President Vladimir Putin expressed doubt he would run for office a fourth time in an interview with the U.S. journalist Charlie Rose for the CBS network this week.
The full text of the interview was published on the official Kremlin website Tuesday.
Rose asked Putin how long he planned to remain president, and Putin said it depended on several factors, including his own feelings.
"The period of my service will depend on two conditions. Firstly, of course, there are rules stipulated by the Constitution, and I will certainly not infringe on them," the president said.
"But I am not sure whether I should take full advantage of these constitutional rights. It will depend on the specific situation in the country, in the world and my own feelings about it," he added.
It was not the first time Putin had been asked about the possibility of him entering the presidential race for a fourth time in 2018. The Wall Street Journal cited him as telling foreign journalists in 2012 that he considered the prospect of it "normal, if everything is going fine and if people want it."
Putin's third term as president ends in 2018. It is the first presidential term in Russia to have been set at six years instead of four, after a law extending the presidential term from four to six years was signed in 2008 by then-President Dmitry Medvedev.
Putin became president in 2000, was re-elected in 2004 and stayed in the Kremlin until 2008, when Medvedev was elected president. Under Russian law, presidents cannot stay in power for more than two consecutive terms.
At the end of Medvedev's term in 2012, the two men said they had agreed years ago to swap roles, and Medvedev stepped down accordingly. Putin won the election, sparking mass protests in Moscow.
If he becomes president for a fourth time and stays in office for another six years, his rule will be the longest in Russian history since that of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.