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The Daily Vertical: Sobchak Says The Unsayable (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Crimea is Ukrainian territory. Full stop.

Russia violated international law when it annexed the peninsula.

And the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov -- a resident of Crimea who publicly opposed the annexation and was subsequently imprisoned for "terrorism" -- is a political prisoner who should be released.

Saying any of these things -- or even reposting or liking such remarks on social media -- could get most Russians prosecuted for supporting separatism and extremism.

But Ksenia Sobchak said all of them; and she said them live and on camera in her first press conference as a presidential candidate.

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In a separate interview, Sobchak also said that Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov "has blood on his hands" for his role in Russia's intervention in the Donbas.

It is, of course, highly unlikely that Sobchak will be prosecuted for separatism or extremism.

It's also unlikely that such positions will win her many votes.

And those taking a cynical view of her candidacy will be quick to point out that Sobchak is playing the role of Kremlin foil and patsy to a tee; that she is being the perfect caricature of a liberal opponent to Vladimir Putin.

But this all misses an important point.

By saying these true but forbidden facts openly, plainly, and publicly, Sobchak -- who, by the way, has more than 1.6 million Twitter followers -- is making them a legitimate part of the public discourse.

And that is long overdue.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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