Entrepreneur Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia's third richest man, has been elected the new leader of the liberal "Right Cause" party. Prokhorov, 46, is a self-made Russian billionaire, whose fortune is estimated at $18 billion according to Forbes Billionaire List. He became one of Russia's leading industrialists in the field of precious metals. He currently chairs Polyus Gold, Russia's largest producer of gold and also serves as President of ONEXIM Group.
Mr. Prokhorov was elected the new leader of Right Cause party unanimously. His election was expected by practically everyone. The party was swimming like a stone in the world of politics. One may say that Mr. Prokhorov has become the party's savior. Other candidates, such as Arkady Dvorkovich, Pavel Astakhov, Alexander Khloponin, Aleksei Kudrin and Igor Shuvalov, refused from the idea to become the leader of the party for various reasons. Prokhorov agreed to drag Right Cause out from the political swamp. What is more, he intends to have the party elected in the State Duma.
Prokhorov has already offered to make Right Cause become one of the parties of power. "I think we should exclude the word 'opposition' from our lexicon. The word is associated with marginal groups, which have lost the connection with reality. There should be at least two parties of power, but we have only one now," Mikhail Prokhorov said. "United Russia has already challenged us as they criticized our program, which we haven't published yet," he added. Mr. Prokhorov offered to take the challenge and make the critics smile.
In addition, Prokhorov satisfied conspiracy theorists who believed that he chaired the political party because of his dislike for Prime Minister Putin.
First and foremost, the new head of Right Cause openly declared his sympathies to Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
"I personally believe that there are no reasons for keeping Khodorkovsky and Lebedev in jail. No excuses of justice can be acceptable," Prokhorov said. According to him, one should strive for the early release of the former CEO of Yukos.
Secondly, Prokhorov said that he would struggle for the position of the prime minister of Russia, if his party wins elections in the State Duma. "It seems to me that I could be a good prime minister. I am not into building castles in the air. There is a certain goal - to get in the State Duma and gain the largest percent," he said.
However, it seems that Mr. Prokhorov is already building a castle in the air when he says that his party will win 15 percent of votes during the parliamentary elections in Russia. He also said that he would be ready to leave the party if it fails in the elections. Such words may only mean that Mikhail Prokhorov internally approaches the party as a short-term project. If the project is successful, he will keep it, if not, then he will forget it.
During his leadership at the party, Mr. Prokhorov will be like a czar for the party members. "The leader of the party is elected for the period of four years. He is the czar, the father, the great chief and god of the party," Boris Nadezhdin, a member of the Federal Political Council of the party said.
Prokhorov said that he would keep the power in his hands only before the elections. "I am perfectly aware of the fact that the charter, which you have just supported, is of force majeure character. This is not a normal charter for a normal political party, but we are emerging from the underground now. We need exceptional powers to reach our goal - to become a member of the State Duma. As soon as we get there, we must change the Charter to make it normal, transparent and democratic. I will be the first one to initiate all these changes," Prokhorov stated.
In general, the ideology and program of the party will remain the same. Right Cause offers to return to direct elections of the heads of cities and regions, to introduce the election of the heads of the police, courts, prosecutors. The party also advocates the return of one-mandate deputies to the Duma and the abolishment of the institute of presidential envoys in Russian regions.
To put it in a nutshell, the new leader of Right Cause has Napoleonic plans. But, as they say, it doesn't hurt to dream. It hurts not to dream.