Wow, what an interesting time to be in the Russian Duma. Located across from the Manezh Square and near Red Square, the Russian Federation Duma has to be one of the most unpopular places in Russia at the moment. As former leaders and protesters are calling for new elections, President Dmitry Medvedev has decided that the newly elected parliament must get down to business and has ordered the body to convene Wednesday of next week, 21 December.
Борис Вячеславович Грызлов (Boris Gryzlov), the leader of the Duma has decided to resign and will not take his seat. That is perhaps a wise move, especially if he has future political aspirations. No matter the outcome there will be a stigma attached to this Duma for years to come.
The oldest member will be Communist Party representative Vladimir Dolgikh, who is 87 years old. The youngest will be a 27 year old Playboy Playmate, Мария Александровна Кожевникова (Mariya Kozhevnikova) who was voted as Maxim magazine’s “sexiest woman in Russia” earlier this year.
Citizens have called on the Duma to become more of a deliberative body in Russian political life. We can only imagine what kind of deliberating will go on with Ms. Kozhevnikova sitting there.
Did we mention that Ms. Kozhevnikova was voted as Maxim magazine’s “sexiest woman” in Russia earlier this year? We did? Just checking.
Surely she will become a central figure in Russian politics, dominating the halls of the Duma.
Kozhevnikova is a star in the “Univer” television series and was Russian Playboy’s front-page girl in 2009. Prior to the election Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had stressed that ruling party United Russia should renew the party with fresh faces. Well, maybe that explains her success at the ballot box.
She will be joined in the parliament by another popular new United Russia deputy, singer Иосиф Давыдович Кобзон (Iosif/Joseph Kobzon). Kobzon is well known for jetting around Moscow with his silver Mercedes and bodyguards. His fame as a singer began during the Soviet period.
He is known for his “crooning” style of singing Romantic ballads and has performed with many Western superstars, including Julio Iglesias and Liza Minnelli.
There will be many high profile Russians in the Duma again this term. United Russia’s former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva and wrestling champion Alexander Karelin were both re-elected. However observers say that given the turmoil surrounding the election, it is doubtful that this parliament can wield much political influence.