Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov Declares Run for Russian Presidency
Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, has announced his plan to challenge Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in next year’s presidential elections.
Prokhorov’s declaration came two months after he was removed as leader of the pro-business party Right Cause. Putin is expected to win a new term as president in March elections, with current President Dmitry Medvedev expected to slide back to prime minister. Prokhorov is not considered a political threat, although the $18-billion mining magnate definitely has the resources to run a presidential campaign.
“I think the society is waking up, whether we want it to or not,” the 46-year-old Prokhorov said in a press conference according to the New York Times. “That part of the government which does not establish dialogue with society, it will have to go in the near future. Serious changes are taking place in the world, and a new kind of man is emerging.”
Despite his pronouncements, some quarters in the Russian political scene remain skeptical of Prokhorov’s sincerity, with some members of the Right Cause suspecting that the billionaire is actually a Kremlin candidate. “If he wants it himself, then I will support him wholeheartedly. If he is taking the role of a spoiler because someone has proposed it to him, then it is disgusting,” Right Cause leader Andrei Dunayev said.