Reports that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin may again seek to run for the President in next year’s elections is already pushing up the value of the ruble currency, according to Citigroup.

“The consensus view is that Putin will return as the President, based on our discussions with local political analysts as well as market participants,” analysts Elina Ribakova and Natalia Novikova wrote in a report Monday.

Citigroup cites that although Putin is believed to be “less friendly towards the West” and has some “minor” differences with incumbent Dmitry Medvedev – such elements have already been priced in by currency traders.

The analysts expect “mild appreciation pressure on the ruble” in the next few months.

According to Russia’s central bank, uncertainties related to the election led to the net outflow of $21.3-billion from the country in the first quarter of the year, followed by a $9.9-billion exit in the second quarter.

Moreover, a number of companies have cancelled or postponed initial public offerings this year, including OAO Russian Helicopters and OAO Siberian Coal Energy Co.

Putin, who already served as Russia’s president from 2000 to 2008, has not specifically announced he will run for the job in 2012 – but he hasn’t ruled it out either.

Lately, the 58-year-old Putin has been making a number of public appearances and criticized the United States (a popular ploy) by calling it a “parasite” on the global economy.

He remains popular among his party and many would like to see him get a third term as president.