Russian tycoon to run against Putin

Mikhail Prokhorov had previously made a short-lived effort to challenge United Russia party in this month's poll.

    Russian metals tycoon and US basketball team owner Mikhail Prokhorov has said that he intends to challenge Vladimir Putin in next year's presidential elections.

    "I have made the most serious decision of my life. I am running for president," Prokhorov told reporters on Monday.

    The owner of NBA's New Jersey Nets basketball team had previously made a short-lived effort to challenge Putin's United Russia party in this month's parliamentary elections.

    He later resigned from his own party following an internal power struggle that he blamed on the Kremlin. The Right Cause party finished with less than one per cent of the vote.

    His bid for the presidency comes after unprecedented nationwide protests against Putin, the prime minister, and his party following the polls. Putin's United Russia lost about 20 per cent of its seats, although it did retain a narrow majority.

    Prokhorov, the chairman of the Polyus Gold metal mining firm, has been consistently ranked as one of Russia's top five billionaires by Forbes magazine and was estimated to have a fortune of $18 billion in 2010.

    At the press conference where he announced his presidency bid, he refrained from criticising Putin or his protege Dmitry Medvedev, the country's president, but said that Russian "society is waking up".

    "Those authorities who will fail to establish a dialogue with society will have to go," he said.

    It is as yet unclear how effective a challenger Prokhorov would be against Putin. His wealth and playboy reputation may count against him, with voters historically loathe to support those who have thrived economically while millions of Russians scraped together a living in the years since the Soviet Union collapsed.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    North Korea's nuclear weapons: Here is what we know

    North Korea's nuclear weapons