Amid a wave of gubernatorial dismissals, the Kremlin has announced a nationwide hunt for prospective leaders.
Some 19 governors of Russian regions have been dismissed this year due to corruption scandals, protest movements, or reaching retirement age.
At a presentation of his project on Wednesday, Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy head of the presidential administration, said any Russian citizen could apply to the Kremlin’s “Leaders of Russia” contest, the state-run news agency TASS reported.
He said the contest was meant to help "support and advance people regardless of who they're related to and what lobbying opportunities or money they have.”
Candidates will be chosen "exclusively according to their professional and personal qualities, love of work and potential," he added.
People working in private businesses, schools and hospitals are encouraged to apply through an online portal displaying the slogan “There are no born leaders. It’s time you become one."
The contest is limited to those who are under 50 years old, hold Russian citizenship, and have management experience of at least five years. If younger than 35, they are required to have two years of experience in a management position, said Kiriyenko.
Contest winners will attend the Graduate School of Public Administration of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Earlier this week, Russian media widely shared a video of several newly appointed governors jumping from a 7-meter-high cliff as part of a training program. Kiriyenko did not mention any physical requirements.
Russia's largest companies hope to recruit from among the contestants. The first 300 winners will receive an education grant of up to one million rubles ($17,000), to be used at any Russian university.
Kiriyenko said the winners will also benefit from the mentorship of top government officials and CEOs, including German Gref, Anton Vaino, Pavel Krasheninnikov, Sergei Lavrov, Igor Shuvalov, Sergei Shoigu, Alexei Kudrin, and others.
The deadline for applying is Nov. 6.