Prominent Kremlin critic Boris Nadezhdin has filed the necessary paperwork to be considered for the March presidential election in Russia.
To legally challenge President Vladimir Putin, the 60-year-old local councilor—who has pledged to put an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine—announced on Wednesday that he had gathered more than 100,000 signatures of support from 40 regions. He submitted these signatures along with other supporting documentation to the Central Election Commission (CEC).
Next, election officials will verify the legitimacy of the signatures that Nadezhdin and other prospective contenders have provided. Next month, they will reveal Putin’s running mates for the March 15–17 elections.
The electoral body has previously disqualified candidates after discovering what it said to be anomalies in signatures or documentation that they had gathered.
According to his supporters, Putin has already gathered more than 3.5 million signatures and will run as an independent rather than the candidate of the ruling United Russia party. He needs 300,000 signatures in total.
The 71-year-old incumbent made his decision to seek an extension of his rule known in December. He has led Russia for 24 years, including eight as prime minister, and is almost certain to win a fifth term as president.
Nadezhdin, who has called the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine a “fatal mistake,” was born in Soviet-ruled Uzbekistan to a Jewish father who worked as a physicist and a music teacher.
He has been employed as a councilor in the town of Dolgoprudny, outside of Moscow, for the past thirty years, devoted himself to Russian politics. He intends to run as a Civic Initiative party candidate.
His appeals for the end of the war catapulted him to national prominence, drawing throngs of Russians willing to affix their signatures to his candidacy.
Nadezhdin stated earlier this month that if Russia stopped investing so much in the military, the nation would have more money to spend on its people following a string of power outages that occurred throughout the nation during an exceptionally cold winter.
In an interview with the AFP news agency, he called the war “catastrophic” and declared his desire to “free political prisoners” in Russia.
In a message shared on his official Telegram account, he thanked his supporters and said, “This is my pride,” referring to the number of signatures gathered.
“The result of many days’ worth of sleep deprivation for thousands of people. The contents of the boxes are the outcome of the long lines you endured in the cold. The CEC and the authorities will find it extremely difficult to claim, “I didn’t notice the elephant in the room.”
In addition, he shared a video from the CEC’s headquarters that showed documents with signatures stacked up on tables ready for inspection by authorities and included information about the origin of each stack.
Nadezhdin’s candidacy begs the question of how far the Kremlin would allow him to go at a time when criticizing the conflict is politically risky and frequently results in jail time.
In his 24 years in power, Putin has not permitted genuine electoral opposition, and opponents like opposition leader Alexei Navalny are in prison.
Yuliya, the wife of Navalny, signed her name in favor of Nadezhdin in a symbolic photo shared by the ally of the imprisoned critic.
- Boris Nadezhdin, a local councilor, has filed paperwork to challenge President Vladimir Putin for the March presidential election in Russia.
- Nadezhdin has gathered over 100,000 signatures from 40 regions, pledging to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
- The Central Election Commission (CEC) will verify the legitimacy of the signatures and reveal Putin’s running mates for the March 15–17 elections.
- Putin has already gathered over 3.5 million signatures and will run as an independent candidate, needing 300,000 signatures in total.
- Nadezhdin, born in Soviet-ruled Uzbekistan, has been devoted to Russian politics for the past thirty years and intends to run as a Civic Initiative party candidate.
- His appeals for the end of the war have attracted a large number of Russians willing to affix their signatures to his candidacy.
- Nadezhdin’s candidacy raises questions about the Kremlin’s willingness to allow him to go, given the political risks and potential jail time for criticizing the conflict.