The author could easily have opted to live out life like an oligarch, yachting from port to port. Instead, he plunged into politics.
Now Mr. Kasparov reprises his participation in Russia’s fight for democracy. It is a compelling story of courage and civic-mindedness. With his wealth and status, he could easily have opted to live out life like a Russian oligarch, buying baubles and yachting from port to port. Instead, he plunged into politics, organizing coalitions to challenge the autocratic rule of Vladimir Putin, taking a leading role in public demonstrations and marches, and in 2007 running for president himself. The result was, among other things, beatings at the hands of secret-police thugs, confinement (briefly) in a Moscow prison cell and, finally, self-imposed exile in the West.
But Mr. Kasparov’s book is far more than an account of personal sacrifice—which he would be the first to acknowledge was trifling compared with what many of his compatriots continue to endure. “Winter Is Coming” presents a picture of the internal forces propelling Russia’s descent into aggressive authoritarianism. And it offers a scathing analysis of the contribution of the West to that outcome.