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Soros on Putin

This is a good op-ed by George Soros, whose reputation as a boogieman among some American conservatives interests me far less than his much more deserved fearful reputation among dictators in the former Soviet Union. He pressed for individual freedom across the former Soviet Bloc and his Open Society Foundations continue this work. I must tweak Soros a little, however, as I have been writing nearly identical phrases myself for quite a while. Of course, it is the goal of any op-ed writer to spread his views, so I should be flattered and not complain!

Soros repeats key points I have long been making about Putin: that he is an opportunistic tactician and not a strategist, jumping around causing trouble but digging himself in deeper; that he is far more dangerous to the free world than terrorists like ISIS because he is targeting the structural unity of the EU and other stabilizing institutions; that he is using his intervention in Syria to create more refugees to weaken the EU.

Soros’s article concludes with a theme I have used regularly, that the value of human life is what separates the free world from the dictators and terrorists, and that they will use this against us. The final line also restates what I have been saying about Putin for nearly a decade: that while stopping him may be difficult now, it will only get harder tomorrow.


Talking Policy: Garry Kasparov on Putin’s Russia | World Policy Journal | 02.05.2016

This long interview with World Policy Journal is a useful summary of my thoughts on what Putin is doing, why he is doing it, and what the future holds.

February 5, 2016

WORLD POLICY JOURNAL: In the book, you recall a question you asked a European Union official in 2005: “What would it take for Europe to stop treating Putin like a democrat? Maybe if all opposition parties are banned? Or what if they started shooting people in the street?” Seeing as opposition parties have indeed been banned in Russia, and with Boris Nemtsov’s murder in February 2015, Europe and the U.S. have still not made any significant moves to stand up to Putin. We ask you: what would it take for Europe—and the U.S.—to stop treating Putin like a democrat?

GARRY KASPAROV: I don’t think they are treating him as a democrat any longer. We definitely saw quite a significant change in the assessment of Putin, but not in the behavior. I think today, as opposed to 2005 and 2006, they know that Putin is a brutal dictator. Before, they believed that Russia could be a fragile democracy, and Putin was the best Russia could hope for. They now know that he’s capable of murdering people and invading neighboring countries, but still see no way of confronting him openly because of the conclusion that upsetting the status quo could be more damaging than simply playing into Putin’s hands. We saw it with the latest revelation of Litvinenko’s murder and the reaction of the Dutch government to the MH17 tragedy. They know who Putin is, but there is no political will to confront him, as he deserves.


The Exchange: Keeping Putin in check |@Reuters

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 – 12:20

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov joins Jeffrey Goldfarb to discuss Russia, Ukraine, and his new book “Winter Is Coming”

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