The presidential candidacy of declared war opponent Boris Nadezhdin in Russia has met with unexpectedly great interest. “We are currently collecting about 15,000 signatures a day,” Nadezhdin said in an interview broadcast on the YouTube channel Khodorkovsky Live.

Photos and videos on social networks showed long queues of citizens in various cities who wanted to help the opposition politician run for office with their signature. It is still uncertain whether he will actually be officially registered by the Russian Election Commission as a candidate for the election on March 17th.

According to Nadezhdin’s campaign website, his supporters had already collected more than 100,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning. The Central Election Commission is demanding 105,000 to be collected in various regions by January 25th. No more than 2,500 supporter signatures are counted from one region.

Politician’s election worker taken away by police

According to reports, Nadezhdin has already found significantly more supporters in the metropolises of Moscow and St. Petersburg. But more and more videos of long queues are now being published from other regions. People in Yekaterinburg, Krasnodar and Petrozavodsk filmed themselves queuing to support the liberal’s candidacy. Many Russians who fled abroad also signed Nadezhdin’s electoral list.

However, there are also reports of disruptions in the collection of signatures. In Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Obninsk, the politician’s election workers were briefly taken away by the police.

Elections in Russia are accompanied by allegations of fraud and manipulation. In the past, opposition politicians have repeatedly been refused a candidacy on the grounds that the citizen signatures they collected were allegedly incorrect. In December, for example, the critic Yekaterina Duntsova was thrown out of the race before she was officially registered. Observers have no doubt that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin, who has been waging war against Ukraine for almost two years, will secure his fifth term in office in the spring.