The successor of sitting Russian President Vladimir Putin will be very similar to him politically, the Kremlin suggests.
Putin, 71, is facing a new election cycle leading up to 2024, and has indicated he intends to stand for re-election.
However, his eventual successor will not be much different, the Kremlin told a student news outlet this week.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a university student-run channel operated by the Moscow State Institute of International Relations that Putin’s eventual successor will be “the same. Or different, but the same,” according to the Moscow Times.
The comment indicates Putin’s continued importance in maintaining political stability in Russia amid an unpopular war of aggression against Ukraine and rising tensions with the West.
Putin, who has been in power since 2012, has become a fixture of Russian politics distinct from any larger governing body or political party.
Putin is eligible to run for a maximum of six terms, which would keep him in office until 2036.
He has alluded to his plans for the 2024 campaign but indicated he will wait until after the Russian parliament officially calls for a presidential election in early December. The election will be held in March 2024.
Putin was a member of the country’s ruling United Russia Party when he was elected in 2012, but dropped from the group during his successful 2018 bid for re-election. He will likely run for president as an independent once again.
The Kremlin has been pubically dismissive of elections in recent months, seeming to acknowledge the nation’s questionable international credibility of its democratic institutions.
Peskov told news outlets in October that there is no competition against Putin ahead of the next presidential election next year.
“We have repeatedly said that President Putin is undoubtedly the number-one politician and statesman in our country,” said Peskov. “In my personal opinion […] he has no rivals at the moment and cannot have any in the Russian Federation.”