The latest research by a state-run polling agency says 74 percent of Russians would vote for President Vladimir Putin if he runs for the post again in 2018.

Putin was elected in 2012 for his third term in office amid massive anti-government protests. His approval ratings skyrocketed after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in March 2014.

State-run pollster VTsIOM said in its poll published on Thursday the percentage of Russians wiling to vote for him again has now reached 74 percent, a four-year high.

Putin did not run in the 2008 election due to term limitations but he is allowed to run for another six-year term in 2018.

Opinion polls by state-owned agencies like VTsIOM often give Putin higher ratings than independent pollsters.