Excluded from the Race: The Ongoing Battle Against Opposition


The Russian political landscape continues to be purged of anyone who opposes President Vladimir Putin, with the exclusion of anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin from the upcoming presidential election being the latest step in this trend. The Central Election Committee (CEC), responsible for vetting and registering candidates, made this decision after a meeting on Thursday.

Nadezhdin had managed to gather 95,587 valid signatures, just shy of the required 100,000. According to the CEC, over 15% of the signatures in his favor were deemed invalid, surpassing the 5% threshold for registration. Nadezhdin plans to appeal the registration denial and contest the committee’s rules by taking the matter to the Supreme Court.

The anti-war activist and critic of Putin’s policies had been planning to run as an independent for the Civic Initiative party. He is the only presidential contender publicly opposed to invading Ukraine, and volunteers have been collecting signatures in support of his candidacy from expats across Europe.

However, despite his efforts, Nadezhdin’s involvement in the presidential race has hit a snag, with the CEC ruling against him. The Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, commented on the decision, emphasizing that a significant number of signatures were found to be invalid.

This move to exclude political opponents from the presidential race falls in line with Putin’s regime, which has been marked by an increasing crackdown on dissent since the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Nadezhdin’s situation raises concerns about the persecution and exclusion of those who oppose Putin within Russia.

Last month, Nadezhdin expressed his worries about the persecution of Putin’s opponents in an interview with CNN. He mentioned how his family was concerned about his safety and highlighted the need for a calm and free Russia.

Despite ongoing attempts by the Kremlin to downplay Nadezhdin’s significance, many have taken notice of his efforts. He submitted the maximum permitted number of signatures, 105,000, to the CEC, and made it clear that he would insist on receiving a government pension and protection.

The upcoming presidential election in Russia features four names on the official ballot: Putin, Vladislav Davankov, Nikolai Kharitonov, and Leonid Slutsky. However, it is widely anticipated that Putin will be reelected and remain in power until 2030, making him the longest-serving Russian leader since Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

These elections in Russia have become mere plebiscites rather than genuine contests, as the democratic system in the country is tightly controlled and lacks room for authentic political rivalry. Previous independent candidates who expressed opposition to the conflict in Ukraine have also faced similar obstacles.

In conclusion, the exclusion of anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin from the upcoming presidential election reflects the ongoing pattern of eradicating political dissent in Russia. This move raises concerns about the persecution of Putin’s opponents and the suppression of genuine political rivalry in the country. As Putin prepares for another term as president, the lack of opposition in the race underscores the tightly controlled nature of Russia’s political landscape.