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But Prokhorov denied that in his blog on Wednesday.

“Naturally, my candidacy is good for the Kremlin. Naturally, they want to play democracy and show that people have ‘some kind of a choice’,” he wrote. “But we must absolutely use the authorities, too, if we don’t want to just make some noise and disappear, but to change our lives for the better.”

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Associated Press writers Sofia Javed and Gary Peach contributed to this report.