Russian Election Commission bars Nadezhdin, alleging signature irregularities

Putin’s opponent Boris Nadezhdin was disqualified from the March election by the Central Election Commission due to signature irregularities. With a commitment to appeal, Nadezhdin questions the decision’s transparency and raises questions about the competitiveness of Russia’s political environment.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has decided that Boris Nadezhdin, the rival of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is not permitted to participate in the upcoming March election. Undeterred by the decision, Nadezhdin has promised to file an appeal with the nation’s highest court, contesting the reasons behind the denial of his candidature.

The CEC pointed to errors in the signatures that Nadezhdin and his supporters gathered to back his candidature. According to the commission, there were discrepancies in some of the signatures, and astonishingly, some of them were purportedly signed by people who had passed away. However, Nadezhdin angrily refutes these accusations, insisting that the procedure of gathering signatures was carried out honestly and transparently.

Nadezhdin stated that he disagreed with the CEC’s decision and that he was determined to pursue his presidential campaign in a statement that was uploaded on Telegram.

The 60-year-old lawmaker shocked observers by calling the Kremlin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine a “fatal mistake” and promising to pursue talks to put an end to the hostilities. Nadezhdin’s vocal position on the Ukrainian situation had drawn notice, even in the face of the consensus that Putin would win.

Nadezhdin’s role as a credible rival of Putin, however, was minimised by the Kremlin. Putin is well-versed in the means of state control, having held the position of President or Prime Minister since 1999. The disqualification of Nadezhdin from the contest calls into question both the accessibility of the voting process and the degree of political competition in Russia.