The would-be presidential candidate Boris Nadezhdin submitted the voter signatures required to move forward with his candidacy in March’s election to the Central Election Commission (CEC) on Wednesday.
Nadezhdin, who has been nominated by the centre-right party Civic Initiative, thanked voters for the trust they had placed in him, for queuing up to endorse his candidacy, and for donating some 80 million rubles (€823,000) to his campaign fund.
“There are 105,000 signatures from Russian citizens here. I emphasise that these are the signatures we collected within Russia,” Nadezhdin said, explaining that the campaign had decided not to submit signatures collected from Russian citizens abroad.
Boris Nadezhdin speaking with the journalists at the Central Election Commission (CEC). Photo: Nadezhdin / Telegram
Under Russian law, any would-be presidential candidate nominated by a registered political party that is not represented in the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, requires 100,000 signatures of support to launch a nomination bid.
All submitted signatures must be verified by the CEC by 10 February.
There has been a recent groundswell of popular support for Nadezhdin, a little-known liberal who last held office at the national level over 20 years ago, despite his supporters openly accepting that he has little chance of making it onto the ballot, let alone winning the presidency itself.
While suspicions remain that Nadezhdin may be a spoiler candidate put up by the Kremlin to legitimise the March election, his campaign has nevertheless become the sole possible form of legal protest against Putin’s continued rule.