Garry Kasparov, Sniveling Coward?
The Other Russia political coalition was to stage a protest march to coincide with Wednesday's farcical "inauguration" of new Russian "president" Dimitri Medvedev. But at the last minute, they called it off. The Other Russia blog reports that this decision was made because "organizers were concerned for the safety of demonstrators" after the Moscow government refused to permit the march. Lyudmila Mamina, the spokeswoman for The Other Russia, told the Moscow Times that "we received concrete information that if Mr. Kasparov attended, he would be arrested and detained. So he decided not to attend -- both he and [banned National Bolshevik Party head Eduard] Limonov." The net result was that the Kremlin sent more than 300 OMON and Interior Ministry troops to challenge protesters who simply didn't show up.
To say we are disappointed in this sordid sequence of events is putting it mildly. Mr. Kasparov, to all appearances, is a sniveling coward -- or maybe just an idiot. To say that Other Russia will not march because the Kremlin might crack some skulls or arrest him is to say that it will never march at all, and if it will not march then it might as well not exist.
A barbaric outrage has been committed in Russia. Dimitri Medvedev has been made "president" by means of "elections" that no thinking person can dispute were rigged, and sitting "president" Vladimir Putin has been named prime minister and carried out a vast expansion of the PM duties, flouting the spirit of the Russian constitution and establishing a neo-Soviet dictatorship in Russia.
And Kasparov's response? The Kremlin whispers "BOO!" and he's hiding under the bed.
Oleg Kozlovsky is in jail, Garry. Why aren't you?
He should watch the movie Gandhi. There is one and only one way to bring democracy to Russia, the hard way, by asking those who care about the country's future to risk their lives for it, just as Russians risked their lives fighting against Hitler in World War II. The world's attention was focussed on Russia during the sham inauguration, and come hell or high water Kasparov should have been on the barricades, no matter what the cost.
If he's not prepared to be that kind of leader, he should step aside and allow someone who is to take over.