Valeria Kunavin

Valeria Kunavin
Lucrecia Hernandez Mack.png
6th President of Vinalia
Assumed office
August 14th 2021
Preceded byErsnt Rupold
Member of the Vinalian House of the People for Zamara
In office
August 13, 2015 – August 13, 2021
Member of the North Vinalian Parliament
In office
January 29, 2014 – August 12th, 2015
Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Culture and Sport
In office
October 20th 2011 – November 28th, 2014
Personal details
Born (1973-12-19) December 19, 1973 (age 47)
Vumbinsk, Zamara, North Vinalia
NationalityVinalian
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Bereza Zelenko (Married in 1997)
Children1
MotherJia Xinyi
FatherNalyn Kunavin
EducationUniversity of Orlavo

Valeria Kunavin (born Valeria Jia Kunavin Xinyi; Валерія Цзя Кунавін Сіньї, 12 December 1973), is a Vinalian-Shangean politician, former Invictus Fencer, Indigenous rights activist, who is serving as President of Vinalia since August 2021.

Born in Zamara in 1973, to Shangean Immigrants Valeria competed in the 1994 Crescent Island City Invictus Games in Women’s Épée, she competed for Vinalia again in San Alessandro 1998, and Verlois 2002. She went on to coach the Vinalian Women’s Épée team which won a gold medal in 2010 with Bela Kravchik. Valeria entered into the Ministry of Culture and Sport in 2009 first as an advisor and in 2011 as an Assistant Minister. In 2013 she launched her campaign as an Independent for a seat in House of the People for Zamara, which she won in 2014. An outspoken Indigenous rights activist, and Women's sports supporter. Valeria has served as an advisor for numerous initiatives in these areas. She aligned politically with the opposition during Ulyana Hryhorivna's government from 2014 to 2015, and was generally supportive of Turden Najic's government from 2015 to 2019. She aligned herself in support of Omelyan Pavlov's government since 2019, and declined being named as Minister of the Ministry of Culture and Sport that same year. Her legislative career and international credentials having served as the Chairman of the Council of Vinalian-Shangeans in 2003, and has been formally invited with Vinalian delegations to Shangea. This led her to be an attractive candidate to replace the retiring President Ersnt Rupold in 2021. After having initially sought to contest one of Zamara's Senate seats she instead accepted the nomination to become President. Following the 2021 Vinalian General elections she was elected to become president on August 14th, 2021 following a 39 (100%) vote in the Senate. Becoming Vinalia's 6th President.

Early life

Valeria Kunavin was born on the 12th of December 1973, in Vumbinsk a suburb of Morechia, in the People's Republic of Vinalia. Her father Nalyn Kunavin was a First generation Vinalian-Shangean of Soravian-Shangean parents, her mother Jia Xinyi likewise was a first generation migrant. Nalyn who's father was a Soravian sailor, had moved to North Vinalia in 1946 when he was 7, and was a member of the growing Shangean community in North Vinalia. Jia had migrated from Shangea in 1956 following a scholarship granted to her by the University of Morechia. Both her parents are Agricultural specialists.

Valeria initially attended the Shangean-Vinalian Institute in Morechia alongside another 300 children of Shangean descent or origin until 1980 when the Institute was closed by North Vinalian authorities following a review of relationships between both countries. Valeria and her family moved to Orlavo where she lived for the rest of her childhood in 1981. She attended State School #913 in Orlavo, and regards her time there as a positive period in her life, her former classmate Yukhym Komar later became a politician in 2002, and now serves as Minister of the Ministry of Human Development he's a House Representative for Orlavo. Valeria states she had intended to study to become an agricultural specialist as her parents.

Fencing

Following Katharina Malyshevs Bronze medal in Women's foil in the 1986 Saint-Marie Invictus Games, Fencing became widely popular in Vinalia. Following the construction of the Katharina Fencing Center in 1988, Valeria began practicing fencing at 15 years a relatively old age for fencers. Valeria grew to love fencing and had by 1991 earned a state-funded scholarships to fence in Épée, and was considered among the best in the country. She was accepted to the University of Orlavo to study Sports science while she continued fencing in 1992. With Vinalian Reunification, in 1993 and the normalizing relations between the new Vinalian Republic and Shangea, she traveled for the first time to Shangea. With the unification of both Northern and Southern Fencing Associations, Valeria competed with Southern fencers. In 1993 Valeria won the Vinalian Fencing Championships, and classified to the 1994 Crescent Island City Invictus Games in Dezevau after she finished 4th in that years Asterian Fencing championship for Épée.

At just 21 years of age, Valeria participated in the 1994 Crescent Games. Being the although Vinalia had only reunified one year prior, its Invictus Committees had been competing under the same banner since 1990. During the games she finished 9th after being defeated in the round of 16 by the eventual gold medalist Audrey Berlioz of Gaullica. During her stay she met Chistovodian shooter and her future husband Bereza Zelenko. Upon her return, Valeria won all Vinalian domestic Épée competitions between 1994 and 1999, establishing herself as the leading fencer in the country. In 1998 she earned her spot in the San Alessandro 1998 games, after she finished 6th in the World Championships that year in Samistopol. Her participation in 1998 were impacted by a leg injury she had received from a motorcycle accident 2 months prior to the games, however she managed to finish 11th in the competition again losing to the eventual gold winner Thalia Freund from Werania in the round of 16. Her participation in the Vinalian Women's Épée team was limited as the team was eliminated by the Caldian team in the first round. Following the her pregnancy and birth of her son, Nalyn in December 1999 she briefly retired from Fencing between June 1999 and December 2000.

Following her brief retirement, Valeria returned to fencing in 2001, where she was able to rise through the fencing rankings, winning the national championships in 2001 and 2002. She earned her Invictus spot after a satisfactory result in the World Championships finishing 9th. Her participation in the Verlois 2002 games was her most successful where she finished in 6th place after eliminating Thalia Freund in the round of 16th and being eliminated by eventual Bronze medalist Alida D'Ambra from Etruria. The Women's Épée team finished 4th out of 8 teams, being narrowly defeated by the Bronze winning Etrurians. Valeria continued fencing until she retired in 2003 on her 30th birthday.

Valeria (front) coaching in 2009 against future Épée gold winner, Bela Kravchik (back).

Valeria began working for the Vinalian Fencing Federation (VFF) that same year coaching youth women's fencing and the Vinalian Épée team still considered among the best in the world. In 2004 she was elected as president of the Shangean Community in Vinalia, and served as a goodwill and cultural advisor in preparation for the Baiqiao 2006 games. During the 2006 games she accompanied the athletes, and coached the Women's Épée team to a 6th place finish being eliminated by the Weranian team. She graduated with her degree in Sports Science in 2007.

Valeria began working with the Association of Vinalians for Equality (AVE), the greatest Indigenous rights association in Vinalia, as a spokesperson. Valeria had involved herself in the work of the AVE through her husband in 2002. In 2008 she was involved in an AVE sponsored event featuring Indigenous athletes and supporters of AVE, in attendance was Senator Smarcek Sakandelidze current head of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. Smarcek invited Valeria to become an advisor in the Ministry which she agreed to. Valeria now in a managing position instead of coaching for the VFF, travelled with the Vinalian Épée team to Vicalvi 2010, Bela Kravchik was ranked in the global top 10 and had been personally coached by Valeria. Bela achieved in 2010 a gold medal in the Women's individual, defeating in the round of 16 Alida D'Ambra who had defeated Valeria in the Quarterfinals in 2002. Valeria who had coached and managed the team received praise throughout the country and led to renewed interest in Women's Fencing, in the youth program of the VFF in 2010 there were 596 girls enrolled, by 2014 there were 58,378 enrolled. Valeria left the VFF in 2011 as she accepted the position of Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Political Career

Although not an elected position, Valeria worked full time in the Ministry headed by Smarcek Sakandelidze of the Unionist Party. She help spearhead an agreement in September 2011 for the establishment of an Indigenous athlete fund, which would cover the costs of practicing and reaching competitions for young athletes, the program benefited 1,000 young athletes throughout the country, and was part of the countries 2014 Invictus Plan. During her time in the Ministry, Valeria oversaw further funding and support of fencers in the country as well as working to secure the 2018 Asterian Fencing Competition would be hosted in Vinalia. In 2012 she met future Minister-President Omelyan Pavlov in a dinner for Athletes in politics, as Omelyan was a former Junior Soccer player. He suggested that Valeria should enter politics, and run for the North Vinalian Parliament, Valeria was interested by the suggestion and in November 28th, 2014 she resigned her position and launched her campaign for the North Vinalian Parliament as an Independent for Zamara using her inlaws home address in Chervona.

Valeria presented herself as an outsider in Zamara as she held positions that would had made her a Unionist leaning member. She campaigned on increased support for government childcare, athletes, and for establishing Parental leave in North Vinalia. Her popularity as a sports figure, and spokesperson for AVE earned her great support, and in December 5th, AVE named her their political candidate of choice for the province. She polled positively during the election and after support of numerous former athletes, she was estimated to gain enough support to earn her a seat in the 262 member North Vinalian Parliament. Valeria was elected on January 28th, 2014 for a two year term, with her vote count placing her as the 6th largest Political group (Valeria ran as a one member party named after her, as all candidates must run under a party).

North Vinalian Parliament 2014-2015

Valeria began working in Zamara and supported numerous bills to the benefit of her province, she supported the establishment of 12 week Maternal care with full pay in North Vinalia, which became law nationwide in 2016. She helped raise the amount of days the government would cover private childcare from 3 days a week to 5 days a week. Valeria received praise for her work, and earned her a position in the Parliament's Culture and Sports Commission in early 2015.