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The only opponent of Putin in the running for the presidential election sees his candidacy rejected

Photo: Natalia Kolesnikova Agence France-Presse Boris Nadezhdine, as he leaves the offices of the Electoral Commission on Thursday in Moscow.

France Media Agency in Moscow

February 9, 2024

  • Europe

Boris Nadezhdine, the only opponent of Vladimir Putin and his offensive in Ukraine to have run in the March presidential elections in Russia, saw his candidacy rejected by the Electoral Commission on Thursday.

This discreet veteran of political life channeled the hopes of Russians opposed to Kremlin policies, in the absence of other, better-known opposition figures who are all in exile or in prison. He has indicated that he wants to challenge the rejection of his candidacy in court, but his chances of success are almost zero.

The Electoral Commission, the body responsible for organizing the polls, loyal to the Kremlin, voted unanimously to refuse to register the candidacy of Mr. Nadezhdine, aged 60, according to a AFP journalist present at the hearing.

She accuses him of irregularities in the collection of 100,000 signatures from voters supporting him, necessary to be able to run for president.

“Participating in the 2024 presidential election is the most important political decision of my life. I am not going back on my intentions. I will appeal the decision of the Electoral Commission to the Supreme Court,” said the opponent moments before the verdict.

And in the event of refusal by the Supreme Court, he promised to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court, the highest legal body in the country.

“We will create a movement, we already have a party! », continued Mr. Nadezhdine, before saying: “Sooner or later, I will become President of the Russian Federation.”

In a context of systematic repression of any challenge to power in Russia, the re-election of outgoing President Vladimir Putin in the elections held on March 15 and 17 is beyond doubt.

It is unlikely that the Supreme Court or the Constitutional Court, two other institutions loyal to the Kremlin, will issue a ruling in favor of Mr. Nadezhdine, even if the opponent said he was “counting on the Russian judicial system to resolve the situation.”

Stop the “nightmare” in Ukraine

Even in the unlikely event of participation in the presidential election, Mr. Nadezhdine has few illusions about his chances of success against Vladimir Putin. He nevertheless told AFP at the end of January that he hoped that the presidential election could mark the “beginning of the end” of the Putin era.

“Tens of millions of people were going to vote for me. I'm in second place behind Putin! », proclaimed Mr. Nadejdine on Thursday before the Commission.

Former liberal MP with a hitherto discreet political career, Boris Nadezhdine promises to stop the “nightmare” of the offensive in Ukraine, to put an end to the “militarization” of Russia and to release “all political prisoners” as Opponent Alexeï Navalny detained in the Arctic.

Little known outside the tiny liberal circle, the person said he started in October because no more famous anti-Putin figure had taken the plunge.

The Kremlin has not hidden its disdain for this opponent. “We do not consider him as a competitor,” Dmitri Peskov, spokesperson for the Russian president, told the press at the end of January.

Mr. Peskov told journalists on Thursday that the Electoral Commission had spotted “a large number of errors in the signatures” of Mr. Nadezhdine. “This is an important criterion that was not respected,” he assured.

“The Commission clearly follows the rules established for the candidates,” he further affirmed.

Vladimir Putin, in power since 2000, is aiming for a new six-year term in the presidential election in March. Faced with candidates who all more or less support his policies, his re-election is in little doubt.

With the help of a constitutional reform adopted in 2020, he can remain in the Kremlin until 2036, the year he turns 84.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116