Putin’s rival says the majority of Russians want to end the war in Ukraine Election news

Presidential candidate Boris Nadezhdin tells Al Jazeera that the decision to prevent him from running in the elections was “political.”

Russian anti-war presidential candidate Boris Nadezhdin He said a “majority” of people in Russia wanted an end to the conflict with Ukraine and promised to appeal the Electoral College decision that barred him from running in the March election against incumbent President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview with Al Jazeera on Friday, Nadezhdin said the CEC ruling was a “political decision” that his lawyers are preparing to challenge in the Supreme Court.

“I don’t know who exactly decided (that) about me, but I know exactly why… because my electoral rating, the number of people who are willing to vote for me is growing by 5 percent every week,” he said.

Nadezhdin criticized Putin, who he said had made a “huge mistake.” Launch the invasionHe pledged to end it through negotiation.

“(The official understanding) is that all of society is supportive of Putin, of the special military operation as we call it, but that is not the case,” he said. “The majority of people in Russia want the conflict in Ukraine to stop.”

Dissenting voices were not tolerated in Russia, and people were routinely criminalized under strict anti-defamation laws that make it illegal to speak negatively about the invasion and the military’s behavior.

Those found guilty of spreading “false information” about the army could face up to 15 years in prison.

Asked if he was concerned about being punished under war control laws, Nadezhdin said: “The problem is not if I am afraid or if I am not afraid – frankly, I am ready for anything.”

He told Al Jazeera: “But I never criticize Putin personally. I criticize his policies only from a legal standpoint. “I always adhere to the Russian Constitution and Russian laws.”

“(For) 30 years, I have been working in Russian politics, and I personally know all the Russian government officials, and they know me, which is probably why I am not in prison.”

Nadezhdin, a 60-year-old city councilor who is running for the small center-right Civic Initiative party, said he had collected more than 100,000 signatures across Russia needed to register as a candidate for the election scheduled for March 15. -17.

But the Central Election Commission said it found that 15% of the signatures were invalid.

The Kremlin said that it does not consider Nadezhdin a serious competitor to Putin, and that the committee’s decision is in line with established procedures.

Putin is almost certain to win re-election to extend his 24-year leadership of Russia, including eight years as prime minister, for at least another six years.

But Nadezhdin is ready to fight.

He said that if the Supreme Court allowed him to run, he would have a “very big consequence and it would be a big problem for our government.”

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