Russian TV personality Ksenia Sobchak arrives in Lithuania


VILNIUS, Lithuania –

Russian TV personality Ksenia Sobchak — the glamorous daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s one-time boss — has arrived in Lithuania on an Israeli passport after fleeing Russian investigators who raided her house this week, officers stated Thursday.

“Citizens of (Israel) don’t want a visa and are allowed to remain in the nation for 90 days,” Darius Jauniskis, head of Lithuania’s State Security Department, instructed a neighborhood radio station. Jauniskis stated Lithuania has no proof of any risk that Sobchak may pose to nationwide safety.

“If we had something, sure acceptable measures could be taken,” he instructed the Ziniu Radijas station.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis instructed reporters that “Ms. Sobchak at the moment just isn’t included in any sanctions checklist of the EU, U.Ok. or the U.S. This doesn’t imply that it can not happen.”

Landbergis stated Sobschak would possibly have already got left Lithuania as she had entered Europe’s passport-free journey zone — a 26-country space made up of a lot of the EU members plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Israeli residents with a sound passport can journey freely inside Europe’s visa-free zone, generally known as the Schengen space.

“Ms. Sobchak may need left Lithuania’s territory already as a result of she just isn’t restricted in her motion to Poland, to different European nations, or to the north,” he stated, in line with the Baltic News Service, the area’s fundamental information company.

A video from a surveillance digicam reveals Sobchak coming into Lithuania on foot and speaking to frame officers.

Lithuania and different Baltic states together with Poland stopped admitting Russian residents who maintain a sound Schengen visa again in September, a transfer to assist Ukraine. Hundreds have been turned away, however many nonetheless entered after presenting passports of different nations on the border.

Sobchak, 40, has typically been important of Putin, however many Russian opposition figures have accused her of serving the Kremlin’s agenda. In 2018, she grew to become a liberal challenger in Russia’s presidential election, ending a distant fourth with about 1.7% of the vote in what her critics described as a Kremlin effort so as to add a democratic veneer to Putin’s sweeping re-election.

Russian media claimed she had purchased tickets to Dubai and Turkey to mislead the authorities however ultimately left for Belarus, from the place she travelled to Lithuania. The reviews claimed that investigators suspected Sobchak of being concerned in an extortion scheme alongside together with her media director and alleged {that a} warrant was issued for her arrest.

The Russian information company Tass additionally cited data from the probe indicating that Sergei Chemezov, a longtime Putin affiliate who heads the state Rostec company, a conglomerate controlling Russian aviation industries and different high-tech property, was the sufferer of alleged extortion.

The claims could not be independently confirmed.

Sobchak, the daughter of Anatoly Sobchak, a liberal mayor of St. Petersburg for whom Putin served as a deputy in the Nineties, has in depth contacts amongst Russia’s wealthy and highly effective, and the search of her house topped home information.

She has 9.4 million followers on Instagram, and her glamour, sharp wit and defiant methods have made her each liked and loathed. Sobchak first gained fame as a modern socialite and actuality TV star and was as soon as dubbed the “Russian Paris Hilton,” however later sought to shed her spoiled and boastful picture. She received concerned in politics when becoming a member of the huge protests in Moscow in opposition to Putin in 2011-12, and later reinvented herself as a severe TV journalist and opposition activist.

Sobchak has denied serving the Kremlin’s agenda by operating as a challenger to Putin in 2018. Opposition chief Alexei Navalny denounced her for discrediting the opposition by becoming a member of the race, saying that she was a “parody of a liberal candidate” and her involvement in the marketing campaign helped the Kremlin forged the opposition in a damaging mild.


Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report


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