Putin critic Nadezhdin delivers required signatures for presidential election

Boris Nadezhdin, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has submitted enough signatures to run in March's presidential election.

Nadezhdin visited the Central Election Commission in Moscow on Wednesday carrying a list of signatures of over 100,000 voters. The day was the deadline for submitting the list.

The former member of the State Duma told reporters that he thanks many people across Russia for giving him their signatures.

All eyes are now on whether authorities will allow him to run in the upcoming vote. Observers say the election commission may claim there are procedural mistakes on the Nadezhdin side.

Meanwhile, Putin and three others have already finished the necessary procedures and been registered as presidential candidates.

The incumbent president spoke at a meeting with his senior campaign staff and other supporters on Wednesday.

Putin thanked them for their support over many years. He said Russia is experiencing a difficult and important period. He praised soldiers joining the country's invasion of Ukraine and stressed that the country will continue what he calls the special military operation there.

It is seen as almost certain that Putin will win the vote for a fifth term as president. But still, attention is being paid to whether Nadezhdin could be Putin's rival in the race.