Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday a complete victory had been achieved over Islamic State militants on both banks of the Euphrates river in Syria. He added that Nizhny Novgorod, where the Gorky Automobile Plant is located, is known as "Russia's third capital" and the birthplace of the people's militia movement that helped preserve Russian statehood and sovereignty during the 1612 war with Poland.
After first taking power in 2000, Putin has served three terms as president, with a four-year break when he served as prime minister in 2008-2012. If he wins what would be a fourth presidential term in March, he would be eligible to serve another six years until 2024, when he turns 72.
Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, said Putin's announcement helped end "anxiety and tensions in the society". "I suggest we don't agree".
Polls indicate that he would comfortably win the election if he were to run for re-election.
There is no obvious successor.
Putin has sought to appeal to the country's youth after thousands of young Russians took to the streets earlier this year to protest alleged corruption among the elites, targeting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev among others. That decision will trigger a round of intrigue over the succession, as whoever holds the prime minister's post is often viewed as the president's heir apparent.
The Kremlin has been anxious about growing voter apathy, and the uncertainty about Putin's plans seemed meant to encourage public interest in the race.
A political ingénue, Sobchak has scant chance of winning. Sobchak said on Wednesday that Putin would probably win "as always", but that she still planned to run to represent people who wanted change.
The veterans of past campaigns - Communist chief Gennady Zyuganov, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and liberal leader Grigory Yavlinsky - have all declared their intention to run. "I will run for president".
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