Oligarch overturns Putin 'ban' by turning to politics
One of Russia's richest men has overturned an unofficial Kremlin ban on oligarchs entering politics to become the leader of a party that could see him emerge as prime minister.
Metals and mining magnate Mikhail Prokhorov (46) was elected leader of the liberal Right Cause party on Saturday and immediately promised he would challenge Vladimir Putin's United Russia party and its stranglehold on power.
Mr Prokhorov said: "Our country is called the Russian Federation, but by structure it is an empire. Only presidential power works here, and this kind of governance cannot provide stability let alone development."
Mr Putin, the prime minister, is known to be actively eyeing a return to the presidency, a job he held from 2000 to 2008. President Dmitry Medvedev, the incumbent and Mr Putin's handpicked presidential successor, has said he would like to run again but could not imagine running against Mr Putin.
Judging by his words, it appears Mr Prokhorov, who enjoys good relations with Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev, has agreed to those terms. "I suggest we exclude the word opposition from our lexicon," he said on Saturday.
"For our citizens, the word opposition is associated with marginal players who have lost contact with reality."
With a fortune estimated by 'Forbes' magazine at €12.7bn, Mr Prokhorov is rated as Russia's third richest man. (© Daily Telegraph, London)