Presidential hopeful Ksenia Sobchak talks to the media at her last campaign event in Moscow on Thursday two days ahead of presidential elections in Russia. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
March 15 (UPI) -- Ksenia Sobchak, one of seven candidates challenging Vladimir Putin to be president of Russia this weekend, announced Thursday she created a new political party.
The socialite and television personality announced the creation of the Party of Changes during a campaign rally at Adrenaline Stadium in Moscow. Dmitry Gudkov, an opposition former member of the Duma, co-founded the party with Sobchak.
"We want a normal life. We won't allow our future to be stolen. We are uniting in the Party of Changes so that these changes come true," she told her supporters.
Sobchak said the goal of the party is to return freedom to Russians. The Moscow Times, citing the Russian-language Vedomosti business daily, said the party's structure would model that of the Civil Initiative Party, under which Sobchak was running for president.
A recent state-run poll shows Sobchak has a less than 2 percent chance of winning the presidency; she largely enjoys the support of the country's liberal elite. The poll found that Putin has a 69 percent to 73 percent chance of winning his third term as president.
Sobchak is the daughter of the late Anatoly Sobchak, the former mayor of St. Petersburg, who introduced Putin into a government career. She traveled to Washington, D.C., in February to speak at the National Press Club and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
She said she hopes to improve the relationship between Russia and the United States, even if her chances of winning the presidency are low.
"Russia is a huge country with big economy, which you know has nuclear weapons and it's not a good way of communication, like we do it now," Sobchak said. "I want to be a first bridge between our countries and to show that even during my presidential campaign this issue is very important to me, and to find some solutions, some links with each other, to which we can little by little become, create a better situation for both of our countries."
Russian voters head to the polls Sunday.