Russian TV host’s presidential bid shakes political scene

MOSCOW (AP) — A presidential bid by a celebrity TV host in Russia has stirred the country’s political world.

The 35-year old Ksenia Sobchak announced her intention to run in the March 2018 election late Wednesday, saying the country has grown tired of stagnation and needs change.

She is the daughter of Anatoly Sobchak, the reformist St. Petersburg mayor in the early 1990s. President Vladimir Putin once worked as her father’s deputy.

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 29, 2003 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with Lyudmila Narusova, right, widow of former St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, and Sobchak's daughter Ksenia, as he visited the grave of Anatoly Sobchak at a cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia. Ksenia Sobchak, the 30-year-old blond socialite and TV personality said "I'm Ksenia Sobchak, and I've got something to lose. But I'm here." when she began her unlikely foray into political activism by taking the stage at a huge anti-Putin rally in December. Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP, file)

FILE – In this Saturday, Nov. 29, 2003 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with Lyudmila Narusova, right, widow of former St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, and Sobchak’s daughter Ksenia, as he visited the grave of Anatoly Sobchak at a cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia. Ksenia Sobchak, the 30-year-old blond socialite and TV personality said “I’m Ksenia Sobchak, and I’ve got something to lose. But I’m here.” when she began her unlikely foray into political activism by taking the stage at a huge anti-Putin rally in December. Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP, file)

Putin hasn’t yet said whether he would seek re-election, but he’s widely expected to run.

Some see Sobchak’s bid as part of Kremlin efforts to enliven the race, which is set to involve a set of lackluster veterans of past campaigns.

FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, Russian socialite and TV host Ksenia Sobchak, daughter of the late St. Petersburg mayor, Anatoly Sobchak, speaks to journalists during her interview in the Echo Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio station in Moscow, Russia. The 35-year old Sobchak who gained her celebrity status by hosting a TV shows, said in a YouTube video posted Wednesday Oct. 18, 2017, that she has decided to run for president of Russia in March's election. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

FILE – In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, Russian socialite and TV host Ksenia Sobchak, daughter of the late St. Petersburg mayor, Anatoly Sobchak, speaks to journalists during her interview in the Echo Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio station in Moscow, Russia. The 35-year old Sobchak who gained her celebrity status by hosting a TV shows, said in a YouTube video posted Wednesday Oct. 18, 2017, that she has decided to run for president of Russia in March’s election. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

The involvement of Sobchak, who joined anti-Kremlin protests in 2011-2012 could help boost turnout without jeopardizing Putin’s bid.

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