Crimean ex-prosecutor Poklonskaya dismisses reports of presidential ambitions

Crimean ex-prosecutor Poklonskaya dismisses reports of presidential ambitions
Russian MP and former chief prosecutor of the Crimean Republic Natalya Poklonskaya has dismissed media speculation that she could run for the presidency in 2018, adding that she had no information about any other woman who wants to run.

The comments came after Russian business daily Vedomosti published an article quoting unnamed sources in the Russian presidential administration as saying the Kremlin was allegedly considering running a female politician as a competitor to Vladimir Putin in the 2018 presidential race.

As well as Poklonskaya, other possible candidates Vedomosti mentioned for the role were Senator Elena Mizulina and editor-in-chief of the Russian version of the L’Officiel magazine Kseniya Sobchak.

In comments with the Dozhd television channel, Poklonskaya called the claims “rubbish” and said that she “knew nothing about the things the reporters were writing about.”

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov also refuted the allegations. “No one in the Kremlin has thought about it,” he told reporters on Friday.

Sobchak, who was called the most likely candidate for the “female competitor” position by the Vedomosti source because of her image as a powerful modern woman, also said that she was unaware of any Kremlin political plans involving her. She also emphasized that journalists from Vedomosti had not contacted her for comment before releasing the article. 

Two women have participated in presidential elections in modern Russian history. In 2000, Ella Pamfilova, representing the parliamentary bloc For Civil Dignity, received 1.01 percent of votes, while in 2004 Irina Khakamada of the Union of Rightist Forces party gained 3.84 percent.

In April last year, Putin said that he considered it possible that a woman could become Russian president, adding that women could tackle many problems better than men.

So far, three people have announced their intention to run for the presidency in 2018. All three are men: the founder of the liberal Yabloko party, Grigory Yavlinsky, the head of the nationalist populist party LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and anti-corruption activist Aleksey Navalny. The latter, however, is technically barred from running under Russian law because he is currently serving a five-year suspended jail sentence that will not expire before the next election.

Incumbent President Putin gave the first public indication that he will run for a new term in early August, when he promised a group of Siberian villagers that he would think about such an option in reply to their request to register as a candidate.