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Putin officially registers as candidate in presidential election

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 29, 2024 12:28 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 4th Congress of Russian Railway Workers, on Dec. 15, 2023 in Moscow, Russia. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC) officially registered President Vladimir Putin on Jan. 29 as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election in March.

The news was announced after Putin surpassed the threshold of required signatures to be registered as a candidate. Putin is widely expected to win the election and secure a fifth term in office.

There are three other candidates who have been officially approved to be on the ballot. Anti-war politician Boris Nadezhdin has also collected enough signatures, but has not received the go-ahead from the CEC to be on the ballot.

Nadezhdin, who has called the full-scale war a mistake, said he would continue to collect signatures to have an extra margin in case some were challenged by authorities.

As of Jan. 29, Nadezhdin's website said the campaign has received more than 200,000 signatures in support of his candidacy. The deadline for submitting signatures is on Jan. 31.

Despite Nadezhdin's anti-war positions, he also said in an interview with RFE/RL's Current Time project published on Jan. 12 that he supports the Russian constitution and considers himself a "Russian patriot."

Nadezhdin claimed that the citizens of Crimea wanted to join Russia. When asked if he would return the Ukrainian territories illegally occupied by Russia, he declined to answer directly.

Russia held a rigged vote in 2020 to approve constitutional amendments allowing Putin to run for two more presidential terms after his current one expires in 2024. The vote effectively made Putin, who has been in power since 1999, a dictator for life.

Freedom House, a nonprofit advocating international democracy, gave Russia a 0/4 score in its 2023 report card on political freedoms in the country.

"Russia has never experienced a democratic transfer of power between rival groups," described Freedom House.

Any meaningful opposition is prevented from having a fair chance at winning elections, creating "an authoritarian political system (that) is concentrated in the hands of President Vladimir Putin," the human rights group said.

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