Moscow – Russian politician Boris Nadezhdin, who recently gained unexpected popularity among the public as an opponent of Russia’s war against Ukraine, today submitted signatures in support of his presidential candidacy to the Central Election Commission. Russian media reported it. The commission has ten days to check the signatures and decide whether to register Nadezhdin as a candidate for the presidential elections.
Voting will last three days for the first time, from March 15 to 17. The victory of the favorite, the current president Vladimir Putin, is widely expected, which should ensure his stay in the Kremlin until 2030, if, of course, the now 71-year-old politician completes his six-year mandate.
Today is the last day when candidates for the Russian presidency in the March elections can submit signatures of fellow citizens to the Central Election Commission in support of their candidacy. Nadezhdin, as a representative of a non-parliamentary party, had to present to the commission at least 100,000 and at most 105,000 signatures, with a maximum of 2,500 signatures from each of the Russian regions.
According to the Interfax agency, Nadezhdin said that he handed over 105,000 signatures collected in Russia. He also stated that he was supported by tens of thousands of Russians living abroad, but that he decided not to hand over their signatures. The candidate’s website states that the total number of signatures has exceeded 200,000.
“I have to prepare to run the country. No, I have not gone crazy,” said Nadezhdin in an interview published by the Meduza server. He noted that it would be a “miracle” and it would be “against all logic” if an anti-war candidate appeared on the ballot at all. “The regime does not know what to do with a candidate who unexpectedly became popular,” the Russian Internet search engine wrote in its own comment.
Nadezhdin himself told CNN that he did not know why he had not been arrested yet. He attributes this to the fact that he got to know Putin back in the days when both were “ordinary Russian officials”, and thus he could afford to call the Russian campaign against Ukraine a “fatal mistake”, for which other Russians face up to 15 years behind bars conviction for spreading “false” information.
The Kremlin stated that it does not consider Nadezhdin a rival of the current head of state. But Nadezhdin believes that millions of Russians are well aware that they must change the path that Russia is taking under Putin’s leadership, because it only leads to militarization and isolation. And CNN has promised that if he is elected, he will free all political prisoners, including the most famous of the opposition leaders, Alexei Navalny, who is now in a penal colony beyond the Arctic Circle.
So far, the commission has registered four candidates out of 11 known candidates – Putin and three representatives of parliamentary parties: the chairman of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Leonid Slutsky, Vladislav Davankov from the New People party and Nikolai Kharitonov for the Communists.
Three days ago, Sergej Malinkovich submitted his signatures to the commission as a candidate of the non-parliamentary party Communists of Russia. On Tuesday, the head of the radical nationalist party Russian All-People’s Union, Sergei Baburin, also submitted signatures, but he immediately announced that he was withdrawing his candidacy and supported Putin. Irina Sviridova, who ran for the Democratic Party of Russia, also withdrew from the race. She said she did not collect the required number of signatures.
Today, in addition to Nadezhdin, the head of the Russian Freedom and Justice Party, Andrey Bogdanov, also submitted signatures, but he also withdrew from the race for the Kremlin. He explained this by saying that he did not have time to cancel a bank account abroad, as required by Russian law for candidates. According to him, he could not close the account because he did not receive a visa to enter the Schengen area.
Blogger Rada Russkichová and Anatolij Batashev, who presents himself as an environmentalist, are expected to hand over the signatures of their followers today.
Russkichová confided in an interview that she only intends to gather first experience in these elections. “If I were to become president now, it would be the worst possible turn of events,” she said, adding that she plans to run again and win in six to 12 years. “I soberly understand that now it is too early to become a president, I have to learn. But later I will be the best leader because I have extensive and good experience and I look at everything globally, within the planet, and as a visionary I look for many years to future. I don’t see any obstacles why I can’t become president in the future,” the Kommersant newspaper quoted the candidate as saying.
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