Putin says he might be Russia’s president for life
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he might decide to stay in office for life.
“I have not yet decided yet whether I will leave the post of the president or not,” Putin said on Friday during a question-and-answer session with students in Sochi.
“Only after I answer this question for myself will I think about my next step,” he added.
It’s unclear what Putin’s comments would mean for Russia. Presidents in Russia are prohibited from serving a third consecutive term. In 2011, though, presidential terms were lengthened from four years to six years.
Putin served for two terms from 2000 to 2008, then reassumed the presidency in 2012 amid allegations of rigged elections. He’ll be up for election again in 2018.
Speaking further, Putin said that there are “many” options for him post-presidency, but that he hasn’t yet decided if he will even pursue them.
“There are a lot of interesting things to do in the world,” Putin said. “There are public organizations and there are other areas that are very interesting to me, for example, ecology. … First, the main question should be answered.”
In December, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia claimed that Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections was because Putin wanted to hurt Hillary Clinton for criticizing his crackdown on dissidents and political opponents.
“Let’s remember that Vladimir Putin thinks [Clinton] interfered in his election — the parliamentary election in December 2011 — and has said as much publicly, and I’ve heard him talk about it privately,” former Ambassador Michael McFaul said in December.