- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview published on Friday that he hoped President Vladimir Putin would run in the March election for another term as Russian president, a move that would keep Putin in power until at least 2030.

Putin, who was handed the presidency by Boris Yeltsin on the last day of 1999, has already been in power for longer than any other Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin, beating even Leonid Brezhnev's 18-year tenure. Putin turned 71 on Oct. 7.

Asked by the student television channel of Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO) what the next president after Putin should be like, Peskov said: "The same."

"Or different but the same," Peskov told MGIMO 360 with a smile.

"Putin has not yet announced his intention to run but I sincerely want to believe that he will do that, and I have no doubt that he will win the elections. I have no doubt that he will continue to be president."

Reuters reported earlier this month that Putin has decided to run in the March election, as he feels he must steer Russia through the most perilous period in decades.

For Putin, who opinion polls show enjoys approval ratings of 80% inside Russia, the election is a formality if he runs: with the support of the state, the state media and almost no mainstream public dissent, he is certain to win.



However, the former KGB spy is facing the most serious set of challenges any Kremlin chief has faced since Mikhail Gorbachev grappled with the crumbling Soviet Union more than three decades ago.

The war in Ukraine has triggered the biggest confrontation with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis; Western sanctions have delivered the biggest external shock to the Russian economy in decades; and in June Russia had to put down an attempted mutiny by powerful mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Prigozhin was killed in a plane crash two months later.

The West casts Putin as a war criminal and a dictator who has led Russia into an imperial-style land grab in Ukraine.

Putin presents the war as part of a much broader struggle with the United States which the Kremlin says aims to destroy Russia and grab its vast natural resources.

Peskov said the world was being transformed as the West struggled to maintain its post-Cold War dominance despite its clear decline.

"The collective West will do anything to try to cling onto its leadership which is floating away," Peskov said.

When asked what Russia would look like in a decade, Peskov said: "It must be and will be stronger, wiser and richer." (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Dmitry Antonov; editing by Mark Trevelyan and Gareth Jones)