TV personality Ksenia Sobchak has already said that she is unlikely to win Russia's presidential election and that she lacks political weight - now she says she will go easy on her main opponent.

They are not the typical sentiments many politicians would express before going on the hustings trail, but then Russia's is not your average election campaign.

Sobchak is the daughter of the former mayor of St Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak who died in 2000 and whom is considered to be Putin's mentor.

But Sobchak, 35, said on Wednesday (25 October): "I personally will not insult Putin.

"For some, he is a tyrant and dictator.. but for me this is a person who, first of all, helped my father in a difficult situation and de facto saved his life," she said in a news conference as she unveiled her campaign team.

She described how she was against a "corrupt system" and lamented how that since Putin came to power in 2000, "the country has no fair elections is the result of those 18 years," Reuters reported.

However she caused a stir when she said that under international law, Crimea, which was seized by Russia in 2014, in fact belongs to Ukraine."We violated our word, we violated the 1994 Budapest Memorandum", referring to the agreement that Russia would protect Ukraine if it got rid of its nuclear weapons.

Ksenia Sobchak
Russian TV personality Ksenia Sobchak, who recently announced plans to run in the upcoming presidential election, at a news conference in Moscow, on 24 October. Reuters

"We promised and we did not fulfil that promise," she added in comments that contrasted with a tweet she wrote in 2014 which described the annexation as "a brilliant political manoeuvre".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in response that Crimea is Russian both de jure and de facto, and there is no discussion about which country has sovereignty over the peninsula.

Her critics include main opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who described her as a Kremlin spoiler candidate to confer legitimacy on an election he is likely to be barred from participating in and one that would otherwise be a simple coronation of Putin.

Sobchak will need to collect 300,000 signatures to get on the ballot which many say she would struggled to do without enjoying the support of the Kremlin. Her aspirations may simply to be a lightening rod for disaffected voters in Russia, but she has already played her chances down.

She said, according to the Guardian: "I have no political weight, and I haven't earned the right to launch some kind of political programme or stand as a candidate".