THE DAUGHTERS of two of the most prominent critics of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, are to enter politics with the aim of challenging the Kremlin’s “mounting cynicism and authoritarianism”. Zhanna Nemtsova, whose father Boris is a charismatic member of the opposition, is to run for a seat in Moscow’s city parliament in December. Barely 21, she would be Russia’s youngest parliamentarian if elected.
Her political ambitions are shared by Maria Gaidar, the daughter of Yegor Gaidar, first post-Soviet prime minister, who is praised in the West but vilified at home as the architect of Russia’s market reforms of the 1990s.
Gaidar, 24, has been asked to join the Union of Rights Forces (SPS), an alliance of liberal opposition parties.
Nemtsova and Gaidar are the first children of Kremlin opponents to follow in their fathers’ footsteps. Their move, which they hope will bring new blood to the country’s beleaguered opposition, comes at a time when anxiety over the Orange revolution in neighbouring Ukraine has prompted Putin to seek the support of Russia’s young.
In a country where liberal-minded reformers are blamed by most voters for the economic hardships they have endured since the collapse of communism, the young women’s privileged upbringing and political pedigree are a considerable handicap. “It will be an uphill battle but the only alternative would be to leave Russia,” said Gaidar.
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