Russian tycoon and presidential hopeful Mikhail Prokhorov has accused opposition party leaders of colluding with the Kremlin and exploiting growing anti-government sentiments.
In a piece for the business newspaper RBC Daily, he also accused Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, veteran nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and social democrat Sergei Mironov of being “Kremlin agents of 20 years’ standing.”
Prokhorov, 46, plans to stand against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in March’s presidential polls. The billionaire took the leadership of a pro-Kremlin party last year, but was ousted following a split.
Last month, Prokhorov attended a major demonstration in Moscow against alleged vote fraud at the December 4 parliamentary polls and joined calls for a re-run.
“These opposition leaders have decided to ride the wave of public discontent and convert it for their gain, both politically and commercially,” Prokhorov said.
He also said the established opposition had sold off their parties’ votes to Putin’s United Russia.
Communist Zyuganov said “a man of such wealth and stature” as Prokhorov should “not talk rubbish.”
“He doesn’t know anything about politics,” Zyuganov told RIA Novosti.
Igor Lebedev, a senior deputy with Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party said Prokhorov, ranked by Forbes as Russia’s third richest man with a fortune of around $18 billion, should be “honest” about how he “earned his billions.”
Lebedev also accused the billionaire of being a Kremlin project and said he stood no chance in the March vote.