Boris Nadezhdin: Russia's next (but not necessarily best) shot at ousting Vladimir Putin

A little-known lawmaker with an anti-war, pro-civil rights agenda is making waves in Russia's upcoming national election

Russian presidential candidate Boris Nadezhdin
Russian presidential candidate Boris Nadezhdin
(Image credit: Photo by Artem Priakhin / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images))

Boris Nadezhdin is hardly a household name outside of his native Russia, but to hear the former lawmaker tell it, his dark horse bid to unseat longtime President Vladimir Putin in next month's elections has a secret weapon in his corner: Divinity. "You can call it God or fate, but there's a tangible force driving my campaign," Nadezhdin told Politico this week, citing a "number of miracles" and "astonishing things" that have bolstered his quixotic effort to deny Putin another six-year term in office when Russians go to the polls in March. 

Whether theologically ordained or not, Nadezhdin is undeniably correct that his campaign has succeeded in shaking up an electoral cycle largely seen as a pro-forma precursor to another Putin presidency. On Wednesday, the onetime member of Russia's Duma and critic of Moscow's ongoing war against Ukraine submitted more than 180,000 signatures of support to the country's Central Election Commission — well above the 100,000 threshold required to qualify as a candidate for president. Calling the signatures his "pride" and the product of "many days work" from those who stood "in the cold," Nadezhdin predicted on X that it would be hard for the commission and the Putin regime to say "I didn't even notice the elephant" that is his campaign.

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