By Samuel Burke, CNN
"Russia, without Putin."
That was the rallying cry from tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters who flooded the center of Moscow this weekend. It was the first time since June that the movement had taken to the streets.
Among the many protesters was Ksenia Sobchak, a well-known socialite often called the Paris Hilton of Russia.
Her father, Anatoly Sobchak, was a mentor to President Vladimir Putin. Her mother is a pro-Kremlin member of parliament. So it came as a shock to many Russians when six months ago Sobchak joined the opposition movement.
“I don't think that you can be against some person because then it’s not politics. It's individual hatred. I'm not against Putin. I'm against system. And I don't think that Putin and [the] system are all the same.”
Sobchak says she wants to change the system.
“I want to change it on evolutionary basis, which is very important, because revolutions have already taken place in our country and I don't want any revolution anymore in my country.”
But her socialite and party-girl image still have some questioning her credentials to be a serious political activist.
“I think that any person at any time of his life can change,” and Sobchak says she’s an example of that.
“I'm not sure if I can be effective in what I'm doing now. I'm not sure that I know enough to do it effectively. But I'm really trying to and I'm really learning to.”
Sobach appears to be under the sights of Russian authorities. They raided her apartment three months ago, and according to Sobach took more than one million dollars stashed in her apartment.
“This is the kind of ridiculous situation when, in a country, which is considered to be a democratic country, they take away your money and they don't even explain why they do this.”
Despite the protests and high-profile activists like Sobach and Pussy Riot - the Russian rock band sentenced to two years in prison - polls show Putin’s popularity is still quite high. He’s still viewed as a strong leader - and Russians seem to want a strong leader.
“I don't think actually anything wrong with this. I'm not arguing that he's not popular. I just want our [media] to be honest and to have no censorship,” Sobach says. “ And when all the federal channels are under control, it's quite difficult to speak to the big masses of people about what's really important.”
She says government control of the media might actually explain why Putin’s popularity is as high as it is.
CNN’s Claire Calzonetti produced this piece for television.