Three nominees have currently been registered by Russia’s election commission to run against the incumbent Russian President, Vladimir Putin in 2024’s presidential election that he is all but certain to win.

Seven more candidates are now trying to collect the requisite number of signatures to qualify them to join the race.

The election is set to take place on March 15-17, with a potential second round on April 7 if no candidate receives more than half the votes. The winner will then be inaugurated on May 7.

Independent candidates had to submit documents to the commission by Dec. 27, whereas candidates from approved parties had to do so by Jan. 1. Once approved, they would need to collect enough signatures before Jan. 31 to participate in the election.

As Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine inches toward the two-year mark, it’s expected that the war, alongside its economic effects on Russia, will be a core theme for Russians in the upcoming election.

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Elections remain a necessary step for Putin to maintain the facade of democracy so as not to trigger public outcry when there is really none.

It should come as no surprise that none of the approved nominees are running on an anti-war platform.

Leonid Slutsky, of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, and Vladislav Davankov, of New People, were approved by the Russian National Elections Commission to run against Putin on Jan. 5.

Slutsky is the head of the lower house of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, where he and his party have been largely supportive of Putin’s anti-West foreign policy. His party’s candidate received less than 6 percent of the votes in 2018’s election.

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Davankov, a deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament (the State Duma), whose party holds 15 out of 450 seats in the State Duma, is also largely supportive of Putin’s policies.

Nikolai Kharitonov, the 75-year-old nominee of the Communist Party, received approval to compete against Putin on Jan. 9. As a member of the State Duma, he and his party have opposed some of Putin’s domestic policies but not the war.

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Kharitonov was also his party’s candidate in the 2004 election, where he received 13.8 percent of the votes.

Putin himself is running as an independent candidate this year, and Russian media reported on Jan. 9 that he has already received over 1.3 million signatures supporting his nomination.

Alexei Navalny, the only reaaly notable Russian opposition leader, will not be participating in the election as he’s imprisoned by authorities on extremism charges, a move many in the West have described as politically motivated.

Boris Nadezhdin, a Russian opposition politician and former State Duma member, is collecting signatures after his submission was accepted. He is the only candidate running on an anti-war platform that passed the submission stage. He has said that Putin’s war was a “big mistake.”.

Former regional legislator and journalist Yekaterina Duntsova, who also runs on an anti-war platform, was rejected by the election commission in December where they cited paperwork errors, including spelling, as the reason for the rejection. 

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The remaining candidates currently collecting signatures include Sergey Baburin of the Russian All-People's Union party, Andrei Bogdanov of the Russian Party of Freedom and Justice who came last in the 2008 election, Sergey Malinkovich from another communist party in Russia, Irina Sviridova of the Democratic Party, and independent candidate Anatoly Batashev.

Russian beauty blogger Rada Russkikh was also accepted by the commission, where she is now required to collect 300,000 signatures. In an interview, she said she “[adheres] to a liberal position,” but many have speculated her participation as being just a publicity stunt.

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