It’s signature time for Vladimir Putin, who needs 300,000 endorsements to run as an independent in the March 18, 2018, presidential election. Five collection points opened this Friday in Moscow, where the “Victory Volunteers” movement is organizing the effort to get Putin the signatures he needs.
The movement’s press secretary, Egor Lukyanchikov, told the news agency Interfax that volunteers are simply standing outside with banners and taking signatures from anyone who wants to support the president’s re-election candidacy, without using megaphones or any sound-amplification equipment. Each station is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“Victory Volunteers” is opening signature-collection points in more than a dozen cities across Russia. The movement opened its first stations in Simferopol and Sevastopol (in Crimea).
Vladimir Putin filed his candidacy application with Russia’s Central Election Commission on December 27. The commission approved his application the next day, allowing him to begin campaign fundraising and start collecting the needed 300,000 signatures endorsing his candidacy.
On December 25, election officials refused to register Alexey Navalny’s presidential candidacy nomination on the grounds that he is still serving a felony probation sentence. According to election laws, Navalny is ineligible for elected office until at least 2028. Navalny is appealing the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the commission’s rejection. If the court rules against him again, his lawyers say he will take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights.