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To those who question the sincerity of her transformation, Miss Sobchak asserts that her move toward the opposition was long in the making. In an interview following her debut at the Dec. 24 protest, Miss Sobchak said the entertainment industry had served as her escape from her expected path. After graduating from a Moscow university favored by Russia’s political elite, she knew she could have had her pick of government jobs.

“It was a conscious choice, to build my own career, to make a name for myself,” she said in the January interview with the New Times weekly. “Another issue here, of course, is that I used all means to build it and was ready to pay any price for it.”

Her embrace of the opposition was another conscious choice, she said. “I'm against this system. I'm against bureaucratization, corruption, seeing the same people in power,” Miss Sobchak said in the New Times interview. “But I'm not personally against Putin.”

When she took the stage at the opposition rally, dressed in jeans and a white bomber jacket, Miss Sobchak was visibly nervous.

“The most important thing is to be able to influence the government, not seek to overthrow it,” she told the crowd to shouts of “bitch” and worse. At later rallies, she was met with more restraint and even some applause.

The socialite’s public stand has taken a toll on her career. Previously a welcome guest on entertainment shows on all national television channels, Miss Sobchak says she has effectively been blacklisted by the Kremlin-controlled networks. Her attempt to bring political discourse to a younger audience failed when her show on Russian MTV was taken off the air after just one show.

The early morning raid on her apartment this week, though, was the first time she had come under direct pressure. The investigators announced the seizure of the $1.3 million in cash, apparently hoping the enormous sum would dispel any sympathy for Miss Sobchak. She said she earned that money as one of Russia’s best-paid television personalities and she was keeping the cash at home because she doesn’t trust Russia’s banks.

Miss Sobchak said the search was humiliating but would not change what she describes as her “moderate” political views.

“I still stick to the same things,” she said in the radio interview. “You can’t just chant, ‘Putin, go away!’ because it doesn’t make any sense at this point. We need to chant, ‘Putin, give back our votes!’ “

A month before her debut at the protest rally, Miss Sobchak starred in an hourlong talk show dedicated to her 30th birthday. Wearing a long and somber black dress, Miss Sobchak said she was ready for a new life.

“Before I turned 30, I worked to create Ksenia Sobchak,” she said. “Ksenia Sobchak turned out to be appalling and terrible in some respects, but nice in others. Now that I’ve created this Ksenia Sobchak, I need to pursue new goals.”