By Paul Goble
More than three dozen candidates have registered or plan to register to run against Vladimir Putin for the office of Russian president, but perhaps the most striking is Ayna Zairbekovna Gamzatova, the wife of and advisor to Akhmad Abdulayev, the head of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) of Daghestan.
Her supporters have announced plans for a meeting on December 30 in Makhachkala so that she can file registration documents in Moscow by January 1 (riaderbent.ru/supruga-muftiya-dagestana-vydvigaetsya-v-prezidenty-rossii.html).
Gamzatova is an impressive figure in her own right. She is a member of the Russian journalists’ union, the chief editor of the republic journal Islam, and the head of a media holding in that North Caucasus republic which owns television, radio and print outlets. But she is most widely known as the wife of the Daghestani mufti.
Because of that, some Daghestanis oppose her candidacy because they do not think that the wife of a mufti should be running for the presidency of Russia.