Journalist Ksenia Sobchak, daughter of Putin’s mentor, leaves Russia | International
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Ksenia Sobchak, daughter of the political mentor of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and journalist —sometimes an opponent; in others, a defender of the system established by the Kremlin—she has been the latest figure added to the long list of critics who have fled Russia. Sobchak has crossed the border after learning that her home and the offices of her company had been searched and after the arrest of two of her collaborators on charges of having extorted the head of the state-owned industrial giant Rostec, the Former KGB agent Sergei Chemezov. “I don’t believe it at all, and I hope that everything will be fixed soon and that it was nonsense. If not, it will have been a raid on my publishing house, the last free one in Russia, ”the activist denounced on Wednesday on her social networks, the last time she addressed this issue in public.
Ksenia Sobchak is the daughter of Anatoli Sobchak, a key figure in Russia in the 1990s due to his closeness to Boris Yeltsin and for having been the mayor of Saint Petersburg who introduced the KGB agent Putin to politics. Her widow, Liudmila Narusova, is today a senator in the Federation Council. Sobchak, the daughter, was a presenter on the independent television Dozhd, closed by the Kremlin at the beginning of the war, and a politician, the only independent candidate approved by the Kremlin electoral board for the 2018 presidential elections, where she obtained 1.6% of the support for.
The Rostec business conglomerate is, for its part, one of the most important in the country, with more than half a thousand civil and military high-tech firms. His director, who has the rank of general, accused Sobchak and his associates of having tried to obtain 11 million rubles (about 180,000 euros) in exchange for not criticizing the state giant. Chémezov is precisely one of the senior officials sanctioned for the annexation of Crimea in 2014, although this had not prevented him from maintaining a yacht and two residences in Spain until this year.
On Tuesday, the director of Sobchak’s media company, Kirill Sukhanov, was arrested, and a day later it was the turn of the former director of the magazine tattler, Arian Romanovski. According to the Russian press, Sukhanov was arrested in a restaurant when Chemezov’s representatives handed him 800,000 rubles, more than 12,000 euros. “I am prepared to plead guilty and publicly apologize to the victim,” the manager said in a Moscow court.
Sobchak fled to the European Union through Belarus. “She is in Lithuania and, as an Israeli citizen, with an Israeli passport, she does not need a visa. If I am not mistaken, she can go in and out for 90 days, ”confirmed the head of the Security Department of the Baltic country, Darius Jauniskis, to the newspaper. 15min.
the israeli newspaper Ha’aretz revealed in April that Sobchak had received citizenship from the Mediterranean country. When the war broke out, thousands of Russian citizens with Jewish ancestors began the same procedures to have a safe conduct in the event that the borders were closed, a fear that has revived the Kremlin in the last two months with the mobilization for the front and the new level alarm applied to the border regions with Ukraine.
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The Russian dissident politician Ilia Yashin, currently in prison, has raised the thesis on social networks that the accusation made against Sobchak’s team could be a trap. “In August, when he was in the Kapotnya remand center, a boy was brought to our cell. He along with a couple of friends moderated several political Telegram channels, where they published compromising evidence of officials. Among them, [Serguéi] Chemezov. In the end, they received money from assistants to the head of Rostec in exchange for removing their posts, but he later reported them. All three were jailed.”
Sobchak’s figure is also controversial among the opposition. Some accuse her of having served the Kremlin. They recently blamed him on his YouTube channel Danger: Sobchak Those who have received a mobilization letter should be advised to go to the recruitment centers and trust in justice. After his escape, they reminded him of that same video. However, it is also true that her channel has covered thorny topics, such as the brutal torture of prisoners in Russian prisons.
Fleeing from Russia would not guarantee Sobchak immunity. If the Russian justice formally confirms the accusation that he created a criminal group, a serious crime, the Russian authorities could request the international search and extradition of him. “Going abroad is not a panacea. There are certain mechanisms that, despite the current tension in international cooperation with Russia, still work, “he told the newspaper ura the director of the Moscow Bar Association, Sergei Dzhorin. However, another well-known lawyer, Sergei Badamshin, stressed on his social networks that, so far, Sobchak has not received any notification and, therefore, she is not charged.
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