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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Borovoi enters politics

Konstantin Borovoi, the man who has headed the Russian Commodities and Raw Materials Exchange since its inception two years ago, plans to bow out of the financial arena to become a political contender.

An outspoken postcommunist businessman whose actions have made waves in the past, Borovoi confirmed to The Moscow Times that he intended to give up the helm of the highly profitable exchange within the next two months in order to spearhead the Party of Economic Freedom, a new political grouping composed of entrepreneurs, farmers, intellectuals and commercial organizations.

The party will seek to promote privatization and economic freedom, issues close to Borovoi, who has amassed a personal ruble fortune since entering the country's fledgling private sector five years ago.

"I want to live in a normal country", Borovoi said. "It could still happen today that communists could adopt laws to stop businesses. No one wants to fight for a market economy".

In this anything-can-happen era of Russian politics, it is impossible to predict what effect Borpvoi's new career might have on President Boris Yeltsin and his opponents of various stripes. But it is clear that Borovoi's own fortune - of which he has kicked in 50 million rubles, or about $500, 000 at he current exchange rate - gives him a voice.

A professor of mathematics by training, Borovoi, 43, has been wheeling and dealing since 1987, when he began a computer software consulting business. Since then, he has had his hand in scores of profitable ventures. By far, most notable has been his role in the exchange, which he helped transform into one of the nation's largest exchanges.

Borovoi, who is seeking to channel his business acumen into political fundraising, said that campaign funds would go, in his words, "toward advertising propaganda".

He said that the party was launched with 5, 000 founding members and has won the support of a number of Western firms, including the BBC, Credit Suisse and Clifford Brody Associates.

Though Borovoi has had no formal training as a capitalist, he has relied on Western models to champion economic reform. When it comes to politics, he is also depending on Western-style campaign tactics.

Borovoi has created an account with the International Bank of Economic Cooperation in conjunction with Credit Lyonnais to accept hard-currency donations. A training seminar for administrators of the party's hoped-for 150 branches will take place next month. and the party's first congress is slated for October.

Borovoi, who has never shied away from the limelight, has frequently accused city and state leaders of corruption.

But despite having made enemies along the way, he has been able to amass fame and fortune. This time he is seeking something more.

"The goal of this party is power", Borovoi declared.

Dismissing speculation that he would be willing to serve as one of Yeltsin's ministers, he made it clear that he sought a number one role for himself.

"The most important thing is to create a party to fight communists and not become a member of the team", he added. "It would be like playing football with monkeys".