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Trans Lawyer Launches Russian Presidential Bid

By Sunnivie Brydum

The Russian human rights lawyer who made headlines last week when she came out as a bisexual transgender woman married to another Russian woman, is keeping herself in the news — this time by announcing her intent to run for president of Russia in 2018. 

Masha Bast, an attorney with the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, announced the formation of her electoral campaign Monday, along with her intent to compete in the 2018 elections for president of Russia. Bast said she and her allies are seeking to hold the "first real democratic honest and fair elections in Russia."

"Putin wants me to live in the middle ages," Bast wrote on her Facebook with an article linking to her campaign announcement. "I personally want to live in the 21st Century."

According to the announcement on the Association of Russian Lawyers For Human Rights' website, Bast's campaign will focus on Russian development, "where the highest value is a human, human rights and freedoms, justice and social guarantees to everyone." 

Bast reportedly wants Russia to build upon "European socialism" that can compete with the United States, moving the slavic nation in a progressive direction, away from a consumer society to a society of creation, encouraging "the transition from a society of egotists to altruistic society."

If she were elected, Bast would be the first female president of Russia, and the first openly LGBT person to lead the nation. She stressed that she is pro-LGBT, pro-marriage equality, pro-freedom of and from religion, and opposes discrimination "against anyone on any grounds," including sexism, ableism, and classism.

Bast did not explicitly address how Russia's recently enacted ban on so-called "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" might impact her campaign, though she came out last week in an act of protest against the poorly defined law that's seen LGBT Russians and visitors arrested, beaten, and harassed for simple nonviolent demonstrations like unfurling a rainbow flag or holding hands in public. 

 Read more about Bast's campaign promises here.

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