Billionaire Prokhorov excluded from Russia’s modernization commission

Russian billionaire and ex-leader of the Right Cause liberal party Mikhail Prokhorov has been excluded from the presidential modernization commission, the Kremlin press office said on Sunday.

“By his decree, the head of state has excluded Prokhorov … from the commission. The changes were made as part of rotation of the commission’s composition,” the Kremlin press office said.

The commission was set up under the Russian president in 2009 to work out state policy on modernization and technological development of the Russian economy, coordinate the work of federal agencies, executive authorities and local self-government institutions, and also the activity of entrepreneurial and expert communities.

Prokhorov, 46, ranked by Forbes as Russia’s third richest man with a fortune of $18 billion, formally quit business in June to head the Right Cause party.

In mid-September, however, Prokhorov quit the post of the party leader after he and his supporters accused some party members of illegally registering new members in his absence to win a majority and vote against his leadership.

The split came to a head on September 15 when two Right Cause parties – Prokhorov’s opponents and supporters – met in different buildings in Moscow for their congresses in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in December.

The day before the congress resumed on September 20, Right Cause said in a statement it was in talks with Prokhorov about his possible reinstatement as party leader, but a spokesman for Prokhorov did not confirm the report.

Some Russian media have claimed the party was deliberately neutered by pro-Kremlin figures concerned about Prokhorov’s emergence as a political force.

Speaking to reporters after he was voted out during the party’s general congress on September 15, Prokhorov accused Vladislav Surkov, a long-serving Kremlin ideologue, of “privatizing” the country’s political system and behaving like a “puppet-master.”


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