Bush’s Buddy in Moscow

6/2/2005 – Is the West – and specifically US President George Bush – coddling the current regime in the Kremlin? Is the US supporting dictators just because they are considered important allies in the war on terror? Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion and contributing editor at the Wall Street Journal, answers this question with a blistering “yes”.

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The editorial by Garry Kasparov appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s broadsheet edition today. It is mentioned but not up on the WSJ OpinionJournal site, so you may want to buy the newspaper to read the full text. Here are some excerpts from Kasparov's piece, which is entitled "George Bush’s Buddy In Moscow".

  • Oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky received a nine-year prison sentence from a court in Moscow, for tax practices that are still being used openly by friends of the Kremlin. “Nine years or until Mr. Putin is out of power, whichever comes first” would be more accurate.

  • The real crime here was murder, the cold-blooded assassination of the Russian justice system, perpetrated by the prosecutors by order of the godfather himself, Vladimir Putin.

  • Mr. Putin’s buddy, President George W. Bush, spoke on behalf of "people in my administration" who thought that Mr. Khodorkovsky may have been judged guilty before the trial. He said it will be "interesting" to see if Mr. Khodorkovsky appeals. I hope he is entertained, although he is sure to find that sequels are rarely as interesting as the original.

  • Mr. Bush has been dishonest with the American public in his exhortations about spreading democracy. There was blood in the streets of Uzbekistan last month, but the U.S. is careful not to offend the local dictator, President Islam Karimov, who is considered an important ally in the war on terror.

  • The last resort of Western leaders is to talk about Russia’s cooperation on global security. This is a sad joke. Russia continues to: (1) supply nuclear technology to Iran; (2) support undemocratic regimes in Uzbekistan, Belarus, and Turkmenistan; (3) help China build up its military arsenal; (4) refuse to play a positive role in the Middle East peace process.

  • America’s "serious concerns" about Russia are meaningless. It’s code for telling Mr. Putin "anything goes, we won’t interfere."

  • The hard line taken in the Khodorkovsky case has brought us closer to the point of no return, when the Kremlin will have no choice but to use that deadly force to stay in power. All signs indicate that Mr. Putin’s regime will not hesitate to spill blood in the streets of Russia in order to maintain its grip.


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