Childhood & Early Life
Lyubov Sobol was born on September 13, 1987, in Lobnya, Moscow Oblast, RSFSR. Her mother was a supervisor at the Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport while her father worked at a flight research institute.
She studied at a gymnasium class of a secondary school and graduated from there with a silver medal. After this, she enrolled at the Institute of Jurisprudence of the State Law Academy in Moscow in 2004.
While she was continuing her studies, she took a job as the secretary of the court session and an assistant to the judge at the Presnensky District Court of Moscow.
In 2006, she began attending the Law Faculty of the Moscow State University, from where she obtained her graduate degree in 2011.
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Political Career & Activism
After she graduated, Lyubov Sobol started working at the Anti-Corruption Foundation, a non-profit foundation set up by Russia’s highest-profile opposition leader, Aleksei A. Navalny. Since March that year, she has served as a lawyer of the RosPil.info Project, which was established by Navalny to combat corruption in the area of budget spending.
In 2011-12, she participated in several political agitations, civil political activities, and opposition rallies as well as the volunteer movement in Astrakhan. She also served as an observer at various levels of elections.
Sobol is sometimes hailed as the Russian Joan of Arc, though she is not overly religious but does attend church. According to her, her mission is fighting against a government that regularly oversteps the bounds of law and the Russian constitution.
She has drawn the ire of Kremlin with her relentless pursuit of evidence of graft and greed among the cohorts of President Putin, especially the powerful businessman Yevgeny V. Prigozhin.
As part of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Sobol has provided support to Navalny in his legal battles against corrupt officials and Kremlin cronies. She led the investigation against Prigozhin, whose catering business was accused of providing tainted food to Moscow kindergartens, and on behalf of the parents of the affected children, she sought to punish Prigozhin and have his government contracts revoked.
Since she has joined the opposition movement, Sobol has been on the forefront on Navalny's online outreach initiatives. Navalny is banned from making appearances on the state channels. However, the internet is still not extremely regulated in the country.
She serves as the head of Navalny LIVE, a YouTube-based live show on news, politics, economics, and cultural trends.
In March 2016, she revealed that she wanted to contest in the election to the 7th convocation of the State Duma in the fall of 2016 from the majority district in the Central Administrative District of Moscow. However, on 24 May, she pulled out of the election.
Upon the foundation of the Russia of the Future party on May 19, 2018, she was named as a member of its Central Council.
In recent months, acts of harassment and intimidation have increased against her. In July 2019, she was taken out from the offices of the election commission on a couch to be detained. A month later, masked police officers broke into her office and detained her shortly before a protest rally. Later that month, an unknown assailant threw some form of black muck at her.
In 2019, she was supposed to run for election to the Moscow City Duma but was disqualified along with several other opposition candidates. This resulted in widespread protests in Moscow, many of which were organised by her.
On 2 September, she was apprehended by the police for questioning over an “illegal” protest. She was not released until midnight and later received a fine of the equivalent of $4,500 for violations of restrictions of public gatherings.
Family & Personal Life
Lyubov Sobol is married to anthropologist Sergei Mokhov, with whom she has a daughter.
In 2016, Mokhov was attacked and injected with a psychotropic substance in his upper thigh, rendering him convulsing and unconscious. Although he survived the attempt, no significant progress in the case was ever made. Sobol has accused that Prigozhin organised the hit. While Prigozhin has not made any direct comment on the allegations, he has expressed his desire to sue Sobol for damaging his reputation.