BUCHAREST (AP) — Russian chess legend Garry Kasparov strongly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday, calling him a “dictator” who heads a “false political system.”
The former multiple world champion — arguably one of the all-time greats of the game — is a vocal critic of the Russian president and has been arrested in the past following activism against him.
“I do not know what President Putin is doing, I know about the Russian dictator — if you call him president, you give him more credibility in the false political system used in Russia,” Kasparov said at the inauguration of a chess tournament in Bucharest.
“I hope that one day (Putin) will be brought to justice for the crimes he committed,” Kasparov told a press conference. “I am sure that when the regime collapses, the dictator will also collapse. No one will help him.”
In 2012, Kasparov was arrested and charged with participating in an unsanctioned protest following the conviction of Russian punk band Pussy Riot. He was eventually cleared of the charges.
Kasparov was in Bucharest to open the Superbet Chess Classic 2021, a 10-player tournament held between June 5-14, with total prize money of €267,000 ($325,000).