Vladimir Putin has revealed his intention to run for re-election next March.
The Russian President said he will seek a new six-year term after making the announcement during a meeting with factory workers in the city of Nizhny Novgorod on Wednesday.
“I will put forward my candidacy for the post of president of the Russian Federation,” Mr Putin said.
“I can’t think of a better time or place to announce it.”
“Thank you for your support.”
Mr Putin has been in power either as a president of prime minister since 2000, serving for the past 18 years.
If he wins, it will be his fourth presidential term and will be eligible to serve another six years until 2024.
However, constitutional limits mean it will likely be his last.
Mr Putin is expected to win in a landslide after a recent poll showed he would receive 67 per cent of the vote.
Blue-collar workers and state employees make up the core of his support base.
He has been praised by allies as a father of the nation who has restored national pride and expanded Moscow’s global influence with interventions in Syria and the Ukraine.
However, critics have accused him of running a corrupt authoritarian system and of illegally annexing Ukraine’s Crimea which has isolated Russia.
His aggressive rebuilding of Russia’s global influence has brought tension with the West.
Relations with the U.S. have been the lowest since the Cold War, with Russia facing more sanctions over allegations of meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election.
While it appears no-one is capable of unseating him, Alexei Navalny is the most visible Putin candidate, but a conviction he called politically motivated has prevented him from joining the campaign.
Mr Navalny has organised a grassroots campaign and staged rallies across Russia to pressure the Kremlin to allow him to register for the election.
If re-elected, Mr Putin will have to choose whether to keep Dmitry Medvedev as Prime Minister or appoint someone else.
It would prompt questions over who would succeed him, because prime ministers are often viewed to succeed the president.
The Upper House of Parliament is expected to formally start the election campaign later this month.