If Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to run for re-election in next year’s race, he will face off against television journalist and socialite Ksenia A. Sobchak.
On Wednesday, Sobchak, 35, announced her plans for a presidential campaign on YouTube (video below) as well as in a letter published in Vedomosti, Russia’s main business daily, according to The New York Times.
“You want to show your active position, but your candidate is not authorized to run? You don’t have a candidate? Tick Sobchak,” she wrote in Vedomosti, in reference to Aleksei A. Navalny, Putin’s primary liberal opposition. He’s not allowed to run due to a fraud case, but continues to campaign, the Times reports.
Sobchak wishes to establish herself as a candidate who would oppose the current state of politics in the country, as well as give a voice to those weary of the current leadership.
“You’re just using a legal and peaceful opportunity to say, ‘Enough! I’m fed up with this!’” she wrote.
Sobchak is the daughter of the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Anatoly A. Sobchak, a former mentor of Putin’s. Putin was also a political associate of the mayor, having managed a campaign for Mr. Sobchak.
During an interview the candidate conducted after her announcement, Sobchak said she’d already told Putin about her plans to run. “He said that every person can make their own decisions and take responsibility for them, too,” she said. “I didn’t feel that he liked my decision.“
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, described Sobchak as “talented,” but said she didn’t know much about the political world and would be starting from scratch, as journalism is different from acting in an official capacity.
Sobchak, who is married with an infant son, is described to have an “upscale lifestyle,” which she often highlights on on social media. “Her account is an endless parade of Paris fashion shows, yoga retreats, yachts and expensive restaurants,” the Times writes.
Putin has not yet announced his plans but is expected to run for a fourth term.
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