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Russian Billionaire Throws In to Challenge Putin

He’s a high-rolling billionaire bachelor who owns the New Jersey Nets, and now Mikhail Prokhorov says he’s aiming to take down the biggest player in Russian politics by running against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for the presidency next March. So why are opposition leaders framing Prokhorov’s move as a possible boon for the Kremlin?

The Wall Street Journal:

Facing a familiar group of mostly communist, socialist and nationalist candidates, Mr. Putin appears virtually certain to win the Mar. 4 election. But doubts about the depth of his support grew after the parliamentary vote. Despite what was alleged to be widespread fraud on its behalf, the ruling United Russia party saw its results drop sharply, barely holding on to its majority in parliament. Tens of thousands of protestors—many of them young members of Russia’s new urban middle class—took to the streets in major cities over the past week to protest the alleged vote-rigging, the largest antigovernment protests in at least a decade.

[…] “Prokhorov’s task is to accumulate protest voters and help Putin get elected,” Boris Nemtsov, an opposition leader and Prokhorov friend, told the Interfax news agency. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, who also is running for president, echoed that view.

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