In the 2018 Russian presidential election, Pavel Grudinin, a socialist lawmaker and businessman in agriculture, ran against Vladimir Putin, the incumbent. Grudinin, who operates a multimillion-dollar strawberry farm and is known as the “strawberry candidate,” has been compared to US President Donald Trump on numerous occasions (owing, perhaps, to his tremendous personal wealth). Unexpectedly, he ran on a communist platform, endorsing socialist principles and evoking political sentiments from the Stalinist period. Grudinin was chosen as the Communist Party of the Russian Federation’s official nominee despite having little to no political experience prior to standing for office (unlike Trump). He reportedly wanted to run the nation under the same socialist ideals that paid his farm employees more than twice the average salary in Russia, providing them with free healthcare, childcare, and housing. Given Putin’s dominance of the Russian political landscape, his defeat in the 2018 presidential elections was not unexpected despite his compelling platform and upbeat outlook. During and after his campaign, Grudinin’s wealth, numerous foreign bank accounts, and European real estate company drew some criticism.
Early Youth & Life
Pavel Nikolayevich Grudinin was born on October 20, 1960, in Moscow, which was then a component of the Soviet Union, to Serafima Zinovievna Grudinina and Nikolai Konstantinovich Grudinin. While attending the Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural School, his parents became friends.
Pavel’s interest in agriculture dates back several generations; his parents were field laborers who were transferred to the Lenin Sovkhoz in the Leninsky District of Moscow Oblast in 1961. (or state farm). Since then, Grudinin has asserted that his entire direct family and extended family worked on the same farm and that his ancestors had lived there for 250 years.
Both Grudinin’s parents and his paternal ancestors were born and raised in the Vogolda Governate. His maternal grandfather had married a Russian lady after leaving the Volgograd Governorate and moving to Leningrad. He was a military hero who had commanded tanks during the Great Patriotic War, which was fought on the Eastern Front of
World War II in Russia, before he was listed as missing in action in 1944.
Grudinin chose to study mechanical engineering at Moscow State Agroengineering University after graduating from secondary school in 1977. After earning his degree in 1982, he and his family began working at Lenin Sovkhoz.
Pavel Grudinin’s Career
From 1982 to 1989, Grudinin served as the automotive workshop’s chief administrator at Lenin Sovkhoz.
He received a promotion to deputy director in 1990, which he held until the organization’s managerial structure changed in 1995. He was appointed general director and granted command of a blocking stake under the recently established private company, “ZAO Lenin State Farm.”
The labor collective’s members own the leftover shares. The farm has produced fruits and vegetables, mainly strawberries, under his direction and plans to soon expand into the production of cheese. The company also generates some revenue by leasing out its sizable parcels of land to malls and other business developers; the revenue is then invested in the farm’s infrastructure.
When Grudinin was chosen as a Moscow Oblast Duma representative in 1997, he entered politics for the first time. He ultimately held office until 2011, when he opted to resign as a result of a media scandal involving an allegedly nationalist statement. He was successfully reelected three times. His political reputation suffered even though he was able to demonstrate in court that his statements had been misrepresented.
He graduated with a law degree from the Russian Institute of Public Administration in 2001, which was run by the President of the Russian Federation. Initially a supporter of United Russia (the present ruling party), Grudinin has since shifted his allegiance to the socialist movement. He hadn’t admitted to being a party member when he was chosen as the Communist candidate.
A possible field of 21 candidates—including Grudinin—from which the Communist Party’s 73-year-old secretary must choose the nominee for president was revealed in December 2017. The Zhigulyovsk branch of the party and the Left-Front Coalition both backed Grudinin’s candidacy despite Zyuganov’s stated plan to run as the Communist nominee for a fourth time.
Only a small group of candidates eventually remained for the job, among them Zyuganov and four others. Out of these five, Grudinin was the only candidate after two were denied and the other two withdrew. On December 23, 2017, he was formally recognized as the nominee after receiving 96.6% of the vote. Five days later, he submitted the necessary paperwork to formally challenge Vladimir Putin as the current president, and he named Zyuganov as his campaign manager.
He was not afraid to criticize the present administration during his presidential campaign and demanded a total rethink of economic policy (including withdrawal from the WTO, increased industrialization, price controls on necessities, progressive taxation, parental support, and better pension policies, among others). However, his ineffective foreign policy approach was criticized.
While claiming to be a supporter of Stalin, Grudinin spent a significant portion of his campaign in the early months of 2018 traveling the nation and speaking with various business, industrial, and media figures. During his campaign, he made use of social media as well, conducting talks with well-known bloggers and producing essential YouTube videos.
He received a lot of flak for his wealth (earning him the nickname “red capitalist”), real estate holdings, and overseas bank accounts, which he claimed he opened to pay for family members’ medical expenses. Additionally, he was charged with stealing a significant portion of the anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny’s campaign platform, who is currently disqualified from running for office due to a conviction and is widely regarded as Putin’s only true rival.
Additionally, due to his past affiliation with Putin’s party and the president’s total hold over the nation, there have been ongoing claims that Grudinin was a government agent planted to dispel suspicion, boost voter turnout without actually affecting Putin’s margin of victory, and calm public outrage over Navalny’s exclusion.
The investigation into his overseas assets by the election commission was among the criticism that Grudinin dismissed as “state propaganda” meant to harm his campaign. Despite his riches and influence, he was unable to overthrow Vladimir Putin.
Pavel’s Individual Existence
He is married and has Artyom and Anton as adult kids (who handles real estate leasing for Lenin State).
Despite his initial denials, he eventually acknowledged that he “could not control his children” and that they were “associated” with the property. He had originally denied that he or his family had any real estate in Spain.
Estimated Net Worth
One of the wealthiest and most well-known engineers is Pavel. According to our research, Pavel Grudinin has a net worth of $5 million, as reported by Forbes, Wikipedia, and Business Insider.
The election commission (CEC) made the decision not to disqualify him from the race following the investigation into his overseas assets (as had been previously considered).