Anti-Putin activist removed from Russian TV show

Ksenia Sobchak claims Kremlin behind move

MOSCOW — Ksenia Sobchak, Russian TV personality, socialite and prominent member of the anti-Vladimir Putin opposition, claimed Monday that she had been ditched from presenting music channel Muz-TV’s televised awards show Friday for political reasons.

In a message posted on Twitter, she suggested the channel had been leant on by the Kremlin: “You will all understand, I did not want this, but there was a call…”

Sobchak is understood to have been referring to the practice, common since Soviet times, of TV companies having a dedicated phone line used by the government to call producers when it wishes to influence editorial matters.

Muz-TV refused to comment.

Sobchak’s presence at mass rallies alongside opposition leaders including lawyer Alexei Navalny and left-winger Sergei Udaltsov, has attracted derision from pro-Kremlin groups.

Her news came the same day that the anti-Kremlin opposition applied to the Moscow government for a permit to hold a mass demonstration in the capital on June 12, the day Russia marks the first post Soviet constitution signed in 1993.