On December 12, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov announced his intention to run for the position of the Russian president. "This is the most serious decision in my life. I am taking part in the presidential election," Prokhorov stated at a news conference in Moscow.
The entrepreneur will notify the Central Election Commission of his decision this week. Mr. Prokhorov also shared his ideas on how he was going to build his election campaign and whom it was going to be oriented on.
However, Mikhail Prokhorov would at first need to collect two million signatures in support of his candidacy. He would also need to deliver the signatures to the Central Election Commission for selective checkup.
As for the program, the entrepreneur promised to "concentrate on the things that need to be done" and give not more than ten percent to criticism. According to Prokhorov, Russia's middle classes would be the basis of his electorate. However, the middle classes will not learn anything about the program of their candidate until Prokhorov became a registered candidate.
The billionaire did not give the names of potential prime ministers in case of his victory at the election. He only shared the number of candidates that he had for the purpose - five or six. "I have a large number of candidates; let them defend their positions," Prokhorov said.
Also read: Mikhail Prokhorov's Napoleonic plans
There has been restrained reaction to Mr. Prokhorov's decision to enter the world of big politics again. United Russia does not see any reason for worries. Prokhorov is not a rival to Putin. LDPR and Yabloko are not going to support the entrepreneur - the parties have their own candidates. Just Russia and the Communist Party have their candidates too. Communists have already cooperated with oligarchs before, but this is not the case, as it appears.
Boris Nadezhdin, a member of the political council of the Right Cause Party, stated, though, that he was ready for cooperation in establishing a new rightist party in Russia. Mr. Prokhorov spoke about it too. According to Nadezhdin, the perfect team in this case would be Prokhorov as the president and Kudrin (former finance minister) as the prime minister.
Mikhail Prokhorov does not have much political experience yet. The people know him for his initiative to extend the workweek and for his short-term and hectic stay at the head of the Right Cause Party.
Scientists of politics were cautious about the prospects of Prokhorov's participation in the presidential election. "His electoral potential is from three to ten percent, depending on the quality of his campaign. Taking into consideration the fact that his campaign in the summer of this year was a failure, chances for his success this time are slim. I believe that the only point for Prokhorov's participation in the forthcoming election is an attempt to win the votes of the angered middle classes - not to let them dissipate among the parliamentary opposition," Eugeny Minchenko, the director of the International Institute of Political Expertise, told Pravda.Ru
Vyacheslav Nikonov, the President of Polity Foundation, stated that when Prokhorov was wrapping up his previous political campaign connected with the Right Cause Party, the billionaire enjoyed the rating of not more than two percent. "He would have to do a lot to achieve some acceptable results," the scientist of politics said.
Sergei Mikheev, the Director of the Center for Political Conjuncture, believes that "Prokhorov does not have any special prospects. No one, including the notorious and talked-about middle classes, likes oligarchs in Russia, especially the oligarchs from the 1990s," the expert said.