As previously reported here first, there is some dissatisfaction with Vladimir Putin’s rule over Mother Russia, to the point where people are breaking pledges they made to their dead grandparents and voting Communist simply because it’s more appealing than signing up for 12 more years of Putin. And who better to break up an iron-fisted regime than a man who initially made his fortune as the head of Norlisk Nickel? That’s right, your friend and mine, 6’8″Russian billionaire and New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has thrown his hat in the ring. Here’s the video of his announcement:
Oh, I’m sorry, that’s a video he produced of his jet skiing exploits, proving once and for all there are exactly two different moves possible on a jet ski (spin and barrel roll). Here’s a more detailed source:
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov said he plans to challenge Vladimir Putin in the March presidential elections, a longshot bid that could tap into growing dissatisfaction with the Kremlin after a wave of antigovernment demonstrations.
Opposition leaders immediately denounced Mr. Prokhorov’s plan as a Kremlin-inspired effort to drain support for the protests, which arose after reports of massive fraud in the Dec. 4 parliamentary election and have grown into the most serious challenge to Mr. Putin’s control in his 12-year rule.
Why might they suspect that Prokhrov is scamming them? A few guesses–one: he has stated that this will not interfere with his ownership of the Nets. Um, if he wins, I’m pretty sure he can’t also be the owner of the Nets. That seems pretty conflict of interest-y (to use a legal term). I don’t think it’d be cool if Barack Obama was like, the majority owner in CSKA Moscow. Two, he’s a billionaire. By definition, billionaires have been treated very well by the status quo, so, you know, they’re not so likely to want to shake things up. In fact, the worst thing for Prokhorov would obviously be if somehow the Communists were able to actually gain political power. As they currently sit in second place, any attempt to sap their power would be helpful.
Mr. Prokhorov also said he would limit criticism of the ruling United Russia party in his campaign, promising to offer “10% criticism, and 90% solutions.” “I’m totally against revolution,” he said. “All revolutions in Russia have been bloody. I’m for evolution.”
When asked if he feared sharing the fate of former Yukos Oil chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who has seen his company broken up and is currently serving prison time after challenging Mr. Putin, Mr. Prokhorov said: “I did not do anything illegal and have nothing to be afraid of.”
Hmmm…. The most public (to the west, anyway) Russian billionaire is launching a campaign intended to be light on criticism, against revolution, and he has no fear of Putin ruining him. Seems legit!