Socalite-turned-journalist Ksenia Sobchak will seek Russian presidency

UPDATE 2 — 10/30, 11:29 a.m. EDT: A second challenger to Russian President Vladimir Putin emerged Monday with an announcement by 37-year-old journalist Ekaterina Gordon of her candidacy.

Ms. Gordon intends to run as an independent candidate, but needs 300,000 petition signatures to gain ballot access for the March 2018 election.

“There are many populist themes . . . But there is one reality — we are a country of single mothers, and no one gives a damn about them,” she said in a video outlining her platform.

 

UPDATE — 10/24, 9:59 a.m. EDT: Ksenia Sobchak held her first press conference Tuesday since announcing a bid for president of Russia, demanding all of the Kremlin’s political prisoners be released.

Ms. Sobchak, the daughter of Russian politicians, also said she will work ensure the approximately 30 percent of Russians who are not currently represented in parliament will have a voice by the end of her tenure.

In related news, Putin political foe, attorney Alexei Navalny was released from jail on Sunday following 20 days in detention for unlawful protest.  Navalny has served three separate sentences for leading anti-Putin protests in 2017.

 

Russian socialite and opposition journalist Ksenia Sobchak announced Wednesday she intends to seek the Russian presidency next year.

Elections across Russia are scheduled for March 2018.

“My name is Ksenia Sobchak, I’m 36 years old. And like any other citizen of Russia I now have the right to run for the presidency.  I decided to exercise that right.  Well, at least because I’m against everyone who usually exercises this right,” Sobchak said in a video posted on her website when announcing her candidacy.

An unlikely candidate, Ms. Sobchak is billing herself as a “none of the above candidate.”

Vowing to be a “a mouthpiece for those who cannot be candidates,” the neophyte candidate shifted in 2011 from her celebrity persona which launched her to stardom to the political arena in the absence of opposition leader, Alexi Navalny.

Mr. Navalny has been barred from seeking the Russian presidency.

A Navalny ally who participated in anti-Putin demonstrations in 2012, Sobchak immediately found herself embroiled in controversy over the legitimacy of her candidacy.

Critics charge her bid to unseat Vladimir Putin is a carefully-coordinated plot hatched with approval from the Kremlin to boost voter turnout.  An early September news story revealed the Kremlin had identified five women as potential challengers to Mr. Putin’s rule.

Both Putin’s spokesperson, who called Sobchak a “talented person”, and the candidate herself have insisted the attempt to unseat Russia’s current office-holder is real.

Although Mr. Putin has not yet officially announced he will seek another six-year term as Russian president, he is widely expected to announce his bid before December.

A former reality-television show star, Sobchak is the daughter of the late-Saint Petersburg mayor, Anatoly Sobchak, and former Federation Council member, Lyudmila Narusova.

 

Editor’s note: This article has been updated.

 

[Moscow Times] [RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty] [The Telegraph] [AP] [Deutche Welle] [Reuters] [Guardian Wires/RT Deutsch/YouTube] [Photo courtesy Sky News]

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