Russian prime minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin has said he is still undecided whether to participate in the next presidential elections in 2018.
“I don’t know whether I want to stay [in power] for more than twenty years. I have not yet decided,” Putin said during an interview with editors-in-chief of several leading foreign newspapers in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence near Moscow.
Putin has been Russia’s president for two consecutive terms in 2000-2008. As the Russian constitution barred him from running for a third term, he appointed Dmitry Medvedev his successor and took the prime minister’s post in May 2008.
If elected president in the Sunday vote, Putin will stay in office for at least six years, although many analysts believe that he would run for another term and remain in the Kremlin until 2024.
“We are now talking about electing a Russian president for the next six years,” Putin said during the interview. “I have not even thought yet [about another term.]”
The editors-in-chief of France’s Le Monde, Britain’s The Times, Italy’s La Repubblica, Germany’s Handelsblatt, Canada’s The Globe and Mail and Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper participated in the interview.