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Russian billionaire presidential candidate raps on TV [Video]

February 24, 2012 | 11:01 am

Mikhail Prokhorov is one of the richest men in Russia. He owns the New Jersey Nets. He's running for president of Russia. And he raps.

Prokhorov dropped a few rhymes on a Russian talk show called "Projector Paris Hilton" a few weeks ago. "I am a real Russian Eminem," Prokhorov said, pumping his fist in the air.

Suspicion has swirled around the Russian tycoon, one of the men vying to defeat Vladimir Putin as president. Is he a genuine candidate risking the ire of Putin? Or was he nudged into the race by the Kremlin to make it look like political pluralism is alive and well in Russia?

Prokhorov stands out from the other candidates by aiming squarely at the younger generation, promising closer ties to the West. He may also attract frustrated Russians who want to cast a protest vote against Putin. But older conservatives may be turned off by his lavish lifestyle.

Though Putin has faced down protests in Moscow and other big cities over alleged election fraud, he is widely expected to win the presidency in March, Sergei Loiko writes for The Times.

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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

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