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Russia

Prokhorov's Sister Denounces 'Incredible Rift' Between Russians, Kremlin

Irina Prokhorova (left) with her brother, Russian pro-business presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov, at a press conference in Moscow late last month.
Irina Prokhorova (left) with her brother, Russian pro-business presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov, at a press conference in Moscow late last month.
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By RFE/RL
Irina Prokhorova, the elder sister and designated representative of defeated presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov, is emerging as an increasingly influential figure on Russia's political scene.

A prominent literary critic and cultural historian, Prokhorova says her new political career has opened her eyes to what she calls an "incredible rift" between ordinary Russians and the ruling elite. She spoke to Andrei Shary of RFE/RL's Russian Service:

RFE/RL: The Communist Party's defeated presidential candidate, Gennady Zyuganov, says he does not recognize Vladimir Putin's election on March 4 due to the high level of reported fraud. Will Mikhail Prokhorov also declare the election illegitimate?

Irina Prokhorova: He said that he didn't consider the election fair because the initial conditions for opposition candidates and for the main contender were not equal. He will draw conclusions about the election's legitimacy, to quote his words, "after all the alleged violations are investigated and a recount is conducted, if necessary."

We received as many as 8,000 calls at our [campaign] headquarters and, as a result, 4,000 electoral violations were reported.

There were massive irregularities in St. Petersburg, where fake observers' certificates were distributed. Some bogus observers turned up on behalf of Mikhail [Prokhorov], but in fact they were working for Putin.

There were huge numbers of alarming phone calls. Now we need to study all this and wait for information from other parties and candidates. Only then will we be able to make concrete decisions.

RFE/RL: What are your general impressions of the March 4 vote? Do you think it was cleaner than the parliamentary elections in December?

Prokhorova: It's hard to judge. Many of my colleagues who were observers or simply drove through the city on election day said they saw huge numbers of "carousel" voters -- people who came from different cities and voted with absentee ballots.

When all the information is processed, we will find out how many there were and the extent to which they influenced the vote.

I think the positive feature of this election was the determination of many voters and observers, the involvement of a huge army of young people in this process. Civil society was incomparably more active than it had been in December, and this gives us hope that we are witnessing a surge in civil society's self-awareness.

RFE/RL: You played an active role in your brother's presidential campaign. This election was your first foray into politics. What have you learned from it?

Prokhorova: For a historian of culture, studying how society functions is always interesting. I used to do this as a person involved in cultural politics; after all, founding a publishing house, magazines, and carrying out charitable work, all this is also part of politics.

On the other hand, studying the mechanisms of power is also fascinating. It gives you a better idea of the scale of difficulties that ordinary citizens, institutions, and society as a whole run into when they are confronted with inefficient government. It gives you a rich life experience and perhaps forces you to better articulate your civil stance.

RFE/RL: Would you call it a negative experience? How do you see Russia now, with "political eyes"?

Prokhorova: I'm a mature person and I have lived under the Soviet regime, which was far more brutal than the current regime.

I can't say that I made absolutely new discoveries. I simply got an even better glimpse of the incredible rift between Russia's dynamic, modern society and its archaic government.

At the risk of simplifying things a little, I would say that this is Russia's main problem. Our society learns very fast, it's unbelievably adaptable and resilient. But our governments are traditionally utopist and archaic. They remain stuck in the 17th or 18th century.

I think that it's very important for my brother to make authorities better meet the needs of a contemporary society and a contemporary world.

RFE/RL: Would you agree to become deputy head of the party that Mikhail Prokhorov has announced he will form?

Prokhorova: If I'm offered this position, I will seriously consider it. But there's no talk of this yet, we've only just finished the campaign.
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: rick from: Milan
March 07, 2012 14:24
Oh well !

a random person

of sure impartiality !

by: Ben
March 07, 2012 19:09
"our society is unbelievably adaptive and recilient..."- Russian society is recilient to everything: in the 90th the one voter explained why he voted for the criminal: they in Kremlin are the criminals too,so our man will take his place there. This doesn`t change the split of it owing to the different incomes in the highly inhomogenious labor market of the mineral empire.

by: AJ from: Wild West
March 07, 2012 21:51
By "archaic government elites" does she imply Boris Yeltsin and ~60 financial-fraudsters-gone-billionaire (among them Prokhorov)...?

Love the "western" double-standards game :)

In Response

by: JR from: USA
March 13, 2012 17:10
Funny how our two governments are alike....our ruling class too is out of touch with the people.

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
March 08, 2012 00:01
I am sure that even Mr.Whitmore guessed what is going on...not to mention the Khanty and Mansi chewing reindeer moss inside the yarangas..

Ladies and gentlemen! Employees of Radio Liberty and other.. Let me triumphantly declare to you that
Prokhorov and his sister is a project of the Kremlin (read Putin..)

One can only imagine how Volodya with mug of beer in his hand or dumbbells?..yelled:
"Scold me guys! We need to create the appearance of freedom of speech..Look! In Russia, democracy!..Uncle Volodya criticized, but he does not do anything to anyone..

Where is the Prokhorov agreed with Putin?
It is clear that neither in Courchevel...Sarkozy is sitting out there today, and watching Libya, in which anarchy and war in the next hundred years...My congratulations! "рeacemaker" Sarkozy...

So, where they agreed (or Putin ordered) Mr.Whitmore?...probably having a beer or a bath..

Well, with Irka all the obvious..Looking at her "inspired" face it becomes clear that she had ordered by her brother, who gave to her a piece of paper with the text of which she read out on a signal..
Oh yeah! They have their quirks... billionaires...On the other hand Putin gave Prokhorov earn...Putin running the show.

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