A 46-year-old woman from Dagestan wants to run against Russian President Vladimir Putin in the 2018 election. Hundreds of her supporters had gathered around her to celebrate in Makhachkala on Saturday, Dagestan’s capital, two days after she officially confirmed her bid through a Facebook post. Akhmad Abdulaev, Her husband, is the Mufti of Dagestan, Russia’s troubled province where a confrontation between fighters, clans and federal forces has killed thousands. She belongs to a Sufi order that has tens of thousands of followers and whose leader, Said-Afandi Chirkavi, was killed by a female suicide bomber in the Caucasus in 2012. Aisha Anastasiya Korchagina, an ethnic Russian convert to Islam who works as a psychologist in Moscow, said: “She was brave enough to use her legal right, that is granted to every Russian national, to run for president, she is brave enough to run a decent election campaign.” Some see her campaign – irrespective of its results – as a way to boost the image of Muslim women in Russia and to attract attention to the needs of impoverished, overpopulated and multi-ethnic Dagestan. “Even if she loses, people will know that a girl in a hijab [a headscarf worn by many Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion] is not just a mother or a woman, but is also an educated, wise and respected woman,” former Olympic champion in boxing and Dagestan’s deputy sports minister Gaidarbek Gaidarbekov wrote on Instagram.