The number of people who have expressed their intention to run in the upcoming Russian presidential election is the highest its been since 2000.

The Russian presidential election is scheduled to take place on March 18 and since the launch of the campaign on Dec. 18, Russia’s Central Election Commission has been notified of 70 presidential bids.

Nevertheless, only 36 candidates came to the commission and provided the necessary documents.

“Compared to the elections in 2000 to 2012, the number of those expressing intention to participate in the current campaign hit the record.

“We believe it is linked to the easing of the requirements to the number of signatures,” a report by the Russian Civil Initiatives Committee (CIC) read.

In 2000, the candidates had to collect 500,000 signatures endorsing the nomination.

Between 2004 and 2012 they had to collect two million signatures, whereas now party candidates only have to collect 100,000 signatures, and independent nominees have to get 300,000.

The CIC also noted that the dropout rate for candidates was 53 per cent.

According to the report, over a quarter of the nominees are women, and most of the candidates are politicians and entrepreneurs.

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