Aina Gamzatova is Russia’s first female Muslim presidential candidate. Gamzatova, 46, currently heads Islam.ru, Russia’s largest Muslim media holding, runs multiple charities and has written a number of books on Islam.
Gamzatova announced she would be running as an independent contender in the election in a Facebook post on December 28th and was met immediately with a striking variance in opinions about her gender and religion. On one side, Patimat Ibragimova, a Muslim woman from the Russian city of Makhachkala, told Al Jazeera, "What about the moral teachings that a woman can't even leave her house without her husband?"
Others have applauded her for added to the diverse opposition in the March election. Director of the Conflict Analysis and Prevention Centre, Ekaterina Sokirianskaia told Al Jazeera, "The more different candidates, especially women, the better, and she is a Muslim woman, why not?"
Gamzatova has added to the diverse opposition to Putin in the March election. This year marks the first time any woman has declared her intention to run for Russian president in 13 years and she joins three other women who have announced their bids within the last few months.
Gamzatova joins Ksenia Sobchak, a former reality television star and socialite and head of the Russian edition of the fashion magazine L’Officiel who had become the first woman in 2017 to announce her bid. She also joins All-Russian United Labor Front runner and crane operator, Natalya Lisitsina and Journalist and Lawyer, Ekaterina Gordon.
Many are doubtful that any of the candidates will defeat Putin and his loyalists in March. Regardless of this, there will likely be an overwhelming impact these women will have on young girls in Russia. Russian boxer, Gaidarbek Gaydarbekov, wrote on an instagram post, “Even if she loses, people will know that a girl in a hijab is not just a mother or a woman, but is also an educated, wise and respected woman."
photo via Facebook/Aina Gamzatova
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Gianna Folz is a BUST intern, writer, reluctant runner, and occasional tweeter when angry about something. Follow and connect @gianna_folz