Lessons from Russia: Young Candidates Challenging Putin
The 2018 Russian presidential election will take place on 18 March 2018. The first round will be held on Sunday 18 March 2018. If in the first round no candidate attains an absolute majority of the votes (more than half), then according to the law, a second round will take place exactly three weeks later, on 8 April 2018.
The country’s incumbent President, Vladimir Putin is seeking a reelection for a second term and four term overall. He is favoured to win after scoring more than 40% in majority of the opinion polls.
Despite the obvious, two young people stand out in this year’s election campaigns, they are Maxim Suraykin and Ksenia Sobchak. They are both in their thirties and running for the top position in Russia.
Born 8 August 1978, Maxim is a Russian Politician and has been the leader of Communist of Russia since 2012. He is a graduate of Railway Engineering from the Moscow State University, he founded and ran a computer equipment company for 10 years.
He was a member of the Communist Party (Russia’s biggest opposition party) from 1996 to 2004 and has been actively serving in various capacities.
Race to Presidency
In 2016, his party (Communist of Russia) which was established in 2012 as an alternative to Communist Party nominated him as the presidential flag bearer and his nomination was confirmed by the central committee by May 2017 as the Presidential candidate.
Only 36 years old, this Russian TV anchor, journalist and actress has been vocal in the Russian political scene since her declaration for presidency. She is an anchor at an independent TV channel Dozhd and candidate for president of the Russian Federation in the 2018 election.
Sobchak is the daughter of the first democratically elected mayor of St. Petersburg. Anatoly Sobchak who also happened to be Putin’s political mentor. Sobchak became famous in 2004, as a host of the reality show Dom-2. She left the show in 2012, because the show’s lowbroworientation became incongruent with her political activism. According to Forbes Magazine, in 2017 Sobchak is the 10th highest paid celebrity in Russia, as her annual salary from her media jobs is around $2.1 million a year.
Race to Presidency
Sobnak’s father was Putin’s law professor at the university and he was instrumental to launching Putin’s political career in 1991. According to reports, Putin also helped her father flee Russia when he was wanted for corruption charges. Putin is said to have deep affection for the family and this explains why Sobnak is said to enjoy privileged status in the society.
This is also reflected in her political campaigns. Some reporters describe her as been bold and aggressive. Prior to the announcement of her intention to enter the Presidential race in 2018, Sobchak discussed her intention personally with Putin. She said: “With Vladimir Vladimirovich, my family has been associated with a great deal… so I felt it right to say that I made such a decision”. Putin, she said, told her that “every person has the right to make his own decisions and must be responsible for them”.
Sobnak is an independent candidate (meaning she is not affiliated with any political party) in the 2018 election. She also said that her race to presidency is for the long term because she believes it is difficult to win against Putin. But by 2024, Putin would be bared from running for a third term and by then she hopes to be Russia’s democratically elected president.
What do you think are the lessons our young leaders going into politics can learn from these two?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.