LATEST: Kremlin Blocks ‘Peace’ Candidate From Presidential Elections

A Russian woman who says she is committed to peace on Wednesday declared her candidacy for the presidency, to which Vladimir Putin is expected to be comfortably re-elected next March.

The electoral commission confirmed that Ekaterina Duntsova had filed the required documents.

Now, she and other candidates have to gather thousands of signatures from supporters to secure a place on the ballot.

Duntsova, 40, said she had one chance in two in the race, hours after the electoral commission said it had registered 16 contenders.

But to most observers, the re-election of Putin seems a foregone conclusion.

He confirmed this month during a meeting with military veterans that he would join the election scheduled to be held over three days beginning March 15.


Duntsova, a former journalist and city councillor, will run as an independent "for peace and democratic processes".

After she announced her candidacy, prosecutors summoned her but the Central Elections Commission (CEC) confirmed her papers were in order.

Asked about her security fears on Wednesday, she said she had "worries" but that what she was doing was "legal".

Earlier Wednesday, the CEC had said 16 people had filed to run for the presidency, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The CEC said it would also hold the ballot in four Ukrainian regions partially occupied by Russian forces and in the Crimean peninsula, annexed from Kyiv in 2014.

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The decision was made by Russian-installed local deputies, supposedly following an appeal from dissatisfied Luhansk residents.

The Kremlin-friendly Liberal Democratic Party of Russia this week nominated a former negotiator for the Ukraine conflict, Leonid Slutsky, as candidate.

He said his candidacy would not "take away votes" from Putin.

Candidates must file applications to run in the March vote by December 27, election rules state.

Igor Girkin, a hardline nationalist turned Kremlin critic who is in detention awaiting trial on extremism charges, said he wanted to challenge Putin.


But jailed opposition figure Alexei Navalny was barred from running in elections in 2018 due to an old fraud charge that his allies said was politically motivated.

On Monday, UN rights expert Mariana Katzarova joined the chorus of voices expressing concern at Navalny's "enforced disappearance", as the mystery continues over his whereabouts inside the prison system.

Moscow has for years sidelined opposition figures from elections and political life, a clampdown that accelerated after the Kremlin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine in 2022.

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