Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking a fourth term in office -which would keep him in the Kremlin through 2024, if he wins another six-year term as expected.
He made the announcement during a speech to workers at a vehicle factory in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod.
Putin, 65, has been in power either as president or prime minister since 2000 and enjoys high approval ratings within Russian Federation, setting the stage for him to serve another six-year term until 2024.
Asked by the announcer whether he would run in the election, which is scheduled for March 18, Putin responded by asking whether the mostly young audience members and others like them would support his candidacy.
"Because we have elections coming, so you can invite me in February - I can still do it in February", Putin said alluding to his participation in the presidential election in March 2018.
Despite the Central Election Commission ruling him ineligible to stand, Navalny has organised mass protests and set up campaign headquarters across the country, hoping he can pressure the authorities into allowing him to stand.
"The decision will be taken and announced in the near future", said Putin, without making it clear just how soon. That decision will trigger a round of intrigue over the succession, as whoever holds the prime minister's post is often viewed as the president's heir apparent. Putin faces no serious threats in his re-election bid.
The Kremlin has been anxious about growing voter apathy, and the uncertainty about Putin's plans seemed meant to encourage public interest in the race.
They are broadly supportive of the Kremlin's policies and have repeatedly run for president, behaviour critics say is a ruse to create the illusion of genuine political choice.
Past candidates such as Communist chief Gennady Zyuganov, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and liberal leader Grigory Yavlinsky have all declared their intention to run.
The appearance was shown live on state television.