Vladimir Putin has said he would seek another term as Russian president in next year's election.
Putin made the remarks in what seemed to be a tightly scripted appearance at an awards ceremony for volunteer groups in Moscow on December 6.
At an event in Moscow attended mainly by young people, Putin asked the audience if they supported him running in the March elections.
The appearance was shown live on state television.
If he wins, which he nearly certainly will, Putin will have spent 24 years as Russian leader by the end of his term in 2024, including four years in which he was prime minister but still called the shots.
If he wins what would be a fourth presidential term, he will be eligible to serve another six years until 2024, when he turns 72.
Putin draws much of his support from outside the two biggest cities - Moscow and St Petersburg - where many credit him with raising their living standards despite an economic crisis Russian Federation is only now recovering from.
"It was necessary to ensure electoral mobilization", Dmitry Orlov, a political consultant close to the Kremlin, said in televised remarks.
Putin's approval ratings top 80 percent, making him certain to win an easy first-round victory. "Thank you for your work, for your attitude to the case, for the country", he continued. Putin told workers. "I'm sure that together we will succeed". Some even speculated that Putin could step down and name a preferred successor. He said he would decide shortly if he would seek another six-year term.
"The decision gives us the feeling of certainty about tomorrow", said Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of parliament. He's expected to make the move after the upper house of parliament formally launches the race later this month.
Russia's main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been formally barred from standing, because he was found guilty of embezzlement - a charge he claims was politically motivated.