The Anti-War Candidate for the President of Russia Could 'Drop' Out of the Race

Elections in Russia will be held in a little more than a month, and it seems that the main opponent of Putin, Boris Nadezhdin, will drop out of the race

by Sededin Dedovic
The Anti-War Candidate for the President of Russia Could 'Drop' Out of the Race
© Reuters / Youtube channel

The presidential race for Boris Nadezhdin is facing an early setback, according to Politico. The working group of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) recommended that Nadezhdin not be registered as a candidate, they state that there is a significant percentage of irregularities in the signatures supporting his candidacy.

The group identified 15.4 percent of defects in Nadezhdin's signatures, exceeding the allowed error rate of five percent. The CEC should announce its final decision on Wednesday. The potential disqualification follows a pattern in which opposition figures challenging Russian President Vladimir Putin have run into hurdles over alleged forgeries of signatures or discrepancies with out-of-date government data.

Nadezhdin promised to challenge the decision of the CEC working group, stating on his Telegram channel: "We have to challenge about 4,500 signatures out of 9,209 declared invalid. If the Central Election Commission rejects my registration, I will appeal to the Supreme Court." The deputy head of the CEC, Nikolai Bulayev, revealed on Friday that the signatures supporting one of the election candidates included "dead souls".

Bulayev raised ethical concerns, saying: "When we see dozens of people who are no longer alive leaving signatures, it raises questions about the purity of ethical norms." In response, Nadezhdin wrote on Telegram: "If someone sees dead souls in my signatures - well, my friends, these are not questions for me.

This is more a question for the church, for the exorcist." Thousands of Russians lined up in front of Nadezhdin's campaign offices across the country to sign their support. The signatures supporting the anti-war candidate were a visible manifestation of public discontent in Russia since Putin launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Russian election law requires potential candidates from parties without parliamentary representation to collect 100,000 signatures of support. Nadeždin collected about 200,000 signatures, and submitted 105,000 to the CEC, which is the maximum allowed by law.

Nadezhdin faced criticism from state media and pro-government Telegram channels, with reports highlighting "deficiencies" in the signatures on the day he submitted his documents to the CEC. Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov claimed that political exiles such as Maxim Katz and Mikhail Khodorkovsky supported Nadezhdin, even calling for an investigation into the candidate for "treason".

In his election platform, Nadezhdin pledged that on the first day of his presidency he would start negotiations with Ukraine and at the same time release all political prisoners, including Alexei Navalny and Ilya Yashin. Russian elections are scheduled for 15-17. March.