Garry Kasparov
World Chess Champion 1985-2000

How to Usurp Putin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin does not actually have much support, says Kasparov. He believes a social revolt is inevitable, but what type of regime will fill the vacuum?

Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov is considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time. Born in 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan (then part of the U.S.S.R.), Kasparov became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985 at the age of 22, defeating Anatoly Karpov. He was the world number-one ranked player for 255 months, by far the most of all-time and nearly three times as long as his closest rival, Karpov.

Kasparov announced his retirement from professional chess on 10 March 2005, to devote his time to politics and writing. He formed the United Civil Front movement, and joined as a member of The Other Russia, a coalition opposing the administration of Vladimir Putin. He was a candidate for the 2008 Russian presidential race, but later withdrew.

Kasparov has written many books on chess as well as business, including "How Life Imitates Chess."


Question: What would have to happen to dislodge an entrenched leader like Putin?

Garry Kasparov: Very often we call entrenched leaders those who are simply dictators. Now history tells us that it’s all about the price a country pays for dismantling the dictatorship and for removing these bad guys from their offices. I don’t think that Putin is so much entrenched. I don’t think that he has so much support. It’s very much- His power is very much based on the apathy of the population, which is natural probably after tumultuous years followed the collapse of the Soviet Union and of course the lack of the reasonable alternative, so oil prices were high. The Russian ruling the lead could benefit from that. Tons of money was "earned," in fact, stolen by those who were in power. Most of this money was invested outside of Russia, so it’s quite an amazing probably psychologically sick- form of psychological sickness while Russian lead talking about nationalism, patriotism, opposing the western influence, while keeping everything, the money, the fortunes, selling their kids to the very country the so harshly criticize. I think it’s just a matter of time and most important, matter of price because the social revolt in Russia is inevitable. I can only hope that the values that will make the core of this revolt will not be so far from democracy as it can happen if Putin’s rules continue. It’s not that Putin can offer us any guarantee against **** nationalist taking over. To the country the longer he stays in power more chances that the revolt will be absolutely wild and it will be nondemocratic, while today we still have a chance of bringing Russia back to Europe, back to this European civilization and using still enormous potential of my country to strengthen democratic institutions on the global scale.

Recorded December 20, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller
Directed by Jonathan Fowler
Produced by Elizabeth Rodd