Vladimir Putin Officially Registered As Candidate In Russia’s Upcoming Presidential Election
Current Russian president Vladimir Putin has been officially registered as a candidate in the country’s upcoming presidential election. The vote, which is set to take place on March 17th, is expected to be easily won by Putin, especially with most of his main opponents in jail or outside the country due to security concerns.
The Central Election Commission (TsIK) of Russia registered Putin as an independent candidate on January 29th after he collected at least 300,000 signatures from across the country, meeting the threshold needed for a candidate to be nominated without the backing of any political party.
Putin, who has been in power as president or prime minister since 1999, has taken advantage of 2020 constitutional reforms that allow him to seek two more six-year terms, potentially allowing him to stay in office until 2036. At 71 years old, Putin is already the longest-serving Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
However, Russian elections are tightly controlled by the Kremlin and are not considered free or fair. They are often marred by the exclusion of opposition candidates, voter intimidation, ballot stuffing, and other forms of manipulation. In November, Putin signed into law a bill that restricts coverage of the presidential election and gives the TsIK the right to change the election procedure in territories where martial law has been introduced.
Despite these challenges, some opposition candidates have emerged, including Boris Nadezhdin, who has collected the required 100,000 signatures for his nomination as a candidate for Russian president. Nadezhdin has been endorsed by past opposition candidates who are now in jail or in exile.
Among other approved candidates for the election are Liberal Democratic Party leader Leonid Slutsky, State Duma Deputy speaker Vladislav Davankov, and State Duma lawmaker Nikolai Kharitonov. However, no serious challenger has emerged amid the ongoing crackdown on dissent and opposition.
Much of Russia’s organized political opposition has been driven abroad, and the country has been trending toward authoritarianism. Leading opposition figures such as Aleksei Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza, and Ilya Yashin have been handed long prison terms.
Despite the challenges, Nadezhdin has emerged as a prospective challenger by attracting support from thousands of Russians across the country. He has called for an end to the war against Ukraine, dialogue with the West, and an end to the country’s repression of LGBTQ+ activism.
However, a petition not to register Putin as a candidate, signed by former and current lawmakers across Russia, was rejected. The petition highlighted violations during the process of collecting signatures, including the involvement of election officials in collecting signatures, which is not allowed by the law.
The upcoming presidential election will be the first held since Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The war has resulted in tens of thousands of Russian soldiers dying, Western sanctions impacting the Russian economy, and deteriorating relations with the United States and the European Union.