Garry Kasparov and Opposition Politics in Russia: An Introduction (Part 2)

Jul 12, 2007, 3:23 PM |

Garry Kasparov and Opposition Politics in Russia: An Introduction (Part 2)

February 11, 2007:

In recent days, top Bush administration officials have met in Washington with Garry Kasparov, the former chess grandmaster who has emerged as a leading figure in Russia's marginalized political opposition. Kasparov has said that he advised the officials that lecturing Russia on democracy can be counterproductive but that they should not pretend Putin is one of them, either. "That's why I say, 'Don't interfere, just don't support Putin,' " Kasparov said. (more)
April 14, 2007:

Russian opposition activist Garry Kasparov was among about 170 people arrested as police moved against a banned anti-Kremlin rally in Moscow. The former chess champion was freed several hours later after being fined $40 (£20) for public order offences. The huge security operation was launched to prevent protesters from gathering at Pushkin Square. (more)
April 20, 2007:

Mr Kasparov was reportedly in good spirits as he went for questioning at a security service building on Friday. It's an important moment in Russia's political and public life. "The prosecutors are trying, through the FSB [security service], to detect traces of criminal acts in critical remarks about the authorities," the Reuters news agency quoted him as saying. He defended his role as an opposition activist, which saw him arrested and fined at last weekend's protests. "I think it's an important moment in Russia's political and public life and its jurisprudence because it's an obvious attempt to make any kind of political activity the subject of criminal law," he said. According to a statement on Mr Kasparov's website, the FSB is questioning him over comments made in a radio interview and in a newspaper article ahead of the protests. (more)
June 20, 2007:

The one thing Mr Kasparov does have these days is bodyguards, large men with thick necks and dark glasses. Russian politics is a dirty game. Mr Kasparov was on his way to lead a political rally in Russia's second city. He is trying to unify the disparate groups that make up Russia's fractured and marginalised political opposition. Since Vladimir Putin came to power here seven years ago, political opposition to the Kremlin has all but disappeared. The Russian parliament is dominated by two pro-Kremlin parties, United Russia and A Just Russia. Much of the mainstream media has come back under Kremlin control and the voices of dissent have been gradually silenced. Mr Kasparov believes real political opposition to Mr Putin can now come only from outside parliament, and that means taking to the streets. (more)

June 21, 2007

Russian chess champion and opposition leader Garry Kasparov said that despite polls showing strong support for Russian President Vladimir Putin there is slowly growing public anger at the leader as the country heads into its election season. Troubled by the effects of media control and anti-extremist laws used to stifle dissent, an increasing number of Russians are disheartened with Putin's government and sympathetic to the country's small opposition movement, he said Thursday at a New York event hosted by the Washington-based Hudson Institute. "I believe that support is growing," he said. "Russians are puzzled, concerned, anxious about the future direction of the country." Kasparov was in Canada and the United States this week seeking financial support for his opposition campaign. (more)
July 10, 2007

Russian opposition politician Garry Kasparov says emerging divisions in the Other Russia movement are natural as it moves from staging street protests to preparing for the upcoming election season. In a July 9 interview with RFE/RL's Russian Service, Kasparov said Other Russia was moving "from words to deeds" as elections approach. Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov left Other Russia on July 2, prior to the group's conference in Moscow on July 7-8. Kasparov said Kasyanov wanted to be named Other Russia's presidential candidate while other members wanted a free competition. Kasparov said Other Russia needed to step up its activities in the regions. He outlined a plan to hold a series of regional conferences, followed by a national congress that would nominate a unified opposition presidential candidate. "Today, we are drafting a proposal for convening [regional] conferences," he said. "And I expect that in the next two weeks we will coordinate it with regional activists, not only of our organization, but also of many other organizations that work with Other Russia in the regions in order to be able to hold 45 conferences in August and September which will be followed by a congress." Kasparov criticized Kasyanov for seeking a "predictable" process for selecting a presidential candidate. (more)