Irina Mutsuovna Khakamada is a Russian economist, political activist, journalist, publicist and politician who ran in the 2004 Russian presidential election. Candidate of Economic Sciences, writer, television and radio host. Former member (deputy) of the lower house (the State Duma) of the Russian parliament for three convocations (electoral terms, 1993–2003) and Vice-Chair of the house; co-chair of a political party Union of Right Forces (1999–2003), presidential candidate of the Russian Federation (2004), member of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (2012— 2018).

In 1995, Time was named her a 21st-century politician among 100 well-known women in the world.

In 2002, she was a rapporteur from Russia at the 57th session of the UN General Assembly.

In 2005, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize among thousands of women of the planet. According to the results of the polls, she twice won the nomination “Woman of the Year”.


Khakamada was born to a Japanese father, Mutsuo Hakamada, a communist who defected to the Soviet Union in 1939. Her mother- Nina Sinelnikova, with Russian and Armenian roots, school English teacher who lost her father to the Stalinist purges and her mother to suicide following the family's forced relocation to Khabarovsk.

Her paternal uncle is Satomi Hakamada (袴田 里見), a longtime member of the Japanese Communist Party leadership. The Russia expert and Aoyama Gakuin University political science professor Shigeki Hakamada is her half-brother.

In Kanji, her family name is 袴田; in katakana, her name is イリーナ・ハカマダ.[2]

She graduated from the Department of Economy of the Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University in Moscow in 1978. Irina obtained her PhD degree from the Faculty of Economics of Lomonosov Moscow State University. In 1983 she received the academic title of associate professor in the specialty "political economy". She was a member of the CPSU from 1984 to 1989.

Fluent in English and French.

Duma career

Irina Khakamada was an elected Duma representative from 1993 to 2003. She is commonly regarded as a democratic politician who is in a moderate opposition to the Russian government. She is known for criticizing the governmental actions during Moscow theater hostage crisis where she was involved as one of the negotiators. Khakamada stated that the hostage takers were not going to use their bombs to kill the people and destroy the building. This opinion was supported by other negotiators including Anna Politkovskaya and by the subsequent events when the Chechens did not use their bombs.

Khakamada was a member of the coordinating council of the Union of Right Forces. She opted to abstain from the council's vote on their endorsement in the 2000 presidential election, in which the party ultimately voted to support Vladimir Putin's campaign over that of council member Konstantin Titov.

2004 presidential campaign

Khakamada was still one of the leaders of the Union of Rightist Forces when she decided to run in the Russian presidential election, 2004. She was not supported by her own party, which had already decided before she launched her campaign that they would not nominate a candidate.[6] She announced her candidacy in December of 2003, shortly after her party had reached this decision.

Khakamada kicked-off her campaign by delivering a speech which placed the blame for the Moscow theater hostage crisis at Putin's feet. She entered the election with better name recognition than most of the other candidates challenging Putin. Her candidacy was officially registered on 8 February. Khakamada was only the second woman to be a registered candidate in a Russian presidential election, after only Ella Pamfilova (who ran in 2000). Another woman would not be a registered candidate for another fourteen years, until Ksenia Sobchak's campaign in the 2018 election.

Khakamada claimed her motivation for running was her desire to see a liberal opposition candidate. She would ultimately be the only liberal opposition candidate to run.

In an article published in Novaya Gazeta, Yulia Latynina alleged that Khakamada only entered the election to feign a role of a democratic opponent to provide more legitimacy to the election of Vladimir Putin, a role that Grigory Yavlinsky refused to play. However, Khakamada denied such allegations.

Her campaign slogan as “Irina Khakamada: Our Voice”. Her campaign received funding from Boris Nevzlin, a former Yukos chief who was being targeted for international investigation by Russian authorities and was residing in Israel at the time of the campaign. She was outspoken about unfair conditions of the election, particularly about its media coverage. Early into the campaign, analysts predicted that, optimistically, she might be able to receive more than 10% of the vote. However, they also predicted she would be unable to achieve any greater result than that.

Khakamada ultimately received 3.9% of votes in the election. While she declared that she found her performance in the election to have been, "satisfactory", she alleged that there had been many irregularities with the vote.

After the election Alexei Kara-Murza (a member of the Political Council of the Union of Right Forces) praised her performance in the election as an, "important stand against Kremlin’s political monopoly". Kara-Murza asserted that he believed Khakamada had performed quite well in the election, particularly considering the fact that she had not received any support from Yabloko and a number of other leading liberal political organizations.

Future political activities (2004– present)    

Immediately after the election Khakamada founded a new political party named Our Choice.

Since 2004, the chairman of the Russian Democratic Party, Our Choice, reorganized into the Our Choice Interregional Public Fund for Social Solidarity, which in 2006 became part of the Russian People’s Democratic Union (RNDS) political party, led by Mikhail Kasyanov and her.

She published book "Gender in big-time politics" describing her personal experience of work in Kremlin.

On June 11, 2006 Boris Berezovsky, fugitive from Russian justice system, said Boris Nemtsov received a word from Khakamada that Putin threatened her and like-minded colleagues in person. According to Berezovsky, Putin had issued threats that Khakamada and her colleagues "will take in the head immediately, literally, not figuratively" if they "open the mouth" about the Russian apartment bombings.

Former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko said he had learned from Anna Politkovskaya that Putin asked Khakamada to pass a threat to Politkovskaya.Khakamada denied her involvement in passing any specific threats, and said that she warned Politkovskaya only in general terms more than a year earlier, and that Politkovskaya blamed her and Mikhail Kasyanov for becoming Kremlin's puppets.

Politkovskaya and Litvinenko were murdered in October and November 2006, respectively.

In 2008, she left the party of her own accord, explaining the cessation of her political activities. 

In 2016, she became a member of the Council of the Political Growth Party Took part in the elections to the State Duma of the 7th convocation as a candidate from the “Party of Growth”, in the first part of the regional list of Moscow. 

The Growth Party won 1.28% of the vote and was unable to go to parliament.


1995 - "Common cause" 

1999 - "Maiden Name" 

2002 - “Peculiarities of National Politics” 

2006 - “Sex in big politics. Self-instruction self-made woman " 

2007 - “Love, out of the game. The story of one political suicide" 

2008 - "Success in the big city" 

2012 - "The Tao of Life: A Master Class from a Staunch Individualist" 

2014 - “In anticipation of oneself: From image to style” 

2017 - "Success. You ask - I answer" 

2018 - "Restart: how to live many lives"