Whoever is president in 2019 will attend WorldSkills competition - Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Alexey Druzhinin)
The Russian president has admitted that another person might take his place after 2018 as he accepted an invitation to the 2019 World Skills International competition, which Russia’s Kazan is bidding to host.

The event we are discussing will take place in 2019, and the presidential elections will be held in Russia in 2018,” Putin told the head of the WorldSkills International (WSI), Simon Bartley. “But I am confident that whoever becomes Russian head of state will be happy to participate in these events.”

Putin’s words were a reply to Bartley’s statement in which he expressed hope that the Russian leader would personally attend the opening and closing ceremonies in Russia’s Kazan in 2019 and would bring along other senior Russian officials. The WSI leader noted that such a promise would increase Kazan’s chances of hosting the competition as it would demonstrate that the country’s top official attaches the utmost importance to the event.

Putin has been asked about his plans for 2018 many times since he was elected president in March 2012, but his answers have always been evasive. The last time it happened during the major press conference in December 2014 and he said that it was too early for anyone to make decisions about the polls that would happen in such a long time.

Officials must work for the benefit of our state. And the results of this work must prompt the decision who should run in the elections. It is important to persistently work in the interests of Russian citizens. The decision on who would take part in the 2018 polls can be made on the basis of the work results and the moods in the society,” Putin told reporters.

On Wednesday, the independent Levada Center polling agency released the results of the most recent poll, according to which 85 percent of Russians gave a positive assessment of Putin’s work as president and only 14 percent they were not happy with it.

In early March, the Levada Center conducted a poll that indicated that Putin would win the presidential elections in the first round if they were held over the next weekend. According to Levada, 57 percent of Russian citizens were ready to cast their votes for Putin. Among those who said that they knew for sure who they would support this share was even higher, at 80 percent.

When Russians were asked whom they would like to see elected when the actual ballot is due (in March 2018), 57 percent replied they would be happy if Putin is reelected. Twenty-five percent said they would prefer someone else and 19 percent answered that they found it difficult to make a choice.

READ MORE: Putin’s trust rating hits 85% historical high

In early February, Putin’s approval rating hit a historical high with 85 percent of Russian citizens saying that they trusted the president and 74 percent promising to vote for him if presidential elections were held next weekend. A total of 84 percent of those polled said they approved of Putin’s work as president and only 7 percent admitted they were discontented with it.

Putin’s approval ratings were on the rise in Russia last year and in December an overwhelming majority citizens named their president the “Man of the Year” when they chose from serving Russian politicians.