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Mayor Mikhail Prokhorov? Moscow election moved up to September

Mikhail Prokhorov

Add September 8 to your Nets calendar. That's the tentative date of the next mayoral election in Moscow, and Mikhail Prokhorov is expected to run.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin stepped down on Tuesday, setting up the need for a "snap" election in three months. The mayoral elections were supposed to take place until 2015. Now, they will be run on September 8. Sobyanin hails from Siberia and never lived in Moscow before becoming President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff in 2005. He was appointed Moscow mayor by then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010. He is expected to run in September.

Prokhorov was expected to run in the 2014 Moscow City Duma (city council) and then move on to the mayor elections in 2015. Now, political analysts say, he may struggle to get his campaign ready on short notice.

Later Tuesday, Prokhorov issued a statement criticizing the decision, saying "Only the most naive person could fail to see the ploy – to buy time, while political opponents have not yet mobilized, and to conduct a quick campaign during the summer, when everyone is at their country houses and on vacation.

Prokhorov said his Civic Platform party will participate and that he is mulling his options.

"I will determine my personal position following consultations with my legal team and once a date for elections has been announced," Prokhorov said in his statement.

Sobyanin is currently supported by more than 50 percent of the city's voters, according to the latest polls. Prokhorov received eight percent of the vote in Russia's 2012 presidential election election, but the native Muscovite did much better in the capital with 20.5 percent.

No word yet from Prokhorov or his spokesperson on Sobyanin's decision. Under Russian law, Prokhorov will have to divest direct interest in foreign assets. Nets insiders do not anticipate that will effect control of the Nets.