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Russia

Is Russian Billionaire Following Path Of Putin's Jailed Foe, Khodorkovsky?

KOMMERSANT, 36ON.RU, MOSCOW TIMES (Russia)



Worldcrunch

VORONEZH – Russian Billionaire (and owner of the Brooklyn Nets) Mikhail Prokhorov has announced that he will open a “School for Citizen Leaders,” in this city of nearly one million, some 500 kilometers due south of Moscow, 36on.ru reports.

The stated goal of the school will be to find and support citizen activists and their projects. Prokhorov, is setting up this new undertaking with the other leaders of his recently founded political party, the Civic Platform Party.

But the site for the new leadership school has some historical -- and even provocative -- roots. Organizers have alluded to the city's history of organizing similar institutions, a clear reference to the “School of Public Politics” that operated in the early 2000s in Voronezh, with the support of former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and some of the same people behind the current plans, Kommersant reports.

Once the richest man in Russia, Khodorkovsky has been in jail since 2003 on fraud and tax evasion charge, a move denounced by many as punishment for backing opposition parties.

According to Kommersant, the new leadership school is also hoping to add seminars in St. Petersburg before the end of the year. Prokhorov – Russia’s seventh richest man – announced recently that he was quitting business to enter politics full time, according to the Moscow Times.

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