Russia’s presidential election disallows candidate with anti-war stance.

A disqualified candidate who aimed to end the conflict in Ukraine has been prevented from running against Vladimir Putin in Russia’s presidential election due to alleged flaws in her application.
A former TV journalist’s bid to register as a candidate was rejected unanimously by members of the central electoral commission in Moscow. The candidate, Yekaterina Duntsova, wanted to run on a platform to bring an end to the war in Ukraine and ensure the release of political prisoners.
Critics of Putin see Duntsova’s disqualification as evidence that individuals with genuine opposition views will not be permitted to stand against him in the upcoming election. They view the electoral process as a sham with a predetermined outcome.
The Kremlin asserts that Putin will win because he enjoys substantial support from society, as evidenced by opinion poll ratings of approximately 80%.
After her rejection, Ella Pamfilova, head of the electoral commission, offered words of consolation to Duntsova, reminding her that she is young and has her whole life ahead of her. Pamfilova also emphasized that any negative experience can be turned into a positive one.
Screenshots posted by a Telegram channel representing Duntsova displayed documents deemed to be lacking proper signatures by the commission.
Duntsova, aged 40, explained to reporters that her team had hastily assembled the application and encountered difficulties finding a lawyer to certify the bid, as numerous others declined to assist.
She mentioned approaching veteran liberal politician Grigory Yavlinsky to explore the option of submitting a new application as a representative of his Yabloko party. However, Yavlinsky stated in a YouTube interview that Yabloko would not endorse her candidacy because they do not know her.
Duntsova had submitted her papers to the electoral commission less than 72 hours prior to her disqualification. Pro-Kremlin state media largely ignored her candidacy and also refrained from reporting on her disqualification.
When Duntsova announced her intention to run, commentators described her as crazy, brave, or part of a Kremlin-scripted plan to create a façade of competition.
In an interview with Reuters in November, she stated, “Any sane person taking this step would be afraid – but fear must not win.”
Abbas Gallyamov, a former Kremlin speechwriter now labeled as a “foreign agent” by the authorities, claimed that Putin did not want to risk a scenario similar to Alexander Lukashenko’s. Gallyamov noted that Lukashenko clung to power in 2020 through substantial ballot rigging to claim victory over opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
Gallyamov wrote on Telegram, “The Tsikhanouskaya effect is absolutely possible, and in the Kremlin they understand that.”
With Putin fully controlling the mechanisms of power, both supporters and opponents believe that he will effortlessly secure a new six-year term. If completed, it would make him Russia’s longest-serving ruler since the 18th century, surpassing all previous Soviet leaders, including Josef Stalin.
Alexei Navalny, Putin’s most prominent opponent, is currently serving prison sentences totaling more than 30 years. Navalny’s supporters remain unaware of his whereabouts after being informed that he had been transferred from his penal colony earlier this month. Lawyers had their last access to him on December 6.
The Russian Communist Party, whose candidates have consistently finished far behind Putin in elections since 2000, met on Saturday to nominate Nikolai Kharitonov, a 75-year-old who previously ran in 2004 and secured 14% of the vote compared to Putin’s 71%.
Another opposition party in parliament, the A Just Russia – For Truth party, announced that it would support Putin’s candidacy, as reported by state news agency RIA.

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