Two late entrants have joined the race to become Russia’s next president.
The billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov arrived at the Central Electoral Commission with only two hours to spare with the required two million signatures for his candidacy.
More than five hours after arriving at the building, Prokhorov spoke of the huge responsibility he felt standing as an independent candidate.
“I’m seriously motivated to continue my fight for the presidency,” he added.
The Central Electoral Commission will have ten days to carry out checks on the signatures.
Grigory Yavlinsky, the liberal veteran and founder of Yabloko party, also made it to the office just before the deadline. His supporters brought his signatures packed in boxes decorated with apples, the meaning of yabloko in Russian.
The current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win the March election and return to the office he held from 2000 till 2008.
Despite that he turned his fire on leading media executives during a live radio show, attacking people who have protested against his rule by saying “they don’t want to hear the views of the majority of the population who’ve voted.”
He even described the liberal Ekho Moskvy station as serving the interests of foreign powers.
But it appears opposition against Putin’s rule is growing. The cultural celebrity led Voters’ League which aims to battle election fraud has announced plans for what it calls the biggest street protest yet against the Russian leader.