The Interpreter

A special project of Institute of Modern Russia
Mikhail Prokhorov

Mikhail Prokhorov Won’t Run for Moscow Mayor

Cites “tricks” by government as reason for decision

Mikhail Prokhorov, leader of the Civic Platform, announced today that he will not run in the elections for mayor of Moscow, and no one from his party will take part in them.

“We will not take part in the extension of the acting government’s license. We will act according to the rule ‘the mayor is yours, the Duma is ours.’ But we will not let these elections go by—we will use them to prepare for the elections to the Moscow City Duma. We cannot take power in the executive body, but we will take power in the legislative body,” said Prokhorov.

“I would have very much liked to take part in the mayoral elections, but the government’s tricks won’t let me have that opportunity,” said Prokhorov. He said that it was impossible in such a brief period to comply with the ban on the direct ownership of real estate abroad: “It’s a legal trick, but still a trick.

Nevertheless, Prokhorov has promised to close all his foreign accounts. Moreover, he announced that he has obtained permission from the American authorities to transfer ownership of the company that owns the Barclays Center arena and the Brooklyn Nets basketball club to a Russian jurisdiction.

He also explained why Irina, his sister, did not become the party’s candidate.

“We are saying that the strongest candidate should run for election.” Prokhorov did not rule out, however, that at a later stage of the mayoral campaign, Civic Platform would support one of the candidates.

Speaking of the elections to the Moscow City Duma, Prokhorov said that he believes it necessary to incorporate a residential requirement for the elections; otherwise, Moscow will turn into a city of nomads. He also advocated the introduction of a visa regimen for the countries of Central Asia. Moscow also needs a municipal police, in Prokhorov’s opinion.

Former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov told Interfax that Civic Party’s refusal to run on the ballot for mayor of Moscow completely deprives the elections of intrigue. “If Prokhorov has refused to take part in the elections for the mayor of the capital on 8 September, the intrigue has declined sharply, and is waning, so to say,” says Luzhkov. “Besides Prokhorov, there are few who can compete with the current acting city boss,” said Luzhkov. He once again stated that he had not discussed the topic of the elections during his meeting with Prokhorov last week.

Recently, Irina Yarovaya, chair of the State Duma Committee on Security, announced that if Mikhail Prokhorov runs in the elections for Mayor of Moscow, he must transfer his assets to Russia or sell them. “The loophole of trust management [of officials’ assets] is blocked by the law,” she said.

As Dozhd TV announced previously, Prokhorov in principle could run on the ballot for mayor of Moscow and even manage to reorganize his foreign assets through a “blind trust” – such conclusions are contained in an expert report which was prepared for the billionaire by a Russian law firm.

President Vladimir Putin accepted the request for resignation from acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on 5 June. Sobyanin explained that he had submitted his resignation in order to hold early direct elections for city boss. The elections will take place on September 8.