By Garry Kasparov
June 6, 2013
One simple question at a Geneva press conference has set off a firestorm of conjecture about my not returning Russia, so I want to set the story straight myself! Russia is and will always be my country. I am still traveling on a Russian passport, and though I was born in the USSR, and have spent most of my adult life traveling constantly, Russia is my home even when I am not able to be there. I refuse to allow Putin and his gang define Russia. They are a temporary disease that the Russian immune system will soon fight off.
I am doing everything I can to help win that fight. Before I retired from chess I represented Russia fighting battles on the chessboard around the world. I have spent years marching in the streets against Putin, speaking at rallies, and facing the police. Today I am still representing Russia and fighting harder than ever in America and Europe to bring international sanctions against the criminals and thugs in the Kremlin. I have had hundreds of meetings and appearances to promote such legislation, and the US has adopted the Magnitsky Act and Europe is increasingly open to doing the same. Such laws attack Putin’s power at its foundation: the loyalty of his gang that is based on the protection he provides so they can enjoy their stolen riches abroad. Putin is at the center of the web, but the fight for human rights is a global one and it is critical to both assist and to seek assistance from allies abroad.
Meanwhile, Putin is cracking down harder than ever and is showing he is willing to create a new generation of political prisoners unseen since the days of Stalin. I have already been “invited” to speak to prosecutors and such invitations have a way, at a minimum, of limiting ones freedom of movement. Adding another victim to the regime’s list will not do much good. I will not casually put myself at the mercy of the investigative office of Alexander Bastrykin, who deserves to be the top Russian official on the Magnitsky List himself!
Please, let no one doubt my commitment to the cause of a free and strong Russia, or doubt for one moment that I am working constantly to achieve that goal. I have dedicated my life to my human rights activities and my education programs and it is impossible to imagine I would be allowed to continue this work inside Russia today. Many of my friends in the opposition are risking their lives and their security every day and they deserve the full attention and protection of the global community and bringing this support is part of my efforts. I am present; I am in touch on a daily basis with what is happening with the opposition, and I will do whatever I can to support my colleagues and my compatriots until Putin and his cronies are gone for good.