In Moscow, the process was delayed because the printer being used to generate the paperwork stopped working in the cold woods. While Mr. Navalny’s staff tried to fix the machine, several hundred people gathered on a central Moscow square to demonstrate support for his nomination.
Svetlana Sorokina, 41, a biologist, said it was important to show the Kremlin that “there are many people like us.”
Nearby, police officers warned the crowd through loudspeakers they were breaking the law and threatened to disperse the rally.
For Tatyana Komendant, 65, what mattered was getting the Kremlin to allow an open race, in which anyone who met the eligibility requirements would be allowed to run. “Any alternative is good,” she said.
Russian law requires candidates to submit endorsements from 500 people before they may start collecting the one million signatures needed to appear on the ballot. Mr. Putin’s representatives are expected to file his nomination papers on Tuesday.
Election officials were expected to accept Mr. Navalny’s paperwork on Sunday, but it is highly unlikely that they will allow him to proceed to the signature-gathering stage.
Polls show Mr. Putin all but certain to win the March election. But Mr. Navalny has galvanized some of the vast country’s sleepiest regions with a yearlong grass-roots campaign.
Expressing confidence that he would win the presidential election if allowed to run, Mr. Navalny called on his supporters to boycott the vote if the election authorities refuse to register him.
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