Tycoon Prokhorov Refuses to Take Sides on Protests

Billionaire and past presidential hopeful Mikhail Prokhorov weighed in on Friday on the ongoing standoff between the opposition and authorities in Moscow, calling it “a dialogue between the deaf and the blind.”

“We’re going insane for no reason,” Prokhorov wrote on his Livejournal blog about the protests, which saw radicals clash with riot police at a mass rally on Sunday and police hunt opposition activists strolling in Moscow streets in the next days.

“People are irritated by the authorities…basically fielding an army against the citizens,” Prokhorov wrote.

However, “lack of ideas and a plan prompts opposition leaders to violent and often pointless action…which provokes the authorities,” he added.

Prokhorov lambasted both the authorities for “illegal actions” in handling the protests and the opposition for its readiness for “radical street activity.”

But the prime objective now is to “restore calm in our cities and our heads,” he said.

About 650 people, according to rights activists, were detained at the Sunday protest, though most were later released. After two days of crackdown, police gave up trying to disperse peaceful protests in downtown Moscow, where activists set up an improvised camp by the Chistye Prudy metro station.

The 46-year-old Prokhorov, whose fortune was estimated by Forbes in March at $13 billion, run for president in March, coming third with about 8 percent of the vote.

He pledged after the elections to create a new political party, but said in April that the work is still ongoing and that he might opt for a non-political nongovernmental organization instead.


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