Exclusion d’un candidat anti-guerre de la course contre Poutine: une atteinte à la démocratie russe

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Opposition to Military Action: Exclusion of Boris Nadezhdin from Russian Presidential Election

The Central Election Committee (CEC) of Russia made a decision last Thursday that further eliminates those who oppose Vladimir Putin from the upcoming presidential election. Boris Nadezhdin, an anti-war candidate, has been excluded from the race, leaving Putin as the sole uncontested candidate.

The CEC, responsible for registering and verifying candidates, stated that Nadezhdin failed to meet the required standard of gathering 100,000 signatures. He managed to collect 95,587 valid signatures, which fell just short of the threshold.

However, Nadezhdin has refused to accept the committee’s decision and has vowed to take the matter to the Supreme Court. He claims that the signatures on his petition are indisputable, and questions the rules set by the committee.

“I will challenge the process and the rules themselves,” Nadezhdin asserted confidently. He firmly believes that there is no room for dispute regarding the authenticity of the signatures.

Nevertheless, this decision effectively sidelines Nadezhdin and aligns him with other anti-war activists in Ukraine. This exclusion restricts his participation in Russian politics just as the country prepares for a presidential election that is widely seen as a mere formality.

Nadezhdin, a vocal critic of Putin’s policies and a staunch opponent of war, had planned to run as an independent candidate for the Civic Initiative party. He is the only candidate openly opposing the invasion of Ukraine.

But his aspirations were dashed when the CEC claimed that more than 15% of the required paperwork contained invalid signatures, surpassing the 5% threshold for registration. Even his attempt to reschedule the meeting on his candidacy was unsuccessful, leaving him with limited time to formulate a response.

Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, justified the decision, stating that the committee had found a significant number of invalid signatures, which failed to satisfy the necessary requirements. This move further raises concerns about the persecution and exclusion of political opponents in Russia, a trend that has intensified since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Nadezhdin has expressed his concerns regarding the persecution of Putin’s opponents and even mentioned his family’s fear for his safety in an interview with CNN. He emphasized that the decision to run involved extensive discussions with his family, as they wished for a calm and free Russia to secure the future of their children and grandchildren.

The Kremlin has consistently downplayed the significance of Nadezhdin’s candidacy, with Peskov dismissing him as a non-rival. Nevertheless, his efforts gained attention as he submitted the maximum number of signatures permitted by law—105,000—to the CEC.

Last week, Nadezhdin made a public statement on the Russian independent news station RTVI, asserting that if elected, he would demand a government pension and protection for himself. He also vowed not to subject Putin to a war crimes trial.

Despite multiple contenders appearing on the official ballot, including Putin, Vladislav Davankov, Nikolai Kharitonov, and Leonid Slutsky, Putin remains widely expected to secure reelection and extend his tenure until 2030. This would make him the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin.

During his 24 years in power, Putin has faced criticism for suppressing political opponents and restricting press freedom. The tightly controlled democratic system has turned Russian presidential elections into plebiscites demonstrating public support for Putin, leaving little room for genuine political competition.

In a previous instance, another independent candidate vocally opposing the conflict in Ukraine ran in December. However, the outcome did not pose a significant challenge to Putin’s continued dominance in Russian politics.