Investigators attack home Russian celeb Ksenia Sobchak. inside

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian investigators raided the home of Ksenia Sobchak, the glamorous daughter of former Russian President Vladimir Putin boss, on Wednesday in a move that has sent shockwaves through the country’s political scene.

Sobchak, a 40-year-old TV star, has often been critical of Putin, but many Russian opposition figures have described her as a Kremlin project. In 2018, she became a liberal challenger in the Russian presidential election, finishing in a distant fourth place with about 1.7% of the vote in what her critics described as an attempt by the Kremlin to add a democratic veneer to the vote. sweeping re-election of Putin.

Investigators said the search of Sobchak’s luxury home in a prestigious Moscow suburb was part of an investigation into alleged misconduct by her media director, Kirill Sukhanov, who was arrested on extortion charges.

Sobchak Tuesday dismissed the accusations against Sukhanov as “excitement and nonsense” and described his arrest as part of the authorities’ efforts to silence independent media.

State news agencies Tass and RIA-Novosti said Sobchak had fled Russia. Tass claimed she bought tickets to Dubai and Turkey to mislead authorities, but eventually left for Belarus, from where she moved to Lithuania.

Sobchak did not comment on the allegations and her whereabouts were unknown.

Sobchak is the daughter of Anatoly Sobchak, a liberal mayor of Saint Petersburg for whom Putin was deputy in the 1990s.

Sobchak has 9.4 million followers on Instagram, and her glamour, sharp wit and defiant manners have made her both loved and loathed.

She first rose to fame as a fashionable socialite and reality TV star and was once dubbed the “Russian Paris Hilton,” but later tried to get rid of her spoiled and arrogant image.

Sobchak became involved in politics when she took part in the mass protests in Moscow against Putin in 2011-12, later reinventing herself as a serious TV journalist and opposition activist.

Sobchak has denied serving the Kremlin’s agenda by acting as a challenger to Putin in 2018. But opposition leader Alexei Navalny berated her for discrediting the opposition by joining the race. campaign helped the Kremlin portray the opposition in a negative light.

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