Kasparov: Russia is turning into a police state

12/14/2003 – On a trip to Denmark Garry Kasparov gave a no-holds-barred interview to DR TV. "Putin was a KGB officer who believes the country needs if not a dictatorship at least a very strong hand, an iron fist," says Kasparov, who also hints that he may soon be playing "a certain role" in Russian politics himself. Here's the interview and a partial transcript.

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The interview with DR is in the last segment of a 30-minute current topics show Deadline. In it we are introduced to the career of Garry Kasparov – his victory over Karpov in 1985-86, the cold war, his battle against the Soviet system, and then against Deep Blue, Vladimir Kramnik, and his recent match against X3D Fritz. After this comes the interview section in which Kasparov speaks on a range of subjects. Here are some excerpts:

  • About his foundation that promotes chess for children:
    “Introducing even a little amount of chess into the curriculum helps kids to improve their confidence, their self-assurance, fantasy, logic, and above all their sense of responsibility.

  • On the political developments in his country:
    “Russia is rapidly turning into a police state. Every week and every month adds more power into President Putin’s hands. Let’s not forget that he was a KGB officer – and we say there are no ex-KGB officers. He doesn’t know any better, he believes that the country needs if not a dictatorship at least a very strong hand, an iron fist. The recent election would by European standards be called a joke. There were violations at every level, it was mind-boggling. Definitely Russia is now a better place than during the Soviet era. But we expected our country to be in a much better condition in the 21st century than we are seeing now.”

  • On his book “My Great Predecessors”:
    “This is a lifetime project. I am trying to narrate the entire history of professional classical chess, to show the history of chess ideas through the decades through the personalities, the personal stories of the greatest players. There will be a volume on Kasparov, but that will be in the end, it will be volume six.”

  • On regaining his world championship title:
    “Unfortunately the world of chess is now in total chaos. There is no big match on the horizon because the official body FIDE cannot get its act together. I see no progress or chances, so I must be satisfied with my status of being the number one rated player in the world for the last 18 years. I hope I can keep this record for 20 years, but I have other things to think about. There are new volumes of my book, and maybe there will be some things happening in Russia and I will be playing a certain role as well. Maybe not in a political way, but Russia needs input from certain people who can raise their voices, which is what I am doing now. I hope that the Russian population will not tolerate the current course of events, which are sliding towards a very unfortunate outcome.

The entire interview is available on the DR web site in Windows Media format. Click here to start the replay in your Media Player. The Kasparov interview is the last ten-minute segment, starting at 20' 30" into the video sequence.

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The Danish media company DR is the country’s only purely licence-financed radio/TV station. This means that it is independent of advertising, but it also has a public service obligation requiring DR Radio and DR TV to present a wide choice of programmes for all age and social groups. The public service obligation also means that DR must provide objective and professional news coverage.

DR is the country’s largest electronic news provider on radio, television and the Internet. For the Danes it is a natural part of their lives. During a week, 84% of the population watches DR TV and 85% listens to DR Radio. On average DR offers 24 hours of television and 162 hours of radio during a 24-hour period.


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