Alexei Navalny has now been formally barred from running for president of Russia by The Central Election Commission due to his conviction in a fraud case. This doesn't come as a surprise to anyone, as such a move was long expected, but it does show the state of Russia today one way or another.

Navalny for his part has called people to boycott the vote next year, as he sees the decision as a case of political retribution. He said that "Only Putin and the candidates he has hand-picked are taking part in it." Previously the European Court of Human Rights had lifted his conviction. And The Central Election Commission could have given him a special dispensation that would have allowed him to run. Or a court could have cancelled his conviction.

Putin himself has said that he would welcome a strong opposition that "he could get along with" and "only if it offered a realistic alternative to his rule." Meaning, well, strong opposition is good only if he likes it. He also said that the opposition "shouldn't make noise in the streets."

So, as a result, he will be declaring himself president for a fourth term on March 18. His approval ratings aren't low, somehow staying at the 70 percent line.

Putin has ruled Russia since 1999 and will be in power at least until 2024 although Navalny said "I assure you, a huge amount of people will not go to this election, would actively boycott this election," and "Going to the polls right now is to vote for lies and corruption."