[QODLink]
Europe
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.
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2011 07:56

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
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.