Russia: Daughter of Putin's political mentor flees to Lithuania

Raid on Ksenia Sobchak
Putin’s adopted daughter flees to Lithuania

Xenia Sobchak has repeatedly criticized the Russian attack on Ukraine on her YouTube channel – and yet she has remained unmolested for several months. Suddenly the police are investigating the former Russian presidential candidate. The 40-year-old thinks she knows why.

A prominent Russian TV presenter and former presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak left her homeland for Lithuania. “She’s in Lithuania,” the country’s intelligence chief, Dariusz Juneskes, confirmed on the radio. The 40-year-old entered the country on an Israeli passport. “She doesn’t need a visa and she can come here and stay for 90 days if I’m not mistaken.”

The journalist is the daughter of Anatoly Alexandrovich Sobchak, who in the 1990s served as the mayor of Saint Petersburg and was a political advisor to the President of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin. So for a long time she enjoyed more freedom in Russia than other members of the opposition. But this week, the judiciary arrested a confidant of Sobchak on charges of extortion. State media reported that Sobchak is also under investigation. The investigations have not been officially confirmed, but a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that there are “more serious allegations” against Sobchak than mere extortion.

Sobchak ran against Putin in the Kremlin race. According to critics, this should give the election a touch of openness.

(Photo: Reuters)

Russian news agency TASS and state broadcaster RT, citing police, reported that Sobchak was involved in a large-scale extortion case. Such an offense in Russia can be punished with up to 15 years in prison. Sobchak is said to be Putin’s granddaughter. Her father Anatoly, the late mayor of Saint Petersburg, was once the president and professor of the Russian president.

“Attack on my editorial office”

According to TASS, Sobchak’s home was already searched on Wednesday morning. In addition, the commercial director of your media company Attention Media was arrested after he was said to have accepted a payment of 800,000 rubles (about 13,000 euros). Attention Media operates, among other things, on Sobchak’s YouTube channel with more than three million subscribers. The journalist there has repeatedly criticized Russia’s attack on Ukraine in recent months.

On Telegram, Sobchak denied the allegations against her. It is an attempt to put pressure on your media company. “This is clearly an attack on my editorial office, the last free editorial office in Russia that should have come under pressure,” the 40-year-old wrote. Hope there is a misunderstanding.

Sobchak ran in the 2018 Russian presidential election against the incumbent Putin. At the time, observers accused her of allowing herself to be exploited to give the election the appearance of competition.

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