On the face of it, given his huge wealth and the remarkable amount of coverage of his election campaign in the West, that Mikhail Prokhorov’s election results seem surprisingly low – 7.8%, trailing behind both Vladimir Putin and the more established opposition figure Communist Gennady Zyuganov.He was, after all, the receiver of a huge New Yorker profile, was recently seen rapping with his New Jersey Nets co-owner Jay Z and is thought to have around $18 billion in personal funds to support his campaign.
But the fact is, 7.8% isn’t so bad in an election already called “clearly skewed” in favour of Vladimir Putin.
And given that Prokhorov only announced his election bid less than 3 months ago, it looks a lot more impressive.
“According to our own exit polls we have 20-five per cent in Moscow, 20 per cent in St. Petersburg,” one excited Prokhorov campaigner bragged the New Yorker’s Julia Ioffe.
Bloomberg reports that Prokhorov is planning to refuse any government position offered to him, and hopes instead to build his party fast in time for future elections.
“I am not interested in working in state bodies,” he told state TV on Sunday.
However, by Monday morning, Putin was offering an olive branch to Prokhorov — telling him that cooperate with the party if formed, Ria Novosti reports.
Such words are not necessarily assuring for Russia’s opposition. Prokhorov has been suspected of being a Kremlin-stooge for a while, and Russia already has a number of neutered but officially sanctioned opposition parties.
All in all, the headline on this Russia Today article (“Prokhorov could be Putin 2.0”) probably articulates people’s hopes and fears about Prokhorov now.
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