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    Did Russian Presidential Hopeful Speak at the Wrong "Oxford University" Society?

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    The presidential campaign of it-girl turned journalist turned-opposition politician, Ksenia Sobchak, might have taken a rather intriguing turn when she took to an Oxford "Russian" club to present her "against all" bid for Russia's top job.

    Merely weeks after announcing her plans to run in the 2018 Presidential Elections, Sobchak left her electorate in Russia for the UK, the long-favored haven for the Russian opposition.

    The former it-girl's British tour included speeches in London as well as lectures at Britain's top universities, Oxford and Cambridge.

    READ MORE: Top 5 Russian Female Presidential Candidates Since the Beginning of the Century

    However, the Moscow socialite may have found herself in a tricky situation, when she attended an event organized by a club that appears to be an unofficial group which may not be affiliated with the University of Oxford.

    While there exists an official "Oxford Russian Society" at the University of Oxford, listed among the registered student organizations on the Universty's official website, Sobchak went to present a lecture at the "Oxford Russian Club" which is not present on the list.

    If the official registry is to be considered trustworthy, the Club may not have an official status at Oxford and could operate independently from Britain's oldest academic institution.

    The Club's website indeed omits overt references to official affiliation with the University, though it suggests being the same society that was started at Oxford by Felix Yousupoff, the Russian noble and one of the assassins of Siberian mystic Rasputin, in 1909.

    Joe Barnes, former Oxford University student and the editor of the current affairs website Jericho, told Sputnik how, in his experience, the Club manages to stage a number of events at Oxford, including Sobchak's lecture, despite the tough academic program at Britain’s leading university.

    "The university had well-attended societies for every country under the sun, and it wasn't as if the university was short of Russian students either, or indeed students of Russian. Nevertheless, there was no official university affiliated society," Barnes recalled. He said that the students had the option to turn to "a rather shady organisation" run by someone "who claimed to be from Austro-Hungarian nobility": "As far as I'm aware he didn't attend the university," Barnes said.

    "Even so, his Russian society did cater for a need. In fact, many people, including myself, who wished to practice Russian were forced to attend the Ukrainian society." In Barnes' words, the Club was "attempting to provide the forum that the university lacked", and urged against the "intellectual snobbery" against the Club.

    Sputnik has been unable to independently verify the official status of the Club.

    Related:

    Snapshots of Russia’s Opposition: Ksenia Sobchak
    Russian It-Girl Sobchak Called In for Questioning
    Tags:
    expats, club, lecture, missing, society, 2018 Russian presidential election, Oxford University, Ksenia Sobchak, Cambridge, Oxford, United Kingdom, London
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