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Putin suggests cabinet post for tycoon Prokhorov

Russia’s incoming president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday suggested that billionaire tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov could work in the government after coming third in presidential elections.

“Mikhail Dmitriyevich (Prokhorov) is a serious man, a good businessman, and in principle he could be in demand in the government, if he should want this himself,” Putin said, quoted by Russian news agencies.

Prokhorov, one of Russia’s richest men who embarked on a political career last year, came in third place in the presidential race on a campaign of broad political and economic reform.

Prokhorov, whose campaign gathered strength gradually over the past months, eventually received 7.98 percent according to official numbers, and especially rallied citizens of Moscow, who gave him second place with just over 20 percent.

After becoming the only liberal candidate in the elections following the disqualification of veteran liberal Grigory Yavlinsky, Prokhorov faced criticism that his participation in the race was a project cooked up in the Kremlin.

However Prokhorov has vehemently denied to the public that he will seek a post in Putin’s cabinet, and on Monday said that working on any level of the government would be “not interesting in the current political system” of the Kremlin’s monopoly.

“I don’t believe that the polls can be considered fair with this amount of violations,” Prokhorov wrote on his blog Monday, inviting supporters to join his party once it is created.

He is still regarded as a person on the periphery of Putin’s potential circle of policy-makers, along with Alexei Kudrin, the finance minister who was dismissed last year.