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Whispers of revolution at Pravoye Delo

Intrigue is in the air as Mikhail Prokhorov's Pravoye Delo gears up for the State Duma elections but his party denies rumors that the Kremlin is about to have him replaced.

Sources close to the top told Gazeta.ru on Tuesday that the big boss could go by the end of the three-day conference, after dissatisfaction in the government with the direction the opposition party is taking.

RIA Novosti and Kommersant cite discontent with Yevgeny Roizman's rising star, the Kremlin is reportedly unhappy with the anti-drugs boss' inclusion on Pravoye Delo's list of candidates, and the implications this could mean for the party.

Prokhorov told Kommersant that he would resign if was any standoff over Roizman becomes critical.

A kept opposition

"From the very beginning the party has existed at the discretion of the Kremlin, even though it is Prokhorov spending his own money. The political scene is such that no-one can participate without the will of the Kremlin," Masha Lipman of the Carnegie Center told The Moscow News.

Kremlin shaped storm clouds seem to be gathering over Prokhorov's head and this could mean that the controversial tycoon's days are numbered. "The grievances of the Kremlin lie in the fact that Prokhorov has moved the party to the nationalist-left side and so instead of filling the liberal right niche it has started to compete with [ruling] United Russia," a source told Gazeta.ru.

Kremlin will put to the vote

Today's congress will see clashes in the Pravoye Delo ranks, Roizman has said that he intends to stand and Andrei Bogdanov, a likely pretender to Prokhorov who Lipman says has the reputation of a hired gun, means to take to the floor to criticize Prokhorov.

But despite the Kremlin's interest it cannot determine what happens to Prokhorov at the conference today. "His dismissal, unlike Kremlin appointments, depends on a vote. The Kremlin cannot [summarily] dismiss him," Lipman said.

Even though "everything is at the Kremlin's discretion it will be interesting to see if a democratic process truly decides the outcome. It will be an interesting phenomenon in Russian politics, where competitive politics has been completely eviscerated," she said.

A Just Cause party representative saw the Kremlin's hand at work at the Pravoye Delo congress, however.

"The assembly has been taken over by people who answer to the Presidential Administration. And all of this is happening without Prokhorov's approval. He is not at the assembly," a spokeswoman at Just Cause told The Moscow News.

I have not heard that question being raised," the spokeswoman said of the reported possibility that Prokhorov may be replaced as Right Cause head.

Pravoye Delo's press service have denied that Prokhorov is about to go, Interfax and RIA Novosti reported earlier today.

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