People across Russia queued in freezing temperatures over the weekend to add their signatures in support of opposition politician Boris Nadezhdin’s candidacy in Russia’s 2024 presidential elections.
The politician, who was nominated by the liberal Civic Initiative party, requires the signatures of 100,000 Russian citizens to qualify as an official nominee and run against Russian President Vladimir Putin in March.
Despite snow and freezing temperatures, people queued for up to three hours to submit their signatures in cities across Russia. Images of long lines in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg were shared by Telegram channel SOTA.
As of Monday, 83,000 signatures had been submitted according to Nadezhdin’s website, but a further 17,000 are required within the next three days to proceed with his candidacy application. The signatures will then need to be verified by the Central Election Commission in Moscow.
Boris Nadezhdin, who served in the State Duma for one term 20 years ago and who describes himself as “Vladimir Putin’s principled opponent”, has been outspoken in his opposition to the war in Ukraine, calling it a “fatal mistake” that is “leading Russia towards catastrophe”. A longtime Putin critic with an established political career, it’s unclear how seriously the Kremlin views the potential threat Nadezhdin poses.
Public figures including politicians Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Lyubov Sobol have voiced their support for Nadezhnin’s candidacy and encouraged others to add their signatures. Khodorkovsky posted on his Telegram channel, telling people to “voice their position against the war”, even if Nadezhdin wasn’t their choice for presidential candidate.
Politician and blogger Maxim Katz published a video on Friday in which he submitted his signature for Nadezhdin, encouraging others to do the same. He noted that despite “Nadezhnin’s candidacy being a shot in the dark” the public turnout to submit signatures showed that “presumptions about civil apathy in Russia are far from the reality”.