Pro-Peace Challenger of Putin Commits to Remaining on Election Ballot

Putin’s Pro-Peace Opponent Vows Push to Stay on the Ballot

Pro-peace Russian presidential contender Boris Nadezhdin remains resolute in his quest to secure a place on the upcoming election ballot despite encountering obstacles from Moscow’s Central Election Commission (CEC).

Nadezhdin, a former State Duma member, has been actively campaigning under the banner of the Civic Initiative party, positioning himself as a steadfast critic of President Vladimir Putin and his decision to engage in the Ukraine conflict nearly two years ago.

Last week, Nadezhdin declared his candidacy, having amassed over 100,000 voter signatures, a prerequisite for candidates like him whose political affiliations aren’t officially recognized by the Russian lower house of parliament.

Putin (Credits: CTV News)

However, in a setback disclosed via Nadezhdin’s campaign Telegram post on Monday, the CEC identified deficiencies in more than 15 percent of the signatures accompanying his application. According to Reuters, commission members had reported three days prior that some listed supporters were deceased.

Regulations stipulate that no more than 5 percent of signatures can be deemed invalid for a candidate to qualify for the ballot.

Undeterred, Nadezhdin affirmed his determination, outlining plans to contest the disqualification of approximately 4,500 signatures out of the 9,209 dismissed by the CEC. Should the commission persist in denying his registration, he vowed to escalate the matter to the Supreme Court.

When contacted for comment, the Kremlin’s press office declined to respond to inquiries by Newsweek on Monday evening.

Despite the hurdles, Putin, seeking a fifth term, is widely expected to secure reelection in March, although facing opposition from figures like Nadezhdin critical of Moscow’s Ukrainian intervention. A recent poll by the Russian Field agency indicated that 51.1 percent of voters view Putin as the candidate best aligned with their interests, with Nadezhdin trailing far behind at 2.3 percent.

The CEC is slated to render a final decision on Nadezhdin’s ballot inclusion on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Putin’s reelection bid faces another challenge from former Russian Commander Igor Girkin, conducting his campaign from prison where he is serving a sentence on extremism charges.

Safety concerns briefly surfaced regarding Nadezhdin’s candidacy following a remark by Vladimir Solovyov, a prominent Putin ally, suggesting on a recent broadcast that Nadezhdin might face imprisonment or poisoning for opposing the Kremlin.

However, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, emphasized to Newsweek that such statements do not reflect the official stance and may not necessarily hold validity.

I'm Richard Rosales, I cover political news and ongoing US elections.