Russian TV presenter and opposition activist Ksenia Sobchak has announced she will be in the presidential election scheduled for 2018, in which she is expected to face Vladimir Putin.

“I take responsibility for any action in the social field and, aware of the risks and incredible complexities of a task like this, I decided my participation in the presidential elections can really be a step towards much needed changes for our country,” said Sobchak in a letter sent to the local newspaper ‘Vedomosti’.

“It’s too much to keep quiet, I’ve been thinking about this for months, and not because women try everything, but because that’s me, I assume all possibilities as a challenge,” he said.

Sobchak has said he supports opposition leader Alexei Navalni, who will not be able to run for election because he was convicted of fraud, charges he claims are invented.

“During the five years that followed the wave of protests in 2012, my political views were definitely settled, and I am ready to defend them at any level, even the highest,” the television host has clinched. Sobchak, known as ‘the Russian Paris Hilton’, has called for the withdrawal of the ban on Navalni, amid fears that her candidacy might split the country’s opposition.

The presenter, 35, is the daughter of Anatoli Sobchak, who was mayor of St. Petersburg between 1991 and 1996 and is considered Putin’s mentor. He rose to fame presenting a reality show and joined in 2012 the protests against the president, in a gesture considered unexpected.

Presidential spokesman Dimitri Peskov has said that his candidacy “fully corresponds to the requirements of the Russian Constitution,” according to the Russian news agency Sputnik. “Ksenia is a person with a lot of talent, in recent years he has acquired experience … But politics is something very different from journalism, it is a totally different matter”, he stressed, stating not knowing what the “political convictions” of Sobchak are.

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