By barring opposition candidate Boris Nadezhdin from running, the Supreme Court removed Putin’s last remaining significant challenger.

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A liberal candidate on Wednesday lost another appeal against the decision of election officials to bar him from running in Russia’s upcoming elections. 

Boris Nadezhdin had made halting the war in Ukraine his main campaign slogan, ahead of next month’s presidential election which Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win. 

Authorities’ refusal to register him for the race underlines the Kremlin’s refusal to allow public opposition to its actions.

After a day of deliberations, Russia’s Supreme Court ruled to reject Nadezhdin’s appeal against the Central Election Commission’s decision to bar him from the March 15 – 17 presidential election

The court previously turned down his two other appeals related to technical aspects of the commission’s move.

Nadezhdin said he would appeal the new ruling.

Thousands of Russians across the country signed petitions in support of the liberal candidate.

Nadezhdin, a local legislator from a town near Moscow, submitted 105,000 signatures to the Central Election Commission to qualify for the race.

The commission declared earlier this month that more than 9,000 signatures submitted by his campaign were invalid.

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