The Russian Communist Party is running a nominee in the upcoming March presidential elections.
Russia’s electoral commission approved Tuesday the candidacy of Nikolai Kharitonov, a long-time leader in the Communist Party and member of the State Duma — the country’s lower legislative house.
Kharitonov enters the race against three other candidates, including the nearly certain victor, incumbent President Vladimir Putin.
Kharitonov previously ran as the nominee of the Communist Party against Putin in 2004. He finished in second place with just under 14% of the vote.
The Communist Party is the second-largest political group in Russian politics behind the dominant All-Russian Political Party, also known as United Russia.
Officially, Putin is not a member of any political party and will run as an independent. However, United Russia continues to back the vast majority of the dictator’s policies and supports his leadership.
Last week, the election commission registered two candidates to oppose Putin in the 2024 elections.
Liberal Democratic Party candidate Leonid Slutsky and New People Party candidate Vladislav Davankov were approved for the March election by officials this week.
Danankov currently serves as the deputy speaker for the state Duma. Slutsky is the head of the state Duma’s foreign affairs committee.
Putin has held continuous positions as president or prime minister since 1999. He has been president since 2012, with his previous stint as president running from 2000 to 2008.
The Kremlin has been publicly dismissive of elections in recent months, seeming to acknowledge the nation’s questionable international credibility of its democratic institutions.
“Elections are what a democracy demands and Putin himself decided to hold them, but theoretically, they don’t even have to be held,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state media outlet RBK in August 2023. He added, “Because it’s clear that Putin will be elected. That’s completely my personal opinion.”