In his first lengthy interview since last month's announcement that he will seek a third presidential term, the 59-year-old prime minister said that Communist-era leaders were not physically capable and did not have "the will" to run the country the way he did.
After serving two presidential terms, Putin anointed a successor, Dmitry Medvedev, who appointed him prime minister and was widely seen as a No. 2 leader. Putin can run for two more consecutive terms and could stay in power until 2024.
He said that his decision still leaves average Russians an opportunity to "make their choice" in the upcoming elections in March.