Garry Kasparov and Opposition Politics in Russia: An Introduction

Jul 12, 2007, 11:29 AM |
September 14, 2004:
Former chess world champion, chairman of the liberal organization Committee 2008: Free Choice, Garry Kasparov, called Russian president Vladimir Putin an “exemplary Stalinist”. (MORE)
January 12, 2005:
Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “fascist”, Garry Kasparov, widely regarded as one of history’s greatest chess player, has told the BBC. Kasparov accused the Russian leader of dismantling democracy with the support of a supine West, which is only interested in stability in the East.
Kasparov, currently in London to work on a new book and promotional events, said that allowing Moscow to host the G8 summit in 2006 would be the equivalent of Nazi Germany being allowed to host the Olympics in 1936. (MORE)
February 4, 2005:
Former Russian chess champion and current human rights activist Garry Kasparov has compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Roman emperor Caligula, famous for including his horse in the Senate.
In a column for The Wall Street Journal, Kasparov accused Putin of creating a puppet judiciary to persecute the opposition, such as the oil major Yukos, which has financed opposition parties. (MORE)
March 11, 2005:
Former world champion Garry Kasparov has announced his retirement from competition chess, Reuters reports. After winning a prestigious tournament in the southern Spanish town of Linares for the ninth time on Thursday he told reporters that he wanted to devote himself to a career in politics and as a writer.
’’I will play chess, because I like it a lot, but not professionally. I may play in simultaneous games or fast games, but nothing more,’’ he said. But the chessman stressed that he had to take this decision because he had been under enormous pressure from the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in recent years and hadn’t received any support from the organization.
At the moment he is a chairman of the liberal group Committee-2008 Free Choice, which was founded a year ago. The group’s members include journalists, opposition politicians and human rights activists. (MORE)
April 7, 2005:
Former chess world champion and chairman of the liberal-oriented group Committee 2008: Free Choice, Garry Kasparov, has announced his plans to set up a political party of his own, jointly with State Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov, RIA-Novosti news agency reported. (MORE)
May 18, 2005:
Former chess champ and the chairman of the Russian opposition organization Committee-2008: Free Choice, Garry Kasparov, has announced that he is going to set up a united civil front in Russia, Interfax news agency reports.
The grouping “will work to preserve electoral democracy in Russia. We have started to set up the United Civil Front together with those who share our views not because we like the word ’front’, but if the authorities declare a war on us, we should somehow respond to this,” Kasparov said at a news conference.
He promised to make a manifesto on the front’s foundation public in the near future.
"The primary goal of the systemic opposition is to dismantle the currently existing system and create a free political floor on which free elections can be held in 2007-2008. The bottom line is to preserve the Russians’ right to elect a responsible government, both in presidential and parliamentary elections,” Kasparov concluded. (MORE)
August 22, 2005:
Garry Kasparov, Russia’s former world chess champion and prominent liberal, said he had been briefly detained at a border checkpoint at a Moscow airport as he was returning from a vacation in Croatia with his family. He put the incident down to the authorities’ unwillingness to let him return home and continue his political activities. (MORE)
October 11, 2005:
Fire safety inspectors in Russia’s Siberian region of Kemerovo have closed down the Davydov Tavern chosen as a venue for a news conference that was to be held Tuesday by prominent liberal politician and former chess champion Garry Kasparov.
Authorities said the tavern would be closed for five days pending a regular examination by the local fire inspectorate, the Gazeta.Ru news website reported.
Igor Panin, the owner of the tavern, reported that he had learned of the decision on Tuesday morning from local journalists and Garry Kasparov. Panin believes that by ordering the closure, the local government sought to disrupt the meeting planned by the opposition leader. (MORE)
November 16, 2005:
Russia’s Justice Ministry has registered the interregional social organization led by former world chess champion Garry Kasparov.
The United Civil Front has over 2,000 members and departments in 40 Russian regions. As Kasparov said in May while announcing the creation of his front, it “will work to preserve electoral democracy in Russia. We have started to set up the United Civil Front together with those who share our views not because we like the word ’front’, but if the authorities declare a war on us, we should somehow respond to this.” (MORE)
March 21, 2006:
Marina Litvinovich, an aide to Russian opposition politician Garry Kasparov and a former head of the electoral headquarters of the liberal SPS party was badly beaten on a Moscow street on Monday evening. The Gazeta.Ru web-site reports that Litvinovich was hit over the head from behind as she was going out of her office and heading for her car at about 21:15 Moscow time. She collapsed after the very first blow and cannot describe the attackers. (MORE)
July 12, 2006:
Russian opposition leader and former chess champion Garry Kasparov said at least 20 of his activists had been arrested around Russia as they traveled to protest ahead of the G8 summit in St. Petersburg this weekend.“The number is growing by the hour,” he said. Supporters had been refused permission to get on flights and were dragged off trains and buses. (MORE)
October 12, 2006:
Former chess champion Garry Kasparov, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Thursday he fears for his safety in the wake of the weekend murder of a critical Russian investigative journalist, AFP news agency reports. “I try to protect myself and my family as much as possible but I am aware that no protection is possible,” he said in an interviewed published in daily Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Negocios. (MORE)
December 12, 2006:
Russian police have seized propaganda materials from the office of the United People’s Front opposition group to check them for extremist content, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Tuesday. Ekho Moskvy radio said the materials are linked to the group’s plan to hold an unauthorized protest march December 16.
Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, the leader of the United People’s Front, pointed out in comments for Ekho Moskvy that the search was conducted on Russian Constitution Day, December 12. Denis Bilunov, executive director of the group, told RIA Novosti that policemen “seized several newspapers and other materials for inspection.” (MORE)