Russian Authorities Bar the Only Anti-War Candidate From Running Against Putin

( – Serious threats to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power seem to always just disappear, both figuratively and literally. The president is known for his underhanded tactics to keep challengers away. Now, it has seemingly happened again.

On February 8, the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) announced candidate Boris Nadezhdin was disqualified from running for president next month. The state election agency claimed more than 9% of the 100,000 signatures he collected to support his run were invalid. The news was great for Putin because the anti-war candidate was the only person who really threatened to take away his power.

The CEC only allows handpicked candidates to go up against Putin. According to experts, it allows the longtime leader to maintain a false veneer of legitimacy without ever truly risking his grip on the nation. The last time a serious candidate faced off against Putin, he was arrested and charged with a crime that disqualified him from running. That candidate, Alexei Navalny, is currently in prison.

Nadezhdin’s message of peace appealed to a nation exhausted by a nearly two-year war with Ukraine. The candidate promised that he was going to enter peace talks with the neighboring country and try to work with the West. Thousands of people lined the streets to add their signatures to the petition for Nadezhdin’s candidacy. Those Russians have now effectively been silenced by the Kremlin.

The Washington Post reported the disqualified candidate took to Telegram to speak to his supporters. He urged them to not give up and said they now know there is a “possibility of change in Russia.”

Nadezhdin’s team claims the software the commission used to check the signatures disqualified them in error. They claimed the software misread the handwritten addresses of some people who added their signatures. The opposition leader vowed to not give up.

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