Staunton, October 29 – 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 Aleksey Navalny having been compelled to do so by being blocked from organizing meetings in the capitals (ng.ru/politics/2017-10-26/1_7103_navalny.html).
On Friday, she visited Yekaterinburg and delivered a speech in which she made ten major points, according to a regional news outlet (66.ru/news/politic/204439/). 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.”
· “A candidate ‘against all’ 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, Miss 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” (http://afterempire.info/2017/10/28/sobchak-ekb/).
“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 (uralinform.ru/analytics/politics/281692-stavka-sobchak-na-ekaterinburg-ne-sygrala/).
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