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Russians sceptical of Putin challenger

world Updated: Dec 14, 2011 00:20 IST

AFP
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Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov’s decision to stand against Vladimir Putin in presidential elections could be part of a Kremlin plan rather than a genuine challenge to the authorities, the press said on Tuesday.

Prokhorov announced on Monday he would be a candidate in the March presidential elections, adding new drama to the Russian political scene after mass opposition protests shook the authorities at the weekend.

But several newspapers cast suspicion on his announcement, noting that Prokhorov maintains good ties with the elite and saying the Kremlin could want his candidacy to harmlessly soak up any protest votes against Putin.

The Vedomosti daily quoted a Kremlin source as saying that Prokhorov’s candidacy was not unexpected for Putin as the tycoon had kept contact with the Russian strongman.