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Clock ticking for Vladimir Putin as opponent warns his fall from power is imminent

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A key political opponent of Vladimir Putin believes the Russian President's fall will begin within years.

Boris Nadezhdin has been a Russian politician for three decades, but his name became known across the Western world a few weeks ago, when his political campaign quickly gathered steam in Russia.

Presenting himself as a law-abiding candidate against the "special military operation" - as the war in Ukraine is called in Russia - Mr Nadezhdin obtained thousands of signatures from Russians supporting his bid to take part in the election to be held between March 15 and 17 across the country.

However, earlier this month the Central Election Commission struck down more than 9,000 signatures as invalid out of the more than 105,000 submitted by the politician alongside his candidacy. This ruling left him short of the 100,000 signatures required to candidate hopeful to be able to run for election in Russia, and effectively prevented Mr Nadezhdin's name from being on the ballot paper.

This ruling was seen around the world as a politically motivated decision to pave the way to the re-election of Putin.

Appearing on the BBC's Ukrainecast, the politician said there is no doubt Putin will retain his position following the March vote.

However, when asked what life would be like in Russia next month, he added: "I do not think that there will be critical changes. Unfortunately, we will see practically the same politics.

"I think maybe one or two, maybe three years will pass before the political situation will change dramatically in Russia."

Without delving into the details of how this change would happen, Mr Nadezhdin told the podcast's hosts Victoria Derbyshire and Vitaly Shevchenko: "Fewer and fewer people support Putin. Fewer and fewer people support the special military operation.

"I don't know, maybe the critical point will be in one year, maybe in two, but not in six years."


A re-election next month will allow Putin to legally remain in power for yet another term, which as noted by his political opponent lasts six years.

Following the exclusion of Mr Nadezhdin from the electoral race, Putin is facing only three opponents - nationalist leader Leonid Slutsky, parliament deputy speaker Vladislav Davankov and Communist Nikolai Kharitonov. None of them is seen as a genuine challenger.

Mr Nadezhdin, who lives in Russia, showed to be painfully aware of the dangers real opposition candidates like him face in Russia, as he said during the podcast: "Of course being an opposition politician in Russia is a difficult and dangerous job, unfortunately.

"I hope everything is going to be okay with me and my family, I have been in Russian politics for more than 30 years, the first time I was elected was in 1990 as a counsellor in my city."

Following the death on February 16 of Russian politician Alexei Navalny in a penal colony in the Russian Arctic Circle, Mr Nadezhdin said to be ready to continue his fight - although with different methods.

He said: "I should say that Alexei Navalny and I, of course, have the same final target, we both want Russia to be a peaceful and free country. But Navalny and I had quite different ways to achieve this aim, because I have never criticised Putin personally and have always used only legal methods. I believe that the only good way to change the situation in Russia is with elections."

In a separate interview with Russian newspaper The Moscow Times, Mr Badezhdin said he would not call on his supporters to protest against the decision to bar him from running for elections as it would only expose "my supporters to the police and Sosgvardia's batons. That's not right and doesn't lead anywhere."

He also said: "I don't want any revolution or coup d'etat happening in Russia. I want the government to change as a result of elections."

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