‘Old players might soon be out of Russian politics’

Mikhail Prokhorov (AFP Photo / John Macdougall)
The unexpected success of Mikhail Prokhorov in Sunday’s presidential election has played havoc with the veterans of Russian politics, United Russia says.

­Three parliamentary parties, the Lib Dems, Communists and Fair Russia will soon see a dramatic renewal of their leadership, believes United Russia MP Sergey Zheleznyak.

“It’s evident that during the next presidential election we won’t see candidates Zhirinovsky, Mironov or Zyuganov,” he told journalists on Tuesday. “It’s becoming more and more difficult for them to lead their campaigns because of increasing competition… In addition to that, I think that Mikhail Prokhorov’s performance has undermined them.”

In the March 4 presidential election Mikhail Prokhorov took 7.98 per cent of the vote, ranking third after Vladimir Putin (who took 63.6 per cent) and Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov (who won 17.18 per cent). Lib Dem leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Fair Russia leader Sergey Mironov received 6.22 per cent and 3.85 per cent respectively. 

Of all the candidates, Zyuganov is the only one who has not yet recognized the results, blasting the poll as unfair and illegitimate. 

“I think Zyuganov realizes that times have changed. His emotional reaction to the outcome of the election might come from this understanding,” the United Russia MP went on to say. “Because in fact for him nothing out of the ordinary happened, he got roughly the part of the electorate he had counted on.”