Russia’s election commission has rejected anti-war challenger Boris Nadezhdin as a candidate in next month’s presidential vote.
Mr Nadezhdin has been relatively critical of Vladimir Putin’s full-scale war in Ukraine and few dissenting voices have been tolerated in Russia.
He had tried to challenge claims by the election commission that more than 15% of the signatures he submitted with his application were flawed.
But the commission rejected his bid.
Refusing to give up, Mr Nadezhdin said on social media that he would challenge the decision in Russia’s Supreme Court.
“I collected more than 200,000 signatures across Russia. We conducted the collection openly and honestly.”
The Central Election Commission said that more than 9,000 signatures submitted by Mr Nadezhdin were invalid.
That left 95,587 names, meaning he was just short of the 100,000 required signatures to register as a candidate, commission member Andrei Shutov said.
Russia’s presidential election is due to take place from 15-17 March, although the result is not in doubt as only candidates approved by the Kremlin are running.
A final decision on who can take part in the election will come on Saturday.