Until this Thursday, the pacifist Boris Nadezhdin was the only opposing rival Vladimir Putin to compete in the presidential elections in March this year in Russia, but a decision by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) has left him out of the race.
“The Central Election Commission refused to register my candidacy for the position of president of the Russian Federation,” he announced Nadezhdin60, in a message published on the social network Telegram.
“Participating in the 2024 presidential elections is the most important political decision of my life. I will not give up my intentions. “I will appeal the decision of the central electoral commission to the Supreme Court,” he added. Nadezhdin.
The politician called on his followers not to give up.
But the CEC He warned him that he has never lost a case before Russia’s highest court in the four occasions in which candidates appealed a decision by the electoral authority.
But why Nadezhdin He was removed from the race and what real chances did he have of fighting Putin?
The reasons for the veto
Boris Nadezhdin needed to collect 100,000 valid signatures to register his candidacy. That is a requirement that applies to candidates from political parties that are not represented in the Russian Parliament.
The Central Election Commission indicated that it found irregularities in more than 9,000 of the 105,000 signatures supporting his candidacy presented by the campaign Nadezhdin.
This figure exceeds the allowed margin of error of 5%, making it impossible to endorse your registration.
Furthermore, the CEC assures, some of the signature collectors were not authorized to do so by a notary or were identified incorrectly, the EFE agency indicated.
The AP agency recalled that thousands of Russians lined up across the country in January to sign documents supporting the candidacy of Nadezhdinin an unusual show of sympathies for the opposition in a country tightly controlled politically by Putin.
According to the AFP agency, the team Nadezhdin He explained that the alleged “irregularities” found by the commission included minor errors introduced when transcribing the handwritten signatures of those who supported the candidate into the computer.
Who is Boris Nadezhdin?
In accordance with BBC World, Nadezhdin He has been a local councilor for more than 30 years. In November of last year he announced that he would present his presidential candidacy for the party Civic Initiativecenter-right, which was founded by former liberal Economic Development Minister Andrey Nechayev.
From prison, the main Russian opponent, Alexei Navalny, expressed his support for Nadezhdin.
Nadezhdin He has been a deputy of the Russian State Duma and several times tried to run as a candidate for governor of the Moscow region, but was unsuccessful. Since September 2019 he has been a deputy in the city district of Dolgoprudny.
Openly opposed to Putin, Nadezhdin criticized the war in Ukraine launched in February 2022, something that is not tolerated in Russia.
In an interview with AFP last January, he described the conflict in Ukraine as “catastrophic” and stated that he wanted to “free political prisoners” in Russia.
Furthermore, one of his electoral promises was to start peace talks with Ukraine if he won the Presidency.
The opponent assured this Thursday that “tens of millions of people” were going to vote for his candidacy in the elections from March 15 to 17. “I am in second place, behind Putin,” he said.
With this decision of the electoral authority, the path to a fifth term for Putin is even easier.
Other opponents out of the race
Nadezhdin is not the first opposition candidate to have his registration rejected for this year’s elections.
The same thing happened in December with Yekaterina Duntsovaan independent policy that challenged Putin and that she ended up disqualified when she submitted her application for registration. The Electoral Commission He said he found 100 “errors” on his form.
After seeing his attempt to run for the Presidency frustrated, Duntsova announced his support for Nadezhdin and joined their ranks.
Another opponent who could have challenged Putin is Alexei Navalny, but he is in jail serving a 19-year prison sentence. In 2018, registration for the presidential elections of that year was rejected.
While Boris Nemtsova renowned presidential opponent for whom Nadezhdin worked as an advisor, was assassinated in February 2015.
As to Putin, 71, ran as an independent and his campaign gathered 315,000 signatures in his support. His candidacy was registered quickly, as election officials disqualified only 91 signatures.
In 2020 Putin reformed the Constitution
to be able to run for re-election this 2024, something that he will be able to do again in six years and, in this way, remain in the Kremlin until 2036.
Who is left in the competition?
The head of the Central Election CommissionElla Pamfilova, announced on Thursday that there will be four candidates in the March elections, including Putinwhich represents the smallest number of candidates since 2008, when Dmitry Medvedev participated in Putin’s place because he was legally prevented from running for re-election.
Medvedev won easily and appointed Putin in the position of prime minister, but in reality he was the power in the shadows.
Now the candidates who will compete with Putin this 2024 are the communist Nikolai Kharitonov; the ultranationalist Leonid Slutski and the representative of Gente Nueva, the businessman Vladislav Davankov. They all support the Kremlin and none of them have a chance of beating the current president.
Kharitonov already competed against Putin in 2004, finishing in a distant second place.
In the 2018 elections, Putin won with 76% of the votes. It is expected that in the March elections, now without opposition competition, he will obtain a higher percentage, since according to official surveys 80% of Russians support his management, notes the EFE agency.