Sobchak, Anatoly Aleksandrovich


Sobchak, Anatoly Aleksandrovich
(1937–2000)
   Politician. The first democratically elected mayor of St. Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak taught for several years at the Leningrad State University where his students included two future presidents, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvyedev. As an independent (non-Communist) member of the Congress of People’s Deputies in the late Soviet period with a legal background, Sobchak contributed greatly to the rewriting of law in the country, as well as crafting the Russian Constitution after independence when he served on Boris Yeltsin’s Presidential Council.
   In June 1991, he won the race for mayor of his hometown in an election that also restored the historic name of the former capital (St. Petersburg). He served as mayor until 1996, overseeing the city’s revival as a major international tourism destination and the site of important sporting events. He fled to Paris in 1997 in the midst of corruption allegations relating to privatization of real estate. Upon his ascendency, Vladimir Putin arranged for the charges to be dropped, and Sobchak returned to Russia. The former mayor died of a heart attack under somewhat suspicious circumstances on 20 February 2000. He had been campaigning for Putin in Kaliningrad. Sobchak’s daughter, Kseniya, is a Russian media celebrity who has worked on many popular television projects. She is known for her provocative sexual behavior and she has undermined Russia’s feminists by asserting women’s traditional role as sexual objects.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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