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10 Oct, 2021 15:36

Horror Sochi head-on collision involving daughter of Putin’s mentor & former presidential candidate Sobchak kills one person

Horror Sochi head-on collision involving daughter of Putin’s mentor & former presidential candidate Sobchak kills one person

At least one woman was killed after a car carrying journalist, liberal socialite, and former presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak collided head-on with another vehicle on a mountain road in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The accident happened late on Saturday as a rented Mercedes S500 was carrying Sobchak and two of her associates from the ski resort town of Krasnaya Polyana, a key site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, to Sochi airport. Sobchak had apparently been in Sochi to host a corporate event.

The driver of the Mercedes, with whom Sobchak said she had no connection, attempted to overtake a bus, driving into the oncoming lane, but ended up crashing head-on and at high speed into a Volkswagen Polo.

There were three people in the Volkswagen. A 35-year-old female passenger was killed on the spot, while the driver and another passenger, a 29-year-old woman, were rushed to hospital in a critical condition. After the initial collision, the Mercedes veered into the bus, which had 10 people aboard, but none of them was hurt.

Neither the driver nor the passengers of the Mercedes sought medical help at the scene, and media reports suggest it wasn’t they who had called for an ambulance. Sobchak subsequently got into another car and continued to the airport, where she reportedly took a flight to Moscow.

She took to Telegram on Sunday to confirm that she had been involved in the accident, expressing her “horror and shock that people have died.” The 39-year-old social-media darling wrote that she had been rendered unconscious as a result of the impact and had later been diagnosed with a concussion and multiple sites of internal bruising. Sobchak says that she had refused hospitalization in Sochi and had left the Black Sea resort city because she wanted to be with her son.

Sobchak insisted that she hadn’t encouraged the driver to go faster, and had been in the middle of a Zoom conference call when the crash happened. Making a dangerous maneuver had been the driver’s “personal decision,” she said. She said her manager had been the one who had called for the ambulance and checked on the condition of those in the other vehicle.

The driver of the Mercedes, Oleg Tsoy, has acknowledged his guilt to the police, and spoke to the Russian Telegram news channel Baza about the incident on Sunday. He said nobody had told him to speed up, and he hadn’t recognized his passenger.

The Volkswagen driver also spoke to the media, from hospital. He said the Mercedes had suddenly emerged from behind the bus, leaving him no time to avoid a collision. None of the people from the Mercedes had approached their car, he said, adding that it was other motorists passing by who had stopped to check on them and called for the ambulance.

Police said on Sunday that a criminal case had been launched over the fatal crash.

Ksenia Sobchak is the daughter of Anatoly Sobchak, the former mayor of St. Petersburg, whose deputy and right-hand man in the 1990s was Vladimir Putin. The Russian president has spoken highly of his mentor, who died in 2000, and has said he had learnt a lot from him.

Sobchak first made a name for herself as the host of the scandalous yet super-popular reality television show ‘Dom-2’ in the early 2000s. Back then, she was known only as a socialite and was often referred to in the media as the “Russian Paris Hilton.” She quit the show in 2012, turning towards more serious journalism, and eventually hosted programs on Russia’s Channel One, liberal TV Rain (Dozhd), and MTV Russia.

In 2018, she ran in the country’s presidential election, coming fourth, with 1.7% of the vote.

Sobchak is now the host of her own successful YouTube show, which features interviews, documentaries, and weekly news programs that regularly garner a million views per episode. She has yet to address the horror of Saturday’s crash with her audience there.

Also on rt.com Ex-Russian presidential candidate Sobchak lashes out at ‘CIA officers’ running US state media RFE/RL after top journalist fired

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