MOSCOW - Russia’s answer to Paris Hilton has emerged as a surprise critic of Vladimir Putin in a protest movement that has pitted the wealthy socialite against the man her father once mentored.

Ksenia Sobchak, a Playboy cover girl and television compere with a reputation for hard partying, has made no secret of her views, especially since her new political talk show was axed after just one episode, entitled “Where is Putin taking us?.” She had made the mistake of inviting on to the show Alexei Navalny, one of the leaders of the biggest anti-Kremlin protests since Putin rose to power. Sobchak then stirred things up by making a spoof video mocking celebrities who have filmed messages in support of Putin’s presidential campaign. In the video, posted on the Internet, Sobchak seemingly pledges her vote to the 59-year-old prime minister, only for the camera to pan out, showing her tied to her chair and flanked by armed guards. “I want Putin to go,” Sobchak, 30, told Reuters before the March 4 presidential election he is expected to win. “I want a change in leadership and fair elections.” She is taking on a man who was once a close ally of her father, late St Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, for whom Putin worked as a deputy in the 1990s. Sobchak’s 2011 income is estimated at $2.8 million by Forbes, and like the American hotel heiress Paris Hilton, she had a privileged upbringing — benefiting from a system of political patronage that has flourished under Putin.