Russia expert Hans van Koningsbrugge: ‘New presidential candidate arouses distrust’

Russia expert Hans van Koningsbrugge: ‘New presidential candidate arouses distrust’
Russia expert Hans van Koningsbrugge: ‘New presidential candidate arouses distrust’
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Hans van Koningsbrugge, professor of Russian History and Politics at the University of Groningen, gives his commentary on the war in Ukraine every Saturday. Today episode 125.

“Candidate Boris Nadezhin (60) has collected enough signatures to participate in the Russian presidential elections in mid-March. His surname literally means ‘hope’ in Russian. He must be filled with that in order to be allowed to take on the fight against Putin. The chance that he will be admitted to the elections is far from certain.

Since everything is tightly controlled in Russia, his participation is surprising. A previous opponent of Putin, former TV journalist Ekaterina Doentsova, who wanted to end the war, was excluded from the elections at the end of December. According to the Central Electoral Commission, she would have collected too few signatures for her candidacy.

‘The fact that he speaks out against the war shows courage’

Nadezhin can no longer make that accusation. Until now he was a relatively unknown person in Russia. He has a background as an engineer and has been in politics for 20 years, during which he manifests himself as somewhat liberal and pro-Western. The fact that he openly speaks out against the war shows courage. The same can be said of his supporters who formed long lines in Russian cities to sign their names for him.

There are more candidates, but they belong to the tolerated opposition. They are directed by the Kremlin and eat from Putin’s hand. Nadezhin is said to be independent, but it is difficult to determine that. My distrust is fueled by the fact that he does not indicate how peace should be achieved. He also constantly talks about the ‘special military operation’ instead of the war.

‘It is 100 percent certain that Putin will be re-elected’

It has happened before that the Kremlin puts forward an opposition figure to make the people believe that they live in a democracy. If it is certain in advance that Putin will emerge as the winner, this will also lead to a lower turnout.

Either way, it is 100 percent certain that Putin will be re-elected. There is no doubt about that. It could also be that Nadezhin’s candidacy is an even more malicious move by the Kremlin. Those 105,000 people who have left their signature and address indicating that they are against the war can now easily be monitored by the authorities.”

The article is in Dutch

Netherlands

Tags: Russia expert Hans van Koningsbrugge presidential candidate arouses distrust

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