Russian President Boris Yeltsin today backed away from firm denials he would seek a third term, saying aides had urged him not to comment.
Yeltsin said last month he would not run again when his term ends in 2000.
But asked during a visit to the central Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod if there was any chance he would seek a third term, he told reporters: "My friends and colleagues have forbidden me from talking about this. Why are you pushing me so early?"
Russia's constitution, adopted in 1993, limits the president to two terms of office. But some commentators have suggested the Kremlin is looking for ways for Yeltsin to run again.