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Russian President Vladimir Putin vows to leave Kremlin by 2024

By Lynn Berry

Vladimir Putin has said he won't remain Russia's President for life and will step down in line with the constitution no later than 2024, according to an interview with a Russian news agency.

Staying in office beyond that would be "detrimental for the country and I don't need this", he told the Tass organisation yesterday.

Putin (62) has effectively led Russia since he was first elected in 2000.

For 16 years Putin was an officer in the KGB, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before he retired to enter politics in his native St Petersburg in 1991.

He moved to Moscow in 1996 and joined President Boris Yeltsin's administration where he rose quickly, becoming Acting President on December 31, 1999, when Mr Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned.

Mr Putin, who likes to portray a persona as a tough outdoorsman, stepped aside after two four-year terms to abide with constitutional term limits, but was elected President again in 2012 to a six-year term. He said his decision on whether to run for a fourth term in 2018 will depend on the situation in the country and his "own mood".

Mr Putin said there were efforts at home and abroad that were aimed at trying to undermine his rule.

He said Western sanctions against Russian individuals and businesses were "driven by a desire to cause a split in the elite and then, perhaps, in society".

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