Vladimir Putin has confirmed he is to run for the presidency of Russia again in next year's elections.
The Kremlin strongman has already held the post for a total of 13 years, across two terms. He also served as prime minister from 2008 to 2012, the period in between those two presidential stints.
A former KGB spy in East Germany, Putin has long been criticised for his treatment of opposition figures and minorities such as the LGBT community. The daughter of murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov even claimed - while admitting she had no evidence of direct involvement - that Putin was "politically responsible" for his death.
However, supporters admire his hawkish foreign policy which has seen Russia annex the oil-rich Crimea region and take a leading role in the fight against Isis in Syria.
Russia is also gearing up to host the football World Cup, one of the blue-riband events in world sport, having held the Winter Olympics in 2014. Journalists flocked to Moscow for last Friday's World Cup draw, which saw Putin give a keynote speech.
Russia's economy has experienced an uptick in recent months, but analysts such as Bloomberg suggest this is more to do with consumer spending and public borrowing than any deliberate policy on the part of the Kremlin.
More to follow