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(SOLD OUT) Ksenia Sobchak, in conversation with Owen Matthews

Image taken from  Newsweek

Image taken from Newsweek

Please note, this event is now SOLD OUT

Missed out on your ticket? Good news, there's another event featuring Ksenia Sobchak and other guests held on the 18th of April at the Emmanuel Centre, SW1P 3DW.  Find out more about Spectator Special event: What does Russia want? and book HERE  

Please join us for an exclusive event at Pushkin House with politician Ksenia Sobchak, recent candidate in this year's Russian presidential elections. Sobchak will be in conversation with writer and journalist Owen Matthews. 

Ksenia Sobchak


Daughter of St Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak (1937-2000), Ksenia has always been in the limelight, transforming from TV star to journalist, and is now emerging as a strong opposition voice in Russian politics.

At the Russian presidential elections this year Sobchak garnered 1.1% of the vote. Sobchak says that she knew she would not win, but that it is the beginning of a longer campaign.   

Leading opposition figure and anti-corruption campaigner, Alexei Navalny, is under house arrest and was forbidden to take part in the elections. He called for a boycott. His party considered that by taking part in the elections, Sobchak undermined the boycott and consider her a Kremlin plant, serving as a protection from international criticism that Russia is anti-democratic.

Nevertheless, Sobchak emerged as the main voice of opposition in the election, challenging both the system and the President in live television debates. 

Sobchak started out with the campaign slogan: 'Against Everyone', and on the eve of the election she co-founded a new party - the Party of Changes, that she is now taking forward.

Sobchak's father was crucial in forming President Putin's career, giving her, some consider, a unique protected status. On the eve of making the decision to run in the elections, Sobchak informed Putin of her decision, to which he replied,  she reports, "every person has the right to make his own decisions and must be responsible for them." 

Sobchak is highly critical of Russia's foreign policy and of the annexation of the Crimea. 

Previous to her political career, Sobchak was a journalist for many years, most noticeably with independent TV station 'Rain'. Prior to this she was a reality-tv star. 

Owen Matthews

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Owen Matthews is a writer, historian and journalist. His first book, Stalin's Children, was shortlisted for the 2008 Guardian First Books Award, the Orwell Prize for political writing, and France's Prix Medicis Etranger.

Matthews's books have been translated into 28 languages. He is a former Moscow and Istanbul Bureau Chief for Newsweek Magazine. Matthews has lectured on Russian history and politics at Columbia University's Harriman Centre,St Antony's College Oxford, and the Journalism Faculty of Moscow State University. His other books include  Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of Russian America  (2013),  Moscou Babylone (Les Escales, 2013), and  Thinking with the Blood (Newsweek, 2014) .