DETAILS: Let's talk about the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who received a two-year prison sentence after they stormed a Moscow cathedral last February to protest the Russian Orthodox Church's support of Vladimir Putin, who was later elected president. What's your take on the situation?
Mikhail Prokhorov: The only word I can find to describe those proceedings is reactionary. It's an absolutely egregious case. This was, perhaps, poor behavior by these young women, but at most they deserved 15 days in jail for disturbing the peace. The entire criminal-justice system and political system—including the church—has ganged up on them. This was a show trial that greatly disturbs me, because it was exactly these kinds of trials in our history that led up to [the Stalinist purges of] 1937.

DETAILS: Do you think Putin should have been allowed to return to the Kremlin? He could be there another 12 years—that's a long time.
Mikhail Prokhorov: I proposed limiting the presidency to two four-year terms without the possibility of running again. If you ask me, yes, it's a long time.

DETAILS: If you are ever elected president, will there be a First Lady?
Mikhail Prokhorov: Of course. Her name is Russia.

DETAILS: At 47, you're widely known as Russia's No. 1 bachelor and an admirer of female beauty.
Mikhail Prokhorov: Is that a bad thing?

DETAILS: Not at all. What do you look for in a woman?
Mikhail Prokhorov: First of all, I'm not really considered the most eligible bachelor anymore, because everyone has already given up hope that I might ever get married. Regarding the most important trait in a woman, I would answer with the words of Oscar Wilde: "Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood."

DETAILS: You're also developing a hybrid car, the Yo-Mobile. Do you like to drive?
Mikhail Prokhorov: Once traffic jams began appearing in Moscow in 1995, I decided to stop driving altogether. I was a good driver. I even competed in ice-rally competitions.

DETAILS: You're six feet eight inches tall. Is that a blessing or a curse?
Mikhail Prokhorov: It can be a double-edged sword. I'm visible everywhere. Whenever I tried to cut class in school, I would always get caught. But whenever I'd take the subway, the air was always fresh up high. For everyday living, it can be difficult. I don't fit in hotel beds, can't squeeze into certain cars, and it's hard to buy clothes. But tall people don't mind the hassles. They only make us stronger.



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