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Monday, May 07, 2007

Kasparov in Time Magazine's Top 100

Time magazine has come out with another list of the top 100 most influential people on the planet, and dissident Gary Kasparov is on it. Here's what Time says about him:

Garry Kasparov likes to say he has been in politics all his life. In the Soviet Union, the nation in which he grew up, chess was a way of demonstrating the superiority of communism over the decadent West, and a chess prodigy was inevitably a political figure. Kasparov never dodged that fate; when he took on and eventually defeated Anatoly Karpov, the darling of the Soviet chess establishment, in 1985, his image as a prominent outsider – Kasparov is half Jewish, half Armenian – was fixed.

Kasparov's status has been maintained in post-Soviet Russia. His organization, the Other Russia, a coalition of those opposed to the rule of President Vladimir Putin, has held a series of demonstrations, often broken up by the police. For Kasparov, Russia today, dominated by a combination of huge energy enterprises and former security apparatchiks (such as Putin), is a betrayal of those who dreamed of democracy in the early 1990s.

Putin's foes are fragmented and run from old-fashioned nationalists to modern liberals; Kasparov, 44, insists he is just a moderator, not a leader, of the movement. But by giving a voice to those who believe that Russia can develop in a way different from the authoritarianism that seems always to have been its fate, the retired grand master shows that he has not yet made his last move.


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