Aina Gamzatova is the Muslim woman who wants to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin in the March 2018 election. The 46-year-old woman from Dagestan is a journalist, writer and Sufi religious figure and is running.
Gamazatova was nominated for the position by a local initiative group in the Russian Republic of Dagestan in late December and is running as an independent candidate.
After she made her bid for presidency public, several supporters gathered around her to celebrate in Makhachkala, Dagestan's capital, two days after she confirmed her bid in a Facebook post.
"She was brave enough to use her legal right, that is granted to every Russian national, to run for president, she is brave enough to run a decent election campaign," said Aisha Anastasiya Korchagina, an ethnic Russian convert to Islam who works as a psychologist in Moscow.
The journalist heads Russia's largest Muslim media holding, “Islam.ru” comprising television, radio and print outlets. She also writes books on Islam, and runs several charities.
Gamazatova is married to Akhmad Abdulaev, the Mufti of Dagestan, Russia's troubled province where a confrontation between fighters, clans and federal forces has killed thousands.
She had been married before, and lost her first husband after his car was blown up in 1998 after he publically slammed “Wahabis.”
They are fighters asking for an independent state in the Northern Caucasus under Islamic Law. Gamazatova wants the Kremlin to get tough on these fighters.
Russia’s first female Muslim presidential candidate has is yet to unveil a detailed election program.
“[My candidacy] should not be seen within a clerical context or an attempt of Muslims to create a competitor to Vladimir Putin ... It is a desire to publicly announce and support on the federal level a harsh anti-Wahhabism stance,” she said.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters,Pavel Golovkin