Russian presidential hopeful speaks for political prisoners

A 35-year-old Russian celebrity TV host who wants to become a presidential candidate has opened her first news conference by demanding the release of all political prisoners.

Ksenia Sobchak announced her presidential bid last week, arguing that Russia has grown tired of its current political elite. Critics said Sobchak's run would further fragment the opposition while lending the March election a veneer of legitimacy.

Sobchak, the daughter of President Vladimir Putin's mentor, former St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, opened her news conference Tuesday by demanding that all Russians convicted on political grounds be released.

Sobchak has joined anti-Kremlin protests and has been often critical of the government, but she has largely avoided criticizing Putin.

Putin hasn't yet said whether he will seek re-election but he's widely expected to run.