Does Sobchak have a winning message for Russia beyond Moscow’s Ring Road?

Kseniya Sobchak's first presidential campaign meeting outside of Moscow was attended by slightly more than one hundred people. October 27, 2017. Yekaterinburg, Russia (Image: Konstantin Melnitsky, 66.RU)

Kseniya Sobchak's first presidential campaign meeting outside of Moscow was attended by slightly more than one hundred people. October 27, 2017. Yekaterinburg, Russia (Image: Konstantin Melnitsky, 66.RU) 

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Kseniya Sobchak has made her first foray outside of Moscow, a step that appears almost obligatory these days, with Vladimir Putin having visited numerous regions in recent months and Alexei Navalny having been compelled to do so by being blocked from organizing meetings in the capitals.

On Friday, she visited Yekaterinburg and delivered a speech in which she made ten major points, according to a regional news outlet. They consisted of the following:

  • “Crimea isn’t ours.”
  • “The population isn’t passive. There have been cases when the people have overthrown their rulers.”
  • “An ‘against all’ candidate can win. And then everything will change.”
  • “Kseniya Sobchak takes money only from ‘well-known businessmen.’”
  • “In Russia, there must not be a division between ‘chief’ and ‘not chief’ regions.”
  • “It isn’t necessary to love me. It is necessary to vote for me.”
  • “The main thing is to pull down the present system of power. Everything else will come later.”
  • “All who want to take part in the elections should be allowed to.”
  • “The power of the president should be limited to the maximum extent possible. The parliament must become a place for discussion.”
  • “The people and only the people can decide what will happen with the country.”

The regionalist portal AfterEmpire commented that “the news from Yekaterinburg elicits mixed feelings. On the one hand, Ms. Sobchak says the right things, but on the other, there is in evidence the typical Muscovite style of visiting ‘the regions’ to which compliments are paid.”

“People there have the sense,” it suggested, “that once again, [the Muscovites] want to use them as cannon fodder and then not have anything more to do with them.”

On the evidence, local residents were not much impressed with the newly-minted presidential candidate. Another regional outlet reported that her aides were having a hard time gathering signatures in support of her candidacy.

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Edited by: A. N.

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  1. Avatar veth says:

    US Representative for Ukraine Volker: Russia must withdraw its forces before UN peacekeepers enter Donbas

    Sunday, October 29, 2017 8:10:00 AM

    Russia must withdraw its forces so that the UN peacekeeping mission can start its work in the Donbas, and Ukraine must coordinate with the UN, US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker told Hromadske in an interview.

    According to him, initially the parties must agree on the mission’s mandate and determine the composition and number of its staff. These matters are the topic of current negotiations.

    He added that the mission’s presence must become a necessary element in the area of security which makes it possible to transition to the political steps prescribed in the Minsk agreements. “It is not possible to transition to other matters if security matters are not closed,” Volker said.

    According to him, if the mission is created, it must be able to carry out three primary tasks.

    “[The mission must] have complete control over the entire conflict zone, not just the line of contact, and move about it freely; monitor the storage of heavy weaponry – where it is located and where it is deployed. And thirdly, control the Russian-Ukrainian border,” Volker explained.

    He believes that compliance with these conditions is exclusively a matter of political will.

    “Minsk is not being implemented due to the absence of political will, which is driven by an absence of trust. We hope to create this will,” Volker said.

  2. Avatar veth says:

    Russian oil company Rosneft freezes oil production in the Black Sea due to sanctions

    October 29, 2017 11:00:00 AM

    Russian oil and Gas Company Rosneft has suspended oil exploration and production in the southern corner of the eastern part of the Black Sea due to five-year sanctions against Russia, reports TASS.

    The Russian Federal Agency for Subsoil Use (Rosnedra) granted Rosneft’s petition for a suspension of its license for geological exploration, exploration and production of hydrocarbons at the South Black Sea license area located in the eastern part of the Black Sea.

    “According to experts, amid the negative macroeconomic environment and sanctions restrictions, at the current moment, the project is economically inefficient,” said a Rosneft spokesman.
    “In addition, there are no drilling vessels and drilling equipment in the oilfield service market that meet the requirements of the company for a project to build a well in the South Black Sea license area,” Rosneft added.

    A representative of the Russian state corporation has said that Rosneft will constantly monitor the market and follow changes in macroeconomic parameters and, in the event of an improved price environment, will initiate an early resumption of subsoil use rights in the South Black Sea area.

    Rosneft also confirmed that the company has not changed its plans for the West Black Sea license area (Val Shatsky oil field) on the Black Sea shelf, and will soon start drilling an exploration and evaluation well in collaboration with the Italian oil company Eni.

    1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

      Good news.

  3. Avatar veth says:

    Russian translators and the media have distorted the words of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who made a visit this week to Moscow, attributing to him a quote about “the reunification of the Crimea with Russia”. The Ukrainian Ambassador to Austria, Olexander Scherba, noted the translation error on his Facebook page.

    In about the 8th minute of the 15th second you can see how totalitarian fake news works. Steinmeier speaks in German: ‘Annexion.’ The interpreter fumbles and translates: ‘reunification with Russia’,” wrote the Ambassador on the social network.
    In support of his statement, Scherba attached a video recording of the press conference of the German president to his Russian counterpart.

    As is apparent in the video, the word “annexion” is clearly heard from the mouth of Steinmeier, while the translator from German into English after a long pause translated “reunification of Crimea with Russia”.

    1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:


  4. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

    It was reported that Ksenia Sobchak’s “aides were having a hard time gathering signatures in support of her candidacy”. Should that come as any surprise considering the fact that the average Russian citizen would be loathe to provide their name for any candidate that opposed Putin as that would also provide the Russian FSB with a perfect opportunity to terrorize or even liquidate the individual who had the courage to put their name on paper? Moreover, is this not true with almost every totalitarian regime?

    1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

      Realistically Ksenia has even less chance of defeating the dwarf than Navalny so she’s harmless. Furthermore I think the dwarf WANTS her to run in order to “legitimise” his election victory, so intimidating anyone who supports her candidacy in any way would be counterproductive- she wouldn’t get the required number of signatures necessary to actually run, and thus be a non-starter.

      1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

        Any intimidation that could occur would not necessarily be concurrent during or even immediately after the election. It could happen at any time and that is what many Russians would fear.

  5. Avatar Fortranz says:

    Someone should tell Navalny to stop insulting good vegetables like that…lol

    1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

      I like the look of her! Maybe Putin’s plan is to flood the campaign media circus with eye candy to deflect from Navalny and the siloviki.

      1. Avatar Fortranz says:

        I think Putin might be trying to flood the opposition with so many candidates that this will confuse voters and so divide the opposition vote that none of them can win.

        1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

          The election will be rigged by United Russia the usual way, bussing in lunatic asylum inmates to vote for Putin at 20 different polling stations, losing opposition votes, telling all government workers to vote for UR, etc. I read in the last election students had to take a photo of their ballot with their smartphone and show it to UR goons on their way out, otherwise they were threatened with losing their student grant. Some used a piece of string to mimic a fake vote for Putin and snapped that, then cast a real vote.

          1. Avatar Fortranz says:

            I know this is why I can’t understand why so many opposition candidates? Your right no one stands a chance, so what’s the point here. My guess is Putin and the UR siloviki must think that this will make the election look legitimate to the US and EU, otherwise I see no point to it.

          2. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            There must always be an illusion of something resembling an election.