Russian journalist and rumored goddaughter of Putin flees to Lithuania Russia

Russian journalist and TV personality Ksenia Sobchak – the daughter of Vladimir Putin’s former boss – fled to Lithuaniathe intelligence services of Vilnius reported, after the police raided one of her houses in Moscow.

A well-known media personality in Russia, Sobchak first rose to fame as a reality show host before pursuing a career in journalism. She also In 2018, he ran for president of Russiaits critics say it was a publicity stunt designed to help the Kremlin create the appearance of a competitive election.

She is the daughter of former St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, whom Putin has previously described as his mentor. She is rumored to be Putin’s goddaughter, and although this has not been confirmed, her long-standing family ties to the Russian president have fueled mistrust among opposition groups.

Russian media reported that Mr. Sobchak fled Russia on Tuesday night, crossing the border between Belarus and Lithuania after defrauding Russian authorities by buying plane tickets from Moscow to Dubai via Istanbul.

CCTV footage circulating online shows Sobchak with her face covered and a cap on as she crosses what appears to be the Lithuanian border on foot.

“Without a doubt she is [in Lithuania] … I confirm the fact,” Darius Jauniškis, head of the country’s counterintelligence service, told local radio on Thursday morning.

He said Sobchak crossed the border with his Israeli passport. Last month, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia introduced an entry ban for Russian citizens holding tourist visas.

“As an Israeli citizen with a valid passport, she does not need a visa, she can come to Lithuania and stay here for up to 90 days,” said J. Jauniškis.

According to Russian state news agency Tass, the country’s security services had orders to arrest Sobchak as a suspect in the same criminal case as its media director Kirill Suchanov.

A Moscow court on Wednesday jailed Sukhanov on charges of defrauding the head of Russia’s state defense corporation Rostec and ex-KGB general Sergei Chemezov, who is close to Putin, of 11 million.

Sobchak and the prosecutor’s office have not officially commented on her status in the investigation.

She also did not comment on her movement, but said on Telegram on Wednesday that the case against Sukhanov was politically motivated and related to her Ostorozhno Media project. She called his arrest “another example of pressure on the media.”

Sukhanov is the commercial director of Ostorozhno Media, one of the only Russian news projects that has been critical of the Kremlin since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Sobchak hinted on Telegram that his arrest was linked to a documentary series about torture in Russian prisons.

If formal charges are brought, the move against Sobchak would be another escalation in the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent as the authorities seek to further narrow any space for criticism in the country.

“Sobchak always tried to sit in both chairs,” Aleksandr Rodnyansky, a prominent Ukrainian-born film director and longtime friend, wrote on his Instagram feed Thursday, referring to her journalism while maintaining personal ties to the ruling elite.

“It might have been possible before, but times have changed… And now she’s on the run from a case she made up.”

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