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Putin announces 2018 re-election bid, ends long speculation

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting with workers of the GAZ factory in Nizny Novgorod, Russia, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. Putin says he will seek re-election in next March's election. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he would seek re-election next year in a race he is poised to win easily, putting him on track to become the nation’s longest-serving ruler since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.