<p>Russian celebrity and presidential hopeful Ksenia Sobchak’s comments on the status of the annexed Crimean peninsula have reinvigorated a debate in Russian political circles.</p> <p>Sobchak last week announced she would run for president in March 2018 elections, which are expected to give Vladimir Putin a fourth term. Sobchak’s critics have dismissed her as a “spoiler candidate,” included in the campaign for entertainment value. </p> <p>During her first press conference since announcing, Sobchak said that “according to international law, Crimea belongs to Ukraine. Period.”</p> <p>Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014, to widespread international condemnation.</p> <p>“We violated our word, we violated the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. We promised and we did not fulfill that promise,” Sobchak said.</p> <p>In liberal circles, her comment was received with skepticism. Commentators pointed to earlier posts from Sobchak in which she appeared to support the annexation.<br /> </p> <p>“All of my friends are against Crimea,” she <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/xenia_sobchak/status/447265830330716160">said </a>on Twitter in March 2014. “I’m alone and proud in believing it was a brilliant political maneuver.”</p> <p>In pro-Kremlin circles, however, her recent remarks stirred controversy for a different reason. Russia’s jurisdiction over Crimea “is in no way up for discussion with anyone,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.<br /> </p> <p>“This is an incorrect statement in substance and in form,” Peskov was <a target="_blank" href="http://tass.ru/politika/4675616">cited</a> as saying by the state-run TASS news agency.</p> <p>Crimea’s former Prosecutor General and current State Duma Deputy Natalia Poklonskaya also jumped on the bandwagon.</p> <p>“[Sobchak’s words] can only be uttered by a person who can’t see beyond their clubbing circuit and the creative minority,” Poklonskaya <a target="_blank" href="https://ria.ru/politics/20171024/1507470068.html">told</a> the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday. “Surely there is no one by now who doesn’t know that Crimea and Sevastopol are part of Russia?”</p> <p>“Literally no world power, not even Belarus, has recognized Crimea’s incorporation into Russia,” Sobchak <a target="_blank" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BaqdfszBVhu/?taken-by=xenia_sobchak">quipped</a> in response in an Instagram post. “Not even Russia’s [state lender] Sberbank recognizes Crimea as part of Russia.”<br /> </p> <p>In his usual exaggerated style, Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky described Sobchak’s statement as a crime.<br /> </p> <p>“She should be jailed for five years,” the RIA Novosti news agency <a target="_blank" href="http://tass.ru/politika/4675101">cited </a>Zhirinovsky as telling reporters on Wednesday. “It is nonsense, savagery, and no one will shut her mouth.”</p> <p>Asked by reporters whether Sobchak could be held criminally liable for the remarks, Peskov declined to comment.</p> </div> <div class="navigation-inner"><a class="prev-post" href="http://cultureru.com/moscow-authorities-allow-nationalist-march/" rel="next">Moscow Authorities Allow Nationalist March</a><a class="next-post" href="http://cultureru.com/the-healing-power-of-greek-tragedy/" rel="prev">The Healing Power of Greek Tragedy</a></div> <div class="gap-20"></div> </article><!-- #post-18559 --> </div><!-- #content .wf-cell --> </div><!-- .wf-container --> </div><!-- .wf-wrap --> </div><!-- #main --> <!-- !Bottom-bar --> <div id="bottom-bar" role="contentinfo"> <div class="wf-wrap"> <div class="wf-table wf-mobile-collapsed"> <div class="wf-td"> </div> </div> </div><!-- .wf-wrap --> </div><!-- #bottom-bar --> <a href="#" class="scroll-top"></a> </div><!-- #page --> <script type="text/javascript">(function(w,doc) { if (!w.__utlWdgt ) { w.__utlWdgt = true; var d = doc, s = d.createElement('script'), g = 'getElementsByTagName'; s.type = 'text/javascript'; s.charset='UTF-8'; s.async = true; s.src = ('https:' == w.location.protocol ? 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