Kasparov detained at Domodedovo Airport

8/23/2005 – Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, now active in Russian oppositional politics, was briefly detained on his return to Russia from a trip to Croatia. Everyone in his group was let through without problems, but border guards spent time checking whether they could prevent a Russian citizen from entering. The Moscow Times reports...

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Carl Schreck, staff writer of the Moscow Times, reports that Kasparov was held up at Domodedovo Airport and assumes that the Federal Security Service may have blacklisted him because of his criticism of President Vladimir Putin.

Kasparov was returning from Split, Croatia, at about 7 p.m. Sunday with 10 other people, including his family, when he was held up at passport control. Everyone else in his group passed through with no problems, but suddenly he was stopped, Kasparov said. "The woman, the lieutenant, who took my passport recognized me. Suddenly, she looked at the computer and said, 'Wait a second.'"

Kasparov said he was held up for about 25 minutes while border guards consulted one another, made telephone calls and handed his passport around "like a hot potato" before stamping it and allowing him to enter the country. A member of the group he was traveling with overheard a border guard saying, "How can I stop a Russian citizen from entering Russia?" Kasparov said.

"I have been traveling extensively for 25 years, and it's never happened before," Kasparov said. "I don't think it's ever happened with any Russian citizen who was entering his own country. It's highly unusual."

Kasparov said he believed he may have a "black mark" next to his name in the database of the Federal Border Service, which is under the umbrella of the FSB. "It's a general dissatisfaction in the FSB with my political activities. It's very clear that they are overreacting to any political activity that is not in line with Putin's policies," Kasparov said.

The FSB press service said late Monday that "a failure in the technical control system caused a delay" for Kasparov, Interfax reported. "Confiscating his passport or creating other obstacles to his entry into the Russian Federation was not our intent."


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