Putin Ally Predicts Russian Pro-Peace Pres. Candidate Will Be Poisoned

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A Russian opposition leader challenging Vladimir Putin in March’s presidential election can expect to be poisoned or imprisoned, according to prominent Putin ally Vladimir Solovyov.

Boris Nadezhdin, a former State Duma member who is known for opposing Russia’s war in Ukraine, announced on Wednesday that he was filing papers to challenge Putin in the election. The announcement came after a successful campaign to collect at least 100,000 voter signatures required to appear on the ballot.

Solovyov, the host of a popular Russian state television show known for pushing Kremlin propaganda, warned Nadezhdin during a broadcast a short time later that his candidacy would come at a high cost, according to a translated clip posted to X, formerly Twitter, by Russian Media Monitor founder Julia Davis.

Referring to Nadezhdin with the affectionate nickname “Borya,” Solovyov said that he was “terribly disappointed” in Nadezhdin for challenging Putin. He then quickly denounced the candidate, who is backed by the center-right Civic Initiative Party, as an “idiot.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin is pictured on the left, while his presidential election challenger Boris Nadezhdin is shown on the right. Russian state television host Vladimir Solovyov, a close Putin ally, is featured in the…


Contributor; VERA SAVINA/AFP

“In a human sense, for me, this is a big disappointment,” Solovyov said. “I’ve known Borya for about 25 years… It’s funny to suppose that in our country, Borya thinks he could suddenly be elected president. It’s clear that there are zero chances.”

“You’ll be thrown into prison and that’ll be the end of it!” he continued. “The government will raise your poor children! Are you an idiot?…There was a Berlin patient, and now there will be another one from Dolgoprudny [Nadezhdin’s hometown].”

Solovyov’s mention of the “Berlin patient” refers to the now-imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was treated in Berlin after becoming the victim of a 2020 poisoning that he and many others suggested was ordered by Putin.

Newsweek reached out for comment to Putin’s office via email on Wednesday night.

Later in the broadcast, Solovyov claimed that Nadezhdin was “being turned into a sacrificial victim” by “Western progressives.” He then warned that “Borya” was in a “no-win situation” and would suffer the same fate as Navalny and Vladimir Kara-Murza, an imprisoned Putin critic who was poisoned twice.

“The fate of Navalny and Kara-Murza awaits him,” said Solovyov. “No one will care—he’s in prison, so be it. Is Borya doomed to spend his older years in prison? And for free!”

“This is truly a tragedy,” he added. “Nadezhdin says that the first thing he will do [if elected] is declare a ceasefire with Ukraine and start negotiations…Everything Borya is stating now is inherently disgusting and totally sad.”

Nadezhdin’s campaign manifesto calls Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which the Russian government euphemistically refers to as a “special military operation,” a “fatal mistake” and claims that it is “hardly feasible” to win the war “without huge damage to the economy and an irreparable blow to Russia’s demography.”

Polling suggests that Putin will easily win reelection in March, although international observers have suggested that Russia’s electoral process and polls conducted in the country are manipulated to artificially favor Putin.