NewsJournalist surprises Putin with unanticipated challenge

Journalist surprises Putin with unanticipated challenge

Vladimir Putin did not expect this, he has a running mate in the elections.
Vladimir Putin did not expect this, he has a running mate in the elections.
Images source: © Getty Images

12:57 PM EST, December 8, 2023

In a turn of events that was few anticipated, opposition candidate, journalist Yekaterina Duncova, has seized the opportunity to contend in Russia's presidential elections. The authorities have been quick to target Duncova, blocking her bank accounts and summoning her to the prosecutor's office for questioning. The campaigns intensify, culminating into a climax slated for mid-March.

Journalist Yekaterina Duncova, based at a regional television station near Moscow, intends to face off with Putin in the imminent presidential elections. This is considered a surprising nomination since Duncova doesn't have significant national recognition and must contend with a man who has held political hegemony over Russia for over two decades. He has exhibited no interest in relinquishing his position.

Has Putin been caught off-guard by this nomination? It's conceivable, considering the unpredictability of Russian politics. This could suggest that Yekaterina Duncova's emergence may be part of a strategic scheme set to ensure Putin's re-election but maintaining the illusion of an open race. In essence, the winner of the election might be predetermined, but the margin of victory remains uncertain.

Insinuations circulating on Telegram hint that the incumbent president is likely to gather over 80 percent of the votes.

Apparently, Yekaterina Duncova is already feeling the heat of power, according to reports from Belsat TV. Her bank accounts have been frozen, and she has been hindered from meeting voters in Tver, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. Presently, she is soliciting funds for her campaign while concurrently dealing with the Russian state machinery under the Kremlin's influence.

Shortly after announcing her candidacy, Duncova was invited to the prosecutor's office. Investigators have been scrutinizing her stance on the "special military operation in Ukraine" and determining her suitability to participate in the power tussle. This could arguably validate her independence, though numerous observers express reservations about this.

The Russian presidential elections will occur on Sunday, March 17, with voting days extending to March 15 and 16, as determined by the election commission. The Federation Council of Russia recently confirmed the official date, and its chairperson, Valentina Matvienko, declared the campaign period effectively open.

Intriguingly, Vladimir Putin has yet to make an official announcement concerning his candidacy in the election.

Feverish preparations continue in the Kremlin, as state authorities and security services strive to orchestrate an environment where a potentially popular opponent doesn't usurp Putin. Rumored stipulations include a minimum age requirement of 50 for candidates, safeguarding Putin against appearing old and unfavorable in comparison. Putin's long-standing illness makes this stipulation significantly relevant.

Apart from Yekaterina Duncova, Vladimir Putin's other prospective opponent in his bid for re-election is Igor Girkin, alias "Strelkov," a former FSB officer, and leader of the Donbass separatists. The glitch here is that the ultranationalist is currently incarcerated, with his sentence recently prolonged by six months. Undeterred, Girkin asserts his intention to participate from behind bars while authorities strategize to prevent this permanently.

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