Kasparov on the trail and in the news

6/29/2005 – After retiring from competitive chess in March this year Garry Kasparov, arguably the strongest player in the history of the game, has dedicated himself to political reform in his native Russia. This week he is spending in smaller towns and rural districts. MoscowNews did an interview and Dutch TV had a video report.

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Dutch journalist Jeroen Pauw introduces the report by saying that former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov is aiming at a career in Russian politics. He wants to get rid of the, in his eyes, undemocratic President Putin (which the Dutch spell "Poetin") as soon as possible. Putin on his turn is trying everything he can to block Kasparov's attempts. He made sure he doesn't appear on state television and disturbs his demonstrations.

Kasparov: War has been declared on us Russians. President Putin's authoritarian power is growing. The laws of the constitution are broken. The government has performed a coup against the constitution.

The video shows a demonstration in which Kasparov is pulled away by his bodyguards. People shout "Hurray for Kasparov" several times. Kasparov: No I am not happy because there are many people put in the busses. You should show the world what is happening here. Commentary: "Garry Kasparov is on warpath without a chess board. He founded a Civil Front to mobilize the discontented people with protest on the street, which is possible due to Garry's popularity.

On the bus to Kostroma on the Volga Kasparov asks what is going to happen on his arrival. He is told that he is to take bread, dip it in the salt and put it in his mouth. "You may then kiss the girl", says his aide. Kasparov doesn't.

Kasparov: People should know that we are not alone, here in Kostroma and other cities like St. Petersburg. Everyone wants the same as we, the task of the people is to bundle the protests.

In the street Kasparov, with his ever-present bodyguards, goes from meeting to meeting, talking to local politician and organizations. In the provinces the power of the Kremlin weighs heavier then in the cities. A year ago it was unthinkable that Poetin would be President again, but now no one will be amazed if Putin follows up Putin.

Kasparov: Our country has to decide if it wants a democracy. This regime is killing all democracy. Right now there is no time for an historical experiment.

In the TV studio the anchor say Kasparov is on the black list of the state television. The local TV station gives him 25 minutes to explain to the people what is going on. Kasparov: "An important task is to build an Internet organization so all Russian provinces can see what really is going on and don't have only the official television channels to get information. They need information directly from the source."

On his own stand Kasparov says: "After what I have built up in the past 30 years people know that I am stable and can be trusted. They can be sure I don't change things afterwards."


Kasparov’s Political Gambit to Bring Down Putin Regime

In an interview with Svetlana Lokotkova of The Moscow News Kasparov answers questions about his political goals. Here are a few quotes.

  • The ruling authorities have declared a war on the people. The number of people dissatisfied with the state of affairs in the country is growing. The ruling establishment has abolished gubernatorial elections, sharply toughened legislation regarding the registration of political parties and holding of processions and demonstrations. It has virtually banned referendums. Voting in elections is becoming a rubber stamp for decisions made elsewhere.

  • First, the people are stripped of power — they can no longer elect governors and they can no longer vote for single-mandate candidates. Next, the people are stripped of money. More and more people are beginning to see the connection.

  • Having liquidated elections in Russia, the regime will not stop. We will see how it guarantees its self-reproduction. Once the regime has decided on self-reproduction, it won’t consult anyone. But if the regime breaks the law, it must be dismantled.

  • Today we are witnessing regular demonstrations that demand Putin’s resignation. The tendency is obvious: 70 percent of the citizenry used to support Putin; now the figure is 40 percent.

  • There is a wide variety of possible protests — walkouts, hunger strikes, demonstrations. It’s difficult to incite a hunger strike — that’s a measure people resort to when they can’t bear to be downtrodden any longer. But we can unite all these people into a broad anti-regime front. They must feel that they are not alone.

  • We could hope for a miracle of course — that life will suddenly become wonderful, with the ruling establishment suddenly changing its mind and building a paradise on earth for us. If that comes true, nothing will be left for us to do, and we’ll let Putin proclaim himself tsar and rule the country for ever.

  • Unlike the majority of players on the Russian political scene, I have a reputation, and I will retain it in any case. Many politicians found our manifesto too tough for them to sign. They all need to consult someone before making a decision, since they all have so-called “political partners of priority.” As for me, I always make decisions by myself, and no one can make me change my mind once I have made a firm decision. My decision as to the present situation is this: with the present regime, we can only negotiate its capitulation.

Full interview in English translation on the Moscownews Web Site.


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