Putin39s challenger says 39miracles39 will help him overshadow the Russian

Putin's challenger says 'miracles' will help him overshadow the Russian leader – POLITICO Europe

Nadezhdin, a 60-year-old veteran politician with a background in physics, promises to end Putin's “fatal mistake” in Ukraine, halt mobilization and release political prisoners including Alexei Navalny. He also promises to repeal anti-LGBTQ+ and military censorship laws.

Nadezhdin was criticized by some for being unclear about the status of Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, as well as recently occupied territories in eastern Ukraine, saying it should be left to residents to decide which country they want to belong to. And although he criticizes the Ukraine war as Putin's “fatal mistake,” he calls it a “special military operation,” the euphemism coined by Putin. Nadezhdin defends this as a necessary precaution to avoid violating military censorship laws.

Nadezhdin now has to submit 100,000 signatures to Russia's Central Election Committee by the end of January, which must be spread across at least 40 regions.

In a phone conversation with POLITICO on Thursday, Nadezhdin attributed his success so far to “a series of miracles” and “amazing things.”

First, he managed to win over the liberal Citizens' Initiative party, thereby reducing the number of administrative hurdles he faced.

Second, thousands of people began donating money and volunteering.