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Prokhorov Enters Russian Politics; Likely To Take Over Small Party

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NEW YORK - MAY 19:  New Jersey Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov addresses the media during a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on May 19, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 19: New Jersey Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov addresses the media during a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on May 19, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Mikhail Prokhorov, who has long avoided Russian politics, is signaling he's ready to head a small political party in his native land.  The Nets owner sent a letter to a Moscow newspaper, saying, "If those of us who have the means and the desire to live in Russia do not try to change anything, then nothing will change."

The party, Pravoye Delo or "Right Cause", is seen as a liberal, pro-business party. It is less than three years old. Although as president of the party, Prokhorov could in theory run for President of Russia next March, it's more likely he and the party will support current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It is extremely unlikely that Prokhorov would have made the decision without the approval of Putin and Medvedev, reports the Times.

Oligarchs like Prokhorov have avoided politics. Some who have ventured the political fray have seen their businesses suffer. Prokhorov has recently been pushing changes in the Russian labor laws opposed by the country's unions and Putin. Only last month, Prokhorov denied interest in politics, calling the prospect a joke. Monday, he called his decision an "uneasy" one.