Moscow Wagging his pen and gazing directly into the camera, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sent his strongest signal yet Thursday that he plans to return to Russia’s presidency, telling millions of TV viewers that he will consider running in 2012.
The former KGB spy, who retains huge power despite formally stepping down after his eight-year presidency in 2008, turned in an electric performance during his annual marathon call-in show — cementing his high rating among the electorate and his reputation as Russia’s No. 1 leader.
Asked if he was leaving the political stage, Putin grinned and said: “Don’t hold your breath.”
The St. Petersburg native declared he would “think about it, there is still enough time,” when questioned on his intent to run again for president.