- According to multiple reports, a Russian media star with strong ties to Putin has fled the country.
- Ksenia Sobchak, rumored to be Putin’s granddaughter, is in Lithuania, officials there said.
- Sobchak left after searching her home in connection with a high-profile extortion case.
A prominent journalist rumored to be the granddaughter of President Vladimir Putin has fled Russia, according to multiple reports.
Ksenia Sobchak left Russia late Tuesday and entered Lithuania using an Israeli passport, state media TASS reported, citing an unnamed law enforcement officer.
On Wednesday, police raided her Moscow home as part of an extortion case targeting one of her colleagues, TASS said, again citing law enforcement sources who were unnamed. A warrant was issued for the arrest.
TASS reports that Sobchak fled overland to Lithuania via Belarus late Tuesday after trying to confuse police by buying tickets to Dubai and Turkey.
A video circulating on social media that the insider was unable to verify appears to show her walking across the Belarusian-Lithuanian border accompanied by two men.
Sobchak, which runs the Ostrozhno.Media group, fled after commercial director Kirill Sukhanov was detained and raided.
After Skanov’s arrest, she posted on Telegram that the matter was “nonsense” and “new pressure on domestic journalism.”
Ariane Romanovsky, the former editor of Russia’s Tatler magazine, was also arrested in the same case, TASS reported.
Russian officials have accused the head of defense conglomerate Rostec of extorting two men, TASS reported.
Sobchak, 40, is a prominent television anchor and socialite who has made a name for herself on reality TV. She later distanced herself from her “Russian Paris Hilton” image and ran for president of Russia.
She is the daughter of Anatoly Sobchak and was the first post-Soviet mayor of St. Petersburg in the early 1990s, with Vladimir Putin as vice president.
Since then, Putin has called Sobchak his mentor, and it has long been rumored that Xenia is Putin’s daughter of God.
Although she has sometimes taken a liberal stance and has criticized Putin’s government, some critics believe her presidential run was engineered to give the impression of a highly competitive election in Russia. regarded as a feint.
Putin has cracked down on the Russian press in recent years, almost silencing independent journalism in the country at the time of the invasion of Ukraine.
Lithuanian counterintelligence chief Darius Jauniszkis said Sobchak had the right to remain in Lithuania for 90 days, TASS reported.