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Mikhail Prokhorov Rivals Vladimir Putin for President

13. December 2011 by Masha 0 Comments

Mikhail Prokhorov Running for Russian PresidentRussia's third richest person, with a fortune estimated at $18 billion, has announced he'll run for president in March. 46-year-old Mikhail Prokhorov was recently ousted from Right Cause, a Kremlin-sanctioned liberal party, for supposedly showing interest in the Prime Minister position.


"I have made a decision. I will run in the presidential election," Prokhorov said. "The Kremlin kicked me and my supporters out of the Right Cause party... but it's not my principle to stop halfway."


As owner of the U.S. New Jersey Nets basketball team and chairman of Polyus Gold, Russia's largest gold producer, Prokhorov describes himself as a "defender of middle-class interests." He plans on establishing a political party of his own, regardless of the election outcome.


Political analysts believe the billionaire will be no threat to Vladimir Putin, who is expected to win the March 4th election.


"His appearance will freshen up the electoral campaign, create an illusion of fairness and legitimacy," said analyst Dmitry Oreshkin. "But his main goal is to take some protest votes from the leader of the Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov, and he may get some, albeit not many."


Prokhorov must now collect two million signatures to officially launch his presidential bid. Along with Zyuganov and Putin, other candidates are expected to include nationalist Vladmir Zhirinovsky, liberal Grigory Yavlinksy, and Sergei Mironov, lead of the left-leaning Just Russia Party.

Source: Kyiv Post, Photo: ABC News