Published: Thu, October 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

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

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

Russia's answer to Paris Hilton, TV personality Ksenia Sobchak, says she plans to run for president next year, offering liberal voters an alternative to President Vladimir Putin.

However he had warned her not to stand and some commentators now predict an opposition split. But many Kremlin critics remain suspicious of her motives for involvement in opposition politics. Both Navalny and his chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, are serving 20 days in jail on protest-related charges.

Ms Sobchak, who has been described by Vogue magazine as the Russian version of USA socialite Paris Hilton and is the daughter of Mr Putin's former mentor, said she had chose to run because she was exhausted of the same politicians, including Putin, running year after year.

Sobchak's announcement ends weeks of speculation about her political ambitions. He scorned her as a showbiz celebrity, only seeking more social media "likes" and followers.

Earlier in her career, Sobchak appeared in reality TV shows and posed in Russian Playboy. That scenario looks highly improbable though. It is language that she borrows quite heavily from Mr Navalny.

Ms Sobchak says she will consider withdrawing her candidacy if he is allowed to enter the race.

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According to her website, Sobchak has already gathered nearly 2,000 signatures from the necessary 100,000 in order to be eligible to run for the presidency. The first two refer to opposition candidates. Children who were born that year will go and vote themselves this year.

Ms Sobchak, a journalist and TV presenter, called for the bar on him standing to be lifted.

"I am against revolution but I am a good middleman and organiser", Ms Sobchak wrote in a letter published on the website of Vedomosti business daily. "Well, at least because I'm against everyone who usually uses this right".

The presidential election in Russian Federation will take place on March 18, 2018.

President Putin, who first took office as president in 2000, has not announced yet whether he will stand again.

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