Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 15:37 UK

Russian oligarch: Your questions

Mikhail Prokhorov (2008)
Mikhail Prokhorov has done better than others - but still lost billions

Russia's richest man and, at 43, a man sometimes described as Russia's most sought-after bachelor, Mikhail Prokhorov is worth close to $10bn (£6.1bn).

He has weathered the global crisis better than any other Russian billionaire - but it has still cost him half his fortune.

The BBC had the rare opportunity to meet him for an interview. Here our Moscow correspondent, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, puts some of your questions to him.


If you are in possession of $100 what would be the first thing you would do with it and where do you invest it? Joshua Belling, UK

Mr Prokhorov: I'm sorry, I can't think of investment in volume of $100 - I'm very bad at microeconomics.

BBC correspondent: But if you went back to the beginning? I read that you started with selling jeans with your first partner

I think there are two options for Russian youngsters - you need to try to reach a good position in a big company and to have five to seven years of experience in big company to have relations, etc.

If you are more innovative... [the other option is] to have one good friend, for example, in a bank, and to have great idea. And all the time you need to keep a risk. If you are a businessman, you keep a risk. And it doesn't matter how much money you have - $100 or more, you need to have a great idea and you need to have a great team. If you have both in any case, you will find money. It is my personal experience.

Do you think you deserve the power and money you have, or you are just lucky? Dylan, US

Mr Prokhorov: Of course, every business, it's a part of luck. We have a lot of examples. Great strategy, a good team, but something went wrong. You need a little bit luck for sure.

How optimistic are you for the long-term prospects of Russia, because you think of the declining population, of corruption, difficult relations with the West and continued reliance on oil and gas? UK reader

Mr Prokhorov: I'm very optimistic from a Russian perspective, because I know Russian history. The more difficult the situation is, the better the development of Russia. That's why for Russia this crisis is a great opportunity to change some Russian problems faster than we can expect in the good times.

What do you think of the second Mikhail Khodorkovsky trial? Rustam in Kazan, Russia

Mr Prokhorov: No comment.

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