Russian opposition celebrity warns against revolution

Mon Dec 3, 2012 6:44pm EST

* Former tabloid celebrity, Sobchak has embraced politics

* Says is optimistic about opposition prospects

* But warns ordinary people would lose out in a revolution

By Maria Golovnina

LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Socialite-turned-Kremlin-critic Ksenia Sobchak told Russian dissidents in London on Monday that growing repression at home would prompt more and more people to fight for change but warned that a full-blown revolution could destroy her country.

Once an apolitical tabloid celebrity and a Playboy cover girl, Sobchak has emerged as an unlikely but fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin in the past year, taking on a man who was once a close political ally and friend of her late father.

Addressing an audience of activists, academics and ordinary Russians, Sobchak urged fellow opposition politicians to undermine Putin's rule by poaching potential dissidents from within the system, and campaigning for free and fair elections.

"We are living in a very dynamically changing situation. A lot of the people who have fallen out of love with Putin are not going to fall in love with him again," Sobchak, 31, said.

"(But) in a revolutionary scenario it would be the people who would ultimately lose ... In a revolutionary scenario we would all lose, not just Putin."

Since returning to the Kremlin for a six-year third term, Putin and his administration have enacted a raft of laws that critics say are aimed at cracking down on dissent, a process Sobchak said was fuelling public anger.

The daughter of late St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak for whom Putin worked as a deputy in the 1990s, she was once dubbed "Russia's Paris Hilton" and is a household name in her native Russia for hosting a TV reality show.

However, state TV channels shunned her after she joined the opposition, prompting one U.S. newspaper to describe her as a "stiletto in Putin's side".

Her apartment was raided by police ahead of a June protest against Putin and she is now one of the faces of the movement, though her views are seen as moderate compared to other figures and some in the opposition question her credibility.

"The protest in Russia is not just a political protest, it's a generational protest," said Sobchak, dressed demurely in a simple black and green dress. "And despite the tough period that lies ahead, this is an inevitable process towards success."

Russia's opposition movement, which drew tens of thousands of demonstrators in Moscow in the months following the Dec. 4 parliamentary and March 4 presidential elections, has dwindled in recent months, failing to galvanise activists.

The Kremlin denies it is clamping down on the opposition for political reasons but has accused foreign governments, including the United States, of meddling in Russia's domestic affairs.

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (4)
Catlady123 wrote:
Odd how so many peoples are calling for uprisings and revolution. I thought it was only happening in the US. Clearly something dark in the air.

Dec 03, 2012 10:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DeanMJackson wrote:
The article reads, “Once an apolitical tabloid celebrity and a Playboy cover girl, Sobchak has emerged as an unlikely but fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin in the past year, taking on a man who was once a close political ally and friend of her late father.”

Ladies and gentlemen, she’s a Communist and her father (Anatoly Sobchak) joined the Communist Party in 1988, as is Putin and all the Presidents that the Russian “electorate” did NOT elect into office since the “collapse” of the USSR; all Soviet era Communist Party members! In other words, the “collapse” of the USSR was a strategic ruse. Imagine black South Africans electing President “former” National Party members after Apartheid collapsed in 1994?!

By the way, the Russian “opposition movement’s” leaders are KGB agents. Communist strategists call this tactic the “Scissors Strategy”. In other words, the legitimate opposition are left in the middle wondering why political change isn’t taking place. It’s a very old trick that you, the reader, should already know of.

Can you imagine a legitimate “collapse” of the USSR where Lenin’s tomb in Red Square isn’t destroyed and his body buried? Yet the media and American government does its best to pretend nothings strange in the “former” USSR.

Notice anything odd about the characters on this sample list of Presidents of the “former” USSR republics:


Levon Ter-Petrossian – October 16, 1991 – February 3, 1998, Communist.

Robert Kocharyan – February 4, 1998 – April 9, 2008, Communist.

Serzh Azati Sargsyan – April 9, 2008 – Present, Communist.


Ayaz Niyazi oğlu Mütallibov – October 30, 1991 – March 6, 1992, Communist.

Abulfez Elchibey – June 16, 1992 – September 1, 1993, not Communist.

Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev – June 24, 1993 – October 31, 2003, Communist.

Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev (Son of third President) – October 31, 2003 – Present, Communist.


Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko – July 20, 1994 – Present, Communist.


Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev – April 24, 1990 – Present, Communist.


Askar Akayevich Akayev – October 27, 1990 – March 24, 2005, Communist.

Ishenbai Duyshonbiyevich Kadyrbekov – March 24, 2005 – March 25, 2005 (Interim), Communist.

Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev – March 25, 2005 – April 15, 2010, Communist.

Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva – April 7, 2010 – December 1, 2011 Communist.

Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev – December 1, 2011 – Present, Communist.


Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin – July 10, 1991 – December 31, 1999 – Communist.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – 31 December 1999 – 7 May 2000 (Acting) and May 7, 2000 – May 7, 2008 – Communist.

Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev – May 7, 2008 – May 7, 2012, during his studies at the University he joined the Communist Party.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – May 7, 2012 – Present, Communist.


Emomalii Rahmon – November 20, 1992 – Present, Communist.


Leonid Makarovych Kravchuk, December 5, 1991 – July 19, 1994, joined Ukraine Communist Party in 1958.

Leonid Danylovych Kuchma, July 19, 1994 – January 23, 2005, Communist, 1960.

Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko, January 23, 2005 – February 25, 2010, Communist, 1980.

Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych, February 25, 2010 – Present, Communist, 1980.


Islam Abdug‘aniyevich Karimov – March 24, 1990 – Present, Communist.

All were Communist Party members during the Soviet era!

Imagine it’s 1784 America. The Treaty of Paris (1783) was signed the previous year ending the revolutionary war with Britain. So who do the electorates of the newly independent 13 colonies elect for their respective governors? They elect persons who were Loyalists (American supporters of Great Britain) during the war for independence! Of course, in reality the persecution was so bad for Loyalists in post independence America that they had to flee the country en masse for Canada.

Dec 04, 2012 9:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
jstein650 wrote:
to DeanMJackson: Very interesting indeed. This is news to me, as I’m sure it would be to most Americans. This kind of thing is not taught or reported at all here. At any rate, I believe most in the media lean socialist/communist. They certainly did their best getting our current leader reelected.

Dec 04, 2012 4:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.