Vladimir Putin filed documents for 018 re-election bid

Vastavam web: Russian President Vladimir Putin today filed documents with electoral officials to run for re- election next year, a day after hundreds of politicians, celebrities and sports figures backed his bid.Putin visited the Central Election Commission, handing over his passport and 300,000 signatures required by Russian legislation for those running as independent candidates.A day earlier more than 600 celebrities, politicians and sports figures had gathered in Moscow to formally nominate Putin.

The Russian strongman skipped the ceremony, with the Kremlin citing his busy schedule.Earlier this week electoral bosses barred top opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running against Putin, citing a controversial embezzlement conviction which he says is politically motivated.Putin instead met with children to open a Christmas tree on a square inside the Kremlin walls.Candidates running against Putin include veteran ultra- conservative politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin and a former socialite turned liberal journalist Ksenia Sobchak.