Dmitry Medvedev

Russian parliament launches presidential campaign

Russian lawmakers on Friday set the presidential election for March 18, a move that sets in motion campaigning for a race that President Vladimir Putin is all but certain to win.

Putin declared his intention to run for another six-year term last week, ending months of speculation about motives behind the delay. He enjoys approval ratings above 80 percent, while his most visible adversary, anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny, has declared his intention to run but a criminal conviction bars him from doing so.

Friday's decision by the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, will set the campaign in motion starting Monday, the day it will be published in a...