A farmer will be competing against incumbent President Vladimir Putin in the March elections as the Russian Communist Party Representative registers as the nation’s second candidate for the 2018 presidential race.
The Russian Central Election Committee announced Friday that 57-year old candidate, Pavel Grudinin, the owner of a wealthy farming business in Moscow, was the second nominee to pass the registration process.
Grudinin has already revealed a few progressive platform ideas in which he claims to have a 20-step program which will strengthen Russia’s economy, eliminate poverty, and elevate the standard of living for citizens.
“Our priority will be the prosperity of the general public…We will make Russia’s riches, its natural, industrial and financial resources serve its people, we will nationalize strategically important and systemic industries, the power sector, railways, communications systems and leading banks," Grudinin revealed in a statement posted on the party’s site Thursday.
If he wins the presidential elections, Grudinin says he wants to limit access to “foreign speculative capital” in the Russian market as well as withdraw from the World Trade Organization.
“We will use credit resources to cultivate the economy, and for this aim, we will cut interest rates, put an end to wild capital outflow, and focus on investing all available assets into domestic production and people," Grudinin said, adding that economy will utilize science and new technologies to modernization and industrialization.
"Our historic goal is to ensure the rebirth of a provincial Russia," he added.
However, critics say the new candidate may be damaging to the party and only serve to support Putin’s campaign. In an otherwise stale political line-up that has hardly changed in the last two decades, a fresh face could indirectly boost voter turnout despite signs of apathy among some citizens who assume Putin will win however the vote.
Still, communist party support runs deep, with past elections roping in almost 41 percent, 30 million votes, in 1996 and just over 12 million in the 2012 presidential elections.
The Communist Party surprised observers by choosing Grudinin over its veteran runner Gennady Zyuganov, 73, a decision which they made late last month after the latter won a popularity vote organized by the Leftist Front coalition.
However, the choice of a farmer may be a wise strategic move as strong party support remains in the nation’s rural communities.