Russian politician advocating for peace in Ukraine vows to forge ahead with new political party

  • Russian politician Yekaterina Duntsova, advocating for peace in Ukraine, lost her appeal against election officials’ rejection of her presidential nomination.
  • Duntsova said she envisions a “humane” Russia that is peaceful, friendly and cooperative, based on respect.
  • Putin’s 24-year control makes his reelection in the upcoming presidential vote highly likely, with key critics either in prison or living abroad.

A Russian politician calling for peace in Ukraine on Wednesday lost her appeal against election officials’ refusal to accept her nomination for the country’s presidential race that President Vladimir Putin is all but certain to win.

Former regional legislator Yekaterina Duntsova has promoted her vision of a “humane” Russia “that’s peaceful, friendly and ready to cooperate with everyone on the principle of respect.”

The tight control that Putin has established during 24 years in power makes his reelection in March’s presidential vote all but assured. Prominent critics who could challenge him are either in prison or living abroad, and most independent media have been banned.


Over the weekend, Russia’s Central Election Commission refused to accept Duntsova’s initial nomination by a group of supporters, citing errors in the paperwork, including spelling.

Russian politician Yekaterina Duntsova speaks to journalists after she appealed in Russia’s Supreme Court a decision by Russia’s Central Election Commission that refused to accept her initial nomination by a group of supporters in Moscow, Russia, on Dec. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

On Wednesday, Russia’s Supreme Court rejected Duntsova’s appeal against the commission’s decision.

After losing appeal, Duntsova said she would start working on the creation of her own political party that would stand for “peace, freedom and democracy.”

“We will win the right to live without fear, speak freely and feel confident about the future,” she declared on her messaging app channel.

Duntsova has asked the leaders of the liberal Yabloko political party to nominate her as a candidate, but its founder Grigory Yavlinsky has cold shouldered the idea.

A number of Russian parties have named their candidates.


The Russian Communist Party, the second largest in the lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, has nominated veteran lawmaker Nikolai Kharitonov. The communists and other factions in the Duma represent only token opposition and generally support Putin’s course.

The Civic Initiative party — which is not represented in the Duma — backed the nomination of independent candidate Boris Nadezhdin, who has spoken against Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Duntsova urged her supporters to help Nadezhdin collect signatures to qualify for the race.

Putin is running as an independent, and his campaign headquarters, together with branches of the ruling United Russia party and a political coalition called the People’s Front, began collecting signatures in support of his candidacy. Under Russian law, independent candidates must be nominated by at least 500 supporters, and must also gather at least 300,000 signatures from 40 regions or more.

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