Garry Kasparov for president!?

3/15/2004 – Is the chess #1 considering a move to becoming the Russian #1? Running a country easier than playing in Linares? Kasparov recently launched the democratic reform group Free Choice 2008 Committee. Today, the day of Putin's reelection, Kasparov gave an interview to ABC News in which he didn't deny (or confirm!) his own political aspirations.

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Kasparov in '08?

For many years Garry Kasparov has been active in Russian politics. He has also been a frequent contributor of political editorials to the Wall Street Journal since 1991. Early in 2004 he pushed things into another gear by becoming the chairman of the Free Choice 2008 Committee, a group opposing the anti-democratic activities of Russian president Vladimir Putin, who was today reelected in a landslide with virtually no opposition.

In the past week Kasparov has penned hard-hitting articles in the Journal and the UK Sunday Telegraph. (The WSJ is paid subscription only; the Telegraph editorial is here.) In both he attacks the Putin administration for jailing detractors, controlling the media, and rigging the elections. He also calls upon the Western democracies to support democracy in Russia by criticizing Putin and threatening action.

Kasparov's political activities were cast in a new light in an interview today by America's ABC News, one of the largest media organizations. The interviewer seemed far more interested in a potential Kasparov 2008 presidential candidacy than in the activities of the Free Choice 2008 Committee.

To be honest, so are we! Kasparov deflected the questions about his own aspirations in the way of potential candidates everywhere. "Again … so far I see my goal as to guarantee Russian people in four years time will have a choice. If it happens then I will consider my next step."

This isn't the first time the words "President Kasparov" have been put together. A completely objective pundit, Garry's mother, once made a case that Russia could do worse than putting her little boy in charge.

It would definitely make the old debate about "strongest chessplaying politician ever" completely moot. Kasparov would easily top the pawn-pushing politicos usually trotted out: Andrew Bonar Law, Che Guevara, and Marshal Tito. We'd say 2008 is a bit early, but as Kasparov himself pointing out in another interview on the topic, at 40 he's a little old in the chess world but still quite young for politics!

See our recent stories on Kasparov in Russian politics here and here.

 


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