MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he had not yet decided whether to run for six more years in the Kremlin when his current term ends in 2024, while praising U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to seek re-election in that year.
Putin has been in power as president or prime minister since the turn of the century, making him the longest-serving Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin. Russia passed reforms last year allowing him to run for two more six-year terms, without which he would have had to step down in 2024.
Speaking at an investment forum in Moscow, the Kremlin leader suggested that the very option of him being able to run for president again had prevented the political system from being undermined.
“Whether or not I do this is yet to be decided, but the very existence of this right (to run) is already stabilising the domestic political situation,” he said.
Some analysts have said Putin could have become a lame duck if he had not had the option of running again in 2024 – something he suggested he had in common with Biden.
“What President Biden said about his possible re-election I think he was absolutely right to do. Because if you don’t start preparing for the elections, I think the governability of the country will suffer to a significant degree,” Putin said.
“The U.S. president doesn’t need my opinions, but I think he acted absolutely rightly.”
Despite the tense state of ties with Washington, especially over Ukraine, Putin has said he has a good working relationship with Biden and the Kremlin has spoken repeatedly in recent weeks about the possibility of a second summit between the two men.
Putin’s spokesman this month denounced as “absurd” meddling a resolution proposed by U.S. lawmakers to stop recognising Putin as president if he stays in power after 2024.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Tom Balmforth and Anastasia Lyrchikova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Bernadette Baum)