Prokhorov looks to head A Right Cause
Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov is ready to sacrifice business commitment for the right cause, and is looking towards the appropriately named Pravoye Delo (A Right Cause) party.
The second richest man in Russia has officially confirmed his intention to take up the helm of the fringe party, which has been looking for a new leader, and promised to put new faces in the Russian parliament.
“My goal is to come second in this year’s election,” he wrote in a statement to key-employees of his Onexim Group.
But Boris Gryzlov, Duma speaker and United Russia Supreme Council chairman, is dubious about Prokorov’s chances, especially if the controversial entrepreneur turned political crusader continues to support his notorious amendments to the Labour Code.
If the pre-election programme bears the 60-hours working week and increase in retirement age clauses then “the chances are unlikely,” he told RIA Novosti.
But for Prokhorov, who worked on these amendments at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, ideas such as these have become the main reason for getting involved in politics.
“The voice of those who are really trying to change something in our country is not being heard, and, more importantly, people don’t want to hear it,” he wrote in the statement. “We make constructive suggestions, and people are painting us as slave-drivers and murderers,” he concluded.
Prokhorov’s other potential colleagues from the Duma are dubious about his ambitious plans.
“How can you take seriously a person who doesn’t understand anything in politics and believes, that politics is just a sort of business,” Nikolai Levichev, the chairman at “Just Russia”, said, RIA Novosti reported.
And Prokhorov’s proposal to make Pravoye Delo to ‘a party of successful people’ was met by slamming critics from Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democrats. “For the past 20 years, 90 per cent of their electorate have been leaving the country,” he told the agency, adding that the maximum they could hope for is just 1-2 per cent.
And the Communists, the current second biggest party, are no more convinced that there will be a niche in the electoral market for the big business candidate.
“We’ve never had other people playing to Mr. Oligarch and never will,” Ivan Melnikov, Duma vice-speaker and vice-chairman of the Communist Party, told RIA Novosti.
Change of heart
Prokhorov earlier said he was not interested in a political career, preferring to run his own business. But his refusal to head Pravoye Delo in April met disapproval from his colleagues, friends and even family, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.
“Even my own sister, who can’t stand politics, didn’t support it. She said, ‘Misha, you have to go, you surely will be able to change something’.
If everyone who has a chance and is willing to live in Russia, wouldn’t try to change something, nothing will ever change,” he concluded.
Prokhorov could be elected a party leader at July’s party conference, and then plans to present his programme, he told Interfax.
Pravoye Delo was registered in 2009, its current leaders are Georgy Bovt and Leonid Gozman.
The party’s council has 9 members, including Anatoly Chubais, the head of Rosnano state-corporation and a number of other successful businessmen.