A new generation of Russian leadership has emerged amidst their recent invasion of the Ukrainian region of Crimea. Her name is Natalia Poklonskaya. She is 33-years-old lawyer and Crimea’s new attorney general.
We don’t know much about her right now, but trust me, that will change. Not only is she the first memorable female face of leadership to emerge from Russia in my lifetime, she’s coming into sharp focus during a very controversial invasion that’s led to a strong call for international sanctions.
Here’s what we know about Natalia Poklonskaya so far:
- She was born in 1980
- She graduated from the University of Internal Affairs in Yalta
- She worked in Simferopol, Ukraine as an environmental prosecutor.
- She was transferred to the Ukrainan Prosecutor General’s Office in Kiev.
- She made a name for herself as the prosecutor in a trial for Bashmaki, a notorious local gang.
- After favoring Russia’s invasion, the Ukrainian government launched a criminal case against her and stripped her of the civil service rank of counsellor of justice. Later, they released what they considered ribald photos of her to social media and news outlets.
- On March 11, 2014, Sergei Aksyonov, “the less-than-legitimate prime minister of the Crimea” appointed her Prosecutor of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. This occurred because her predecessor opposed the Russian invasion and remained loyal to Kiev.
- She’s inspired tons of fan art that has gone viral, especially in Japan where admirers draw her in manga style.
- She’s been described by Americans as a cross between Jennifer Aniston and Jodi Foster.
Natalia Poklonskaya Japanese Fan Art
Because I grew up with the Cold War, this stuff fascinates me. Also, from a PR perspective, the most believable spokesperson is a young, passionate woman. It appears Moscow knows the West’s biggest weaknesses all too well. Despite the political realities of this invasion, Poklonskaya has invited sympathy and understanding from the West.
Here is Natalia Poklonskaya at a news conference on March 17.