Russia: Barred From Running, Barred From Boycotting: A Russian Candidate’s Quandary | The New York Times

Aleksei A. Navalny, a Russian anticorruption activist, would have no real chance of defeating President Vladimir V. Putin in an election. The authorities have cast him as an utterly irrelevant showboat. But on Monday the Kremlin barred him from running for president in March. Then on Tuesday, threatening legal action, it warned him against organizing a boycott of the election. In one surreal turn after another, the Russian authorities have dismissed Mr. Navalny, a charismatic and canny street politician, as a nonentity — and then have done everything in their power to make sure that is the case. The boycott warning came from Mr. Putin’s spokesman, and was issued the same day the president, who has been in power for almost 18 years, was formally nominated to seek a fourth term.