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.