Billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov has announced his candidacy for the Russian presidency.
The tycoon, representing himself as the middle class advocate, will run against Prime Minister Valdimir Putin next March.
The premier is still expected to win the election, despite growing signs of discontent with his rule.
Mikhail Prokhorov said: “I take comfort in the fact that we’re seeing a return to civil society. People are no longer being passive and this is very positive. I’m very much against any revolution. I know our history too well, and all revolutions in Russia have ended in bloodshed and dramatic drops in living standards.”
But some believe Prokhorov is only there to appease liberal critics who fault Putin for not allowing strong opposition.
Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has also staked his claim for the presidency.
He is hotly tipped to become the new leader of the Right Cause party, with which he has had links in the past.
Kudrin has openly stated he will remain in contact his rival Mikhail Prokhorov.