An arrest warrant was issued for Ksenia Sobchak, reportedly Putin’s goddaughter and a celebrity journalist, for her criticism of the Russia Ukraine war. Before she became a prominent TV journalist, she also ran for President as an opposition candidate in the 2018 elections.
Sobchak’s arrest warrant came as a surprise and a dire warning to many since she is also the daughter of former Putin boss and mentor, Anatoly Sobchak, who was St. Petersburg’s first democratically elected mayor. Vladimir Putin who at the time was deputy mayor, allegedly became Ksenia’s godfather.
Russia’s law against criticizing the ‘special military operation in Ukraine’ sentences dissidents for up to 10 years in prison. Putin’s government does not spare even high-profile Russians as Sobchak’s case reveals.
Sergei Markov, a pro-Kremlin analyst, says Vladimir Putin is sending a message to the elites, one in which zero tolerance will be shown towards voicing out criticism on Ukraine, The Telegraph reported today.
“If they can arrest the daughter of Putin’s patron… it means there are no untouchables, for some members of the elites, an arrest warrant for Sobchak is a blazing sign in the skies.”
Even though Sobchak’s whereabouts are not confirmed, reports suggest she skillfully diverted authorities by booking decoy trips from Moscow to Dubai with Turkey as a final destination. But she allegedly fled through Belorussia to end up in Lithuania, Sky News reports. She is “probably the most famous Russian to flee the country during this period.”
In the past, she was accused by anti-Putin opponents of enjoying royalty status and playing her part in many Vladimir Putin façades.
Alexei Navalny, the jailed opposition leader, once described Sobchak’s run for president as a Kremlin ploy to legitimize staged elections and called her “a parody liberal candidate.”
She is believed to have enjoyed free reign by the Kremlin in criticizing the government, and in posing tricky questions during her interviews with Vladimir Putin, which analysts say were highly choreographed. This latest development puts in question these speculations.