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Prokhorov for President

Date posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Russian billionaire reenters politics.

Mikhail-Prokhorov

In 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev gave the world a somewhat unexpected Christmas present—he announced the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. And now, twenty years past, there is another surprising Christmas in store: on Christmas Eve, Russians are set to take to the streets and demand for a rerun of the fraudulent December 4 Duma elections. This protest will be a follow-up to the demonstration that happened last Saturday in Bolotnaya Square—the biggest opposition rally in Russia since the early ‘90s—and no one knows what to expect. Will the police be as gentle on Christmas Eve as they were on Saturday? Will more people show up? Will the government actually listen?

After enduring more than a decade under the rule of Vladimir Putin and United Russia, and with the sudden realization that they were about to face a decade more, Russian citizens have finally acknowledged that something in their country needs to change. The problem, of course, is that nobody can agree about what that something is. After all this time, not a single cohesive and viable opposition movement has emerged, and people are scratching their heads about what to do.

Well, on Monday, December 12, an interesting announcement shook things up a little. The 6-foot, 8-inch multibillionaire, New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov (Russia’s third richest man!), publicly announced that he will be running for office in the March 2012 elections. It appears that Prokhorov, who briefly dabbled in politics this summer (until he was ousted from the Right Cause party), might go into cahoots with the former Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin (who was ousted from the Kremlin the same month as Prokhorov, after he criticized President Dmitry Medvedev for swapping places with Prime Minister Putin) to form a new liberal party.

Prokhorov’s chances of winning are slim—he doesn’t have nearly enough popularity with the Russian people (plus there’s speculation that his presidential bid might be staged by the Kremlin)—but his campaign will surely be interesting to watch.

The United States was first introduced to Prokhorov in a segment that appeared on 60 Minutes, after he decided to buy the failing Nets.

And hopefully his campaign promises to the Russian nation will be as easy to fulfill as the promises he made to Nets fans after he bought the team. More importantly, one can only pray that his campaign videos will reflect the same artistry that we see in the video below—the seamless zoom in/zoom out of the camera lens, the beautiful china display in the background, the shadows on the wall behind him . . .

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Masha Udensiva-Brenner is a founding editor of Construction magazine.

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