(MOSCOW, LANKAPUVATH) –Russian TV personality Ksenia Sobchak said on Wednesday she planned to run in next year’s presidential election, offering liberal voters unhappy with President Vladimir Putin’s rule someone to back, though she has little prospect of winning.
Opinion polls show Putin, who has dominated Russian politics for nearly two decades, will comfortably win re-election if, as most observers expect, he decides to seek what would be his fourth term in March.
However, a significant minority of voters accuse the Kremlin chief of overseeing a corrupt system that has isolated Russia from the outside world, and many of them have taken part in mass protests organized by Putin critic Alexei Navalny.
Russian officials say Navalny is ineligible to run for president due to a criminal conviction he says was fabricated.
Sobchak, who has been described by Vogue magazine as the Russian version of U.S. socialite Paris Hilton and is the daughter of Putin’s former mentor, said she had decided to run because she was tired of the same politicians, including Putin, running year after year.
In a video clip posted online on Wednesday evening, Sobchak, 35, said she had the right to run for Russia’s top political job under the country’s constitution, which stipulates that all candidates must be 35 or older.
“I decided to exercise that right because I am against all of those (candidates) who usually exercise that right,” she said.
“When I was 18 and was studying in university, Vladimir Putin became president of Russia. Children who were born that year will go and vote themselves this year. Just think about that.”
But some Russian liberals fear Sobchak’s participation will play into the Kremlin’s hands by splitting the opposition vote.