unexpected Expected Announcement


An Unexpected Expected Announcement
Russian President Vladimir Putin walking through golden gates. Steven Pifer, Twitter.

On December 8, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at an awards ceremony that he would seek a fifth term as Russia's president in the upcoming 2024 election. 

After Putin finished a speech to honor awardees, cameras focused on medal recipient Artem Zhoga, the People's Council Chairman of the Russian-occupied Donetsk People's Republic and the father of a soldier who died in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Zhoga approached the podium and showered Putin with accolades, to which the president of 19 years responded, "Thank you so much. I won't hide that at different times I had different thoughts. But now, you are right, now is the time to make a decision. I will run for the post of president of the Russian Federation."

The seemingly unofficial announcement prompted various responses from the opposition. The director of the Alexey Navalny-founded Anti-Corruption Foundation, Ivan Zhdanov, said,  "That was funny... I don't think they planned to announce the nomination like this... Someone will receive a hit in the head for this."

Opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov said, "And there comes the voice from the fridge: I'm going, he says, for a fifth term! The surprise, frankly speaking, was not a success."

Human rights activist Alina Popova said, "This is news, this is an event! No one waited, but he took [the opportunity] and solved the intrigue! Moreover, according to tradition, he did not decide on his own but kindly agreed when asked: either the workers asked or the father of a deceased military man... Don't you find this funny? Who are they hoping to deceive?"

Putin's re-election will take place March 15-17, 2024 – the ever-popular Ides of March to St. Patrick's Day weekend.

 

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