Russia bars former journalist who pushed for end to Ukraine war from challenging Putin

Russia bars former journalist who pushed for end to Ukraine war from challenging Putin

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Yekaterina Duntsova, a former journalist and anti-war advocate, has been barred from running against Russian President Vladimir Putin in the March election, after the Russian Central Election Commission rejected her nomination documents.

Duntsova, who has pushed for the end of the Russia-Ukraine war, filed an application on Dec. 20 to be an independent candidate, marketing herself as pro-peace and pro-democracy. She secured the endorsement of more than 500 supporters, as is required for candidates, The Moscow Times reported.

The commission said it rejected her documents, saying it found over 100 typos and other errors including quality of signatures and incorrect passport information, according to the Times.

If her application had been accepted, Duntsova would have had to collect 300,000 unique voter signatures from at least 40 of Russia’s regions to be able to appear on the ballot.

“We have carefully studied the documents, and we have the impression that they were filled out in haste without complying with legal standards,” the BBC’s Russian service reported, quoting a commission member.

After the meeting, Duntsova tried to stay optimistic, claiming there would be another chance.

“I want us all to believe that we will be able to take another chance,” she said. “Don’t lose faith, don’t lose hope.”

Putin, who has served four terms in office and orchestrated constitutional reforms to allow for him to stay in office longer, confirmed that he will seek another term in the race he is likely going to win.

The election is set on March 17. If Putin were to win again, he would stay in power for another six years and have eligibility for one more term after that.

He has remained a popular leader and commands wide support despite starting a costly war in Ukraine nearly two years ago.  

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