15 April 2007

Kasparov Kaptured

I have always followed Russian politics closely. Visiting Moscow in 1998 and again in 2002 strengthened my interest. They say that Russians like strong leaders, but I have been increasingly unhappy with the authoritarian rule of Vladimir Putin. Reading Putin's Russia published by Anna Politkovskaya in 2004 was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. Anna Politkovskaya was assassinated late last year.

When in 2005, Garry Kasparov retired from chess to concentrate on politics with this salvo

"In chess I have done all I could and even more. Now I intend to use my intellect and strategic thinking in Russian politics. ... I will do all I can to oppose Putin's dictatorship."

Kasparov's mission was a liberal and libertarian one with individual freedoms at the core of the message. I was right behind him. So I was a little disappointed to hear of him coining it from corporate chess displays in the US shortly after the launch of his new career and wondered quietly to myself whether he had the guts to follow through. It appears he has. See here and here. As Garry says, this is one game he cannot afford to lose and I believe that he is right to pull support from across the political spectrum - replacing tyranny with real democracy is more important than arguments between the left and right.

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