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Convicted Russian Real Estate Tycoon Polonsky Announces Presidential Bid

Sergei Polonsky / Alexander Gorny

A Russian real estate magnate and former fugitive announced plans to build a city of the “future” in Crimea on Monday during a press conference to kickoff his presidential campaign.

Billionaire Sergei Polonsky was sentenced to five years in prison this summer for theft in excess of 2.5 billion rubles ($42 million), but was released because too much time had passed since his crime was committed, the presiding judge ruled.

Polonsky on Tuesday fashioned himself as a Russian Donald Trump, proposing building the Crimean megapolis if elected president, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"We need to build a new city in Russia — a city based on future, on new technologies,” Polonsky said during the press conference. “Because we are in the third millennium, we believe the new city will not belong to Russia, but to all countries of the world.”

"There will be no visas, there will be open access to all countries of the world where each country of the world will receive separate, free sites and will be able to realize their projects," he added.

Polonsky is no stranger to spectacle and has the past declared hunger strikes, eaten part of his tie on live TV and — though he has disputed the quote — said that anyone who isn’t a billionaire could “f-ck off.”

When reporters asked Polonsky about his plans after his release this summer, he responded: “To turn the world upside down.”

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