Former World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov was arrested again in Russia the other day while observing a protest march. Kasparov has been legally barred from running for President, along with other opposition figures, and the march was protesting the sham elections Putin is putting on. Michael Weiss reports at The Weekly Standard:
“NO MATTER WHAT happens, get Kasparov.” So shouted one riot officer Saturday during the violently disrupted Dissenters’ March in Moscow, according to David Nowak of the Moscow Times, one of the few newspapers left in Russia that doesn’t have its reporting redacted by the Kremlin. When Nowak asked another officer why “seemingly peaceful bystanders” were being hauled off the streets at random and arrested, he was told, “Do you want me to [expletive] beat you with a baton?”
Welcome to life under Vladimir Putin, in which political opposition is met with swift and arbitrary punishment, and not even a tendentiously arrived at 70 percent approval rating is enough to satisfy executive confidence.
You would never know, judging by most of the U.S. media coverage of Garry Kasparov’s arrest and subsequent jail sentence of five days, that the Dissenters’ March was actually part of a multi-city spate of protests undertaken by Russians fed up with bullying dictatorship. It speaks well of Putin’s propaganda, which brands all of his opponents as part of a monolithic sodality of crackpots and “jackals,” that the Other Russia Coalition only organized two of the rallies held over the weekend–those in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Several others were independently staged in Nizny Novgorod, Tomsk, Orel, Pskov, Ryazan, Tula, and Kaluga.
Read the whole article at the above link. On the advice of his attorney, Kasparov immediately began a hunger strike, fearing being poisoned if he took food or drink from his captors. Kasparov has now been released and is at home.
Interestingly, his old and bitter rival, Anatoly Karpov, with whom he contested five matches for the World Championship and always had a strained relationship, attempted to visit him in jail to offer moral support – but was turned away. More details, including interviews with Kasparov’s attorney, are up at Chessbase, a major supplier of chess programs and databases.