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Garry Kasparov: ‘Putin doesn’t need friends any more. He needs enemies’

By 6/27/15 

Adolf Hitler, I suggest to Garry Kasparov, undeniably had his faults. But is it wrong to imagine that even the Führer – in common with Stalin, Robespierre and Pol Pot – initially entered political life with some notion of enhancing the public good?

“Define ‘good’,” replies Kasparov. “Then examine the consequences. Stalin killed more people than Hitler. Though in that league, Pol Pot may be the champion.”

“How about Putin?” I ask. “Was there ever any sense of a mission; any hint of philanthropy?”

“No. Putin is an opportunist, not a strategist. He’s like a poker player who got dealt a lucky hand. He was a KGB man from the start and proud of it. The KGB,” he adds, “is not a philanthropic organisation. If a kid’s dream is to join the KGB, that is something of a concern.”

We meet in a private room at a hotel in Wroclaw, Poland. If you didn’t recognise this muscular, grey-haired figure as the greatest chess player of his era, you might struggle to guess his former occupation. With his combative manner and flattened nose, you might take him to be a retired prize-fighter.

Read full article at Newsweek

“The Man Without a Face”, by Masha Gessen

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 12.27.52If you want a real bio of Putin & his rise & what he’s done to Russia, read Masha Gessen’s “The Man Without a Face”.  – Garry Kasparov

A chilling and unflinching portrait of one of the most fearsome figures in world politics.

  In 1999, the “Family” surrounding Boris Yeltsin went looking for a successor to the ailing and increasingly unpopular president. Vladimir Putin, with very little governmental or administrative experience—he’d been deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, and briefly, director of the secret police—nevertheless seemed the perfect choice: a “faceless” creature whom Yeltsin and his cronies could mold in their own image. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see in him the progressive leader of their dreams—even as Putin, with ruthless efficiency, dismantled the country’s media, wrested control and wealth from the business class, and destroyed the fragile mechanisms of democracy. Within a few brief years, virtually every obstacle to his unbridled control was removed and every opposing voice silenced, with political rivals and critics driven into exile or to the grave.
       Masha Gessen has experienced and reported this history firsthand, and brings it up to its present moment of unrest and uncertainty. Her spellbinding account of Putin’s rise and reign will stand as a classic of narrative nonfiction.

Garry Kasparov playing against 15 chess players at the Niarchos Foundation

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Garry’s Timeline

Follow Garry's extraordinary path through years of relentless activism.

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