Ksenia Sobchak, the prominent TV journalist and Russia’s ‘Paris Hilton’ as she is known, had fled her country after reports emerged that she was wanted as a suspect in an extortion case involving the director of her media company.
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Reports previously suggested her arrest was rather about curtailing her critique of the war in Ukraineand in that way sending a message against outcry by the Moscow elites.
Allegations about Extortion
Sobchak, who is alsoVladimir Putin’s alleged goddaughter,fled the country just hours before police raided her luxury mansion in a Moscow suburb.
Sobchak’s escape planderailed authorities who picked up her decoy trip through Turkey to Dubai when in fact she escaped to Lithuania through Belorussia, Daily Mail reports.
Reports now have surfaced that Sobchak has returned to Russia.
According to the Russian state media outlet, Ria Novosti, Sobchak's mother was cited saying that her daughter will return home soon. Meanwhile, eyewitnesses have placed Sobchak and her spouse, Konstantin Bogomolov, at a border crossing in the Pskov region entering Russia.
'She crossed the border through the 'Burachki' checkpoint on the border with Latvia,'
According to News360, there was no arrest warrant against Sobchak, yet she was wanted as a suspect in an extortion case brought against Kirill Sukhanov, Sobchak’s business manager in hermedia company ‘Ostorozhno.Media’.
Sukhanov had previously been arrested, in a move which Sobchak described as ‘another instance of pressure against the media in Russia.' Radio Free Europe reports.
Message to the Elites
Sobchak had recently been criticising the Ukraine War on her social media channels.
Analysts perceived the police raid on her home two weeks ago as an attempt by Vladimir Putin and his cronies to silence outcry against the ‘special military operation in Ukraine’ which has also been put into law.
Any individual criticising or spreading fake news about Russia’s actions in Ukraine can be imprisoned for up to 15 years.
Sobchak's attempt to flee the country in late October has been described by analysts as probably the most high-profile escape of a Russian celebrity during this period.
Sobchak also ran for President as an opposition candidate in the 2018 elections. An action which was criticised at the time by the jailed opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, as a plot by the Kremlin to legitimise rigged elections.
Navalny had referred to Sobchak as the ‘parody liberal candidate’.
Nevertheless, she was believed to enjoy a free reign especially in criticising the government and posing tricky questions while interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Actions which were described by analysts as highly choreographed acts.
-DailyMail: ‘Mystery as Putin's 'goddaughter' who fled Russia for the West a week ago because she was in 'big trouble' is now said to be returning 'very soon'
-News360: ‘Journalist Ksenia Sobchak returns to Russia two weeks after fleeing the country following raid on her home’