Russian Federation gets a new candidate for president. Is she serious?

Cheryl Sanders
October 19, 2017

Sobchak is positioning herself as a candidate "against everybody", but many have pointed out that her bid is likely to split the opposition vote.

Russian socialite Ksenia Sobchak is to stand in the country's presidential election in March, when Vladimir Putin is widely expected to run again. According to Sobchak, her position has now been formed.

Ms Sobchak conceded she was an unlikely candidate and said she supported opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is barred from standing.

Ms Sobchak says she will consider withdrawing her candidacy if he is allowed to enter the race. Putin, who has not announced his candidacy despite the elections being in less than six months, has been president or prime minister of Russian Federation since 1999.

Opinion polls show Mr Putin, who has dominated Russian politics for almost two decades, will comfortably win re-election if, as most observers expect, he decides to seek what would be his fourth term in March.

Sobchak's announcement ends weeks of speculation about her political ambitions.

The New Times, a respected opposition website, cited a Kremlin official on Wednesday as saying Sobchak had been offered the chance to head RT, the Kremlin-funded worldwide news channel, if she agreed to run as a quasi-opposition candidate in next year's election.

Sobchak said Wednesday she hopes to appeal to Russians disillusioned with Putin's long rule, slamming what she called Russia's "collapsing education and health care systems", and "monstrous corruption and propaganda". It was banned in 2006.

He was a co-author of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the first democratically elected mayor of Saint Petersburg. Some believe she is Putin's goddaughter, a claim that she has consistently denied.

Sobchak spoke during the 2011-2012 "white ribbon" protests against Putin, which brought out 100,000 people onto the streets in protest of vote rigging and Putin's return to the presidency in 2011.

She first gained fame for her role on the Russian Big Brother take-off Dom-2, or House-2, where contestants from across Russia live in a house together and viewers can watch their daily lives.

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