A long-time ally of Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Valdimir Putin has proposed the creation of a new liberal party, Reuter’s reports. Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin says there is a need to counterbalance Putin’s United Russia, especially after the flawed parliamentary elections of Dec. 4. Since then, tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets in solidarity against the Putin regime, seeking accountability for rigged election results. There is some concern, however, that Kudrin’s new part would merely be a political decoy for for Putin, providing only a semblance of democratic opening. Some even believe Putin and Kudrin may be working together. After serving as finance minister for Putin for eight years, Kudrin was forced out of government after arguing with President Dimitry Medvedev over excessive military expenditures. As well, the New York Times reports that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who owns the New Jersey Nets basketball franchise in the U.S, among other assets, said he intend to challenge Putin in the upcoming 2012 presidential elections.