Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, 48, may return to the political arena in the near future. The Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported Monday that Kasyanov was preparing to become the new leader of the Democratic Party of Russia (DPR), one of the oldest liberal political organizations.
The choice is more than strange. Although the party has a 15-year history, it has more recently been completely forgotten by the electorate.
We can assume the DPR, a party that lacks an ambitious leader and operates on a small budget, invited Kasyanov. However, the latter fact clearly indicates that Kasyanov is short on funds and does not have serious financial support from big business.
In this case, Kasyanov's return to the political scene as a leader of a fairly obscure political party will most likely lead him nowhere because he will be an outsider to the political race. His chances for the 2007 parliamentary elections and 2008 presidential elections are even worse.
Kasyanov does not appear to be one of the Kremlin's dreamers (the term was used by British writer Herbert Wells, who applied it to Vladimir Lenin, who dreamt of electrifying all of Russia). Therefore, there is only one plausible explanation. He is simply trying to ensure his personal security. An uncomplicated leadership position in a small, quiet political organization, which has a solid democratic image in the West, could be used to protect Kasyanov. During the transformation from a businessman into a party leader, any direct attacks on Kasyanov, especially legal, could be regarded as political persecution.
It is easy to predict the cyclic character of his future activities. Every two or three months, Kasyanov will stir up public opinion with daring statements, taking about 2% of the popular vote away from established liberal leaders and then leaving the political scene again for a short time.
The Democratic Party of Russia was founded in May 1990 and registered in 2001. It has 13,000 members and 61 active regional branches. During the 2003 elections, the DPR received 0.23% of the votes.
Mikhail Kasyanov was first deputy Finance Minister in 1995-1999. In May 1999 he was appointed Finance Minister and retained the post when the Vladimir Putin government was formed. From January 2000 he was first deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister of Russia. From May 7, 2000 - acting Russian Prime Minister, Finance Minister. On May 17, 2000 he was appointed Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. He was dismissed in early 2004.