Thursday, May 19 2016 01:45 EEST
Garry Kasparov: Distinguish Putin from the Russian people, he's a dictator!
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According to Jerusalem Post, chess champion Garry Kasparov said that 'Putin is existential threat to free world.'

'It’s time to recognize that Putin is an existential threat to the free world and then to start building a strategy,' Kasparov told the Post.

In this case, Russian chess Grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, writer, and political activist Garry Kasparov shared on Facebook:

'A quick interview with the Jerusalem Post yesterday. (I wasn't in Israel to promote chess in education, btw, although I touched on that in my Dynamic Education presentation at the EduAction Forum in Jerusalem.) Most of these Putin topics I've covered in my own op-eds more extensively, of course. But one item is worth explaining again since it is a typical problem in interviews and public appearances. This is the 'What should the West do now about Putin?' line of questioning, often in the format of 'If you were the US president today, what would you do about Putin?'

I understand these 'now now now' questions are inevitable and I've gotten used to preparing the soundbites that journalists and questioners at my lectures are hoping for. But this actually makes the problem worse, since real answers are complex and long-term because the problems are complex and long-term. And long, complicated answers don't work during 90-second TV appearances or 140 characters on Twitter. So the seriousness of the question and the answer is often lost. This is why I wrote a whole book about it!

There aren't a few simple and immediate steps to solve what is really a strategic and even cultural problem of the free world's complacency in the face of brutality and dictatorship. The cowardice of Western politicians is generally reflected in the desire of their citizens to close their eyes and to pretend these problems don't exist, or won't reach them. That is the real problem, not a lack of options to push back against the Putins in this world.

Speaking of those actions, this concise list I wrote on March 8, 2014, right after Putin's invasion of Crimea, is still valid, unfortunately. It is based on overwhelming and unified response to create effective deterrence. (Compared to the cautious and incremental responses that practically encourage escalation.) An updated version since there's no 140 limit!

1) Treat Putin's Russia like the rogue state it is. Remove it from the international institutions he exploits and abuses: G-7 (done, finally), Interpol, WTO, the banking system, et al. Isolation and deterrence save lives. Appeasement kills. History has taught us this over and over, but it takes political will to enact it.

2) Target Putin's oligarch allies and state companies with investigations and sanctions. They are criminal enterprises serving at the direction of a criminal dictatorship. No one will turn against Putin until they are convinced their lives with him will be much worse than without him. Inconvenience isn't enough to turn against a brutal dictator.

3) Support the nations and institutions Putin is trying to dominate and destroy before they collapse. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For example, Ukraine should be supported financially and militarily and the EU, Putin's main target, is the first line of defense politically.

4) Like a disruptive tech company, take the list of 'what the free world needs from Putin' and create substitutions to increase leverage. Oil, gas, everything he uses for blackmail.

5) Support the victims instead of blaming them. Georgia and Ukraine aren't at fault for wanting to join NATO or not wanting to be slaves to Putin's neo-Sovietism. Ukraine didn't deserve to be invaded because it wants democracy. It's not a proxy or a buffer, it's 45 million human beings who should be allowed to chose their direction without being told they 'had it coming.'

6) Distinguish Putin from the Russian people. He's a dictator. His supposed popularity is based on vile 24/7 propaganda and turning the political and social society into a wasteland after 16 years in power. If you're actually popular you can have real elections and free media.

7) A free, strong, and democratic Russia will be a vital world power with complicated relationship befitting its size, wealth, and location between Europe and Asia. But it won't be a threat to the free world or an ally of dictators around the world the way it is now.'

Kasparov was among the 34 first signatories and a key organizer of the online anti-Putin campaign 'Putin must go', started on 10 March 2010. The campaign was begun by a coalition of opposition to Putin who regard his rule as lacking any rule of law.

Within the text is a call to Russian law enforcement to ignore Putin's orders. By June 2011 there were 90,000 signatures. While the identity of the petition author remained anonymous, there was wide speculation that it was indeed Kasparov.

Although he is widely regarded in the West as a symbol of opposition to Putin, he was barred from the presidential ballot.

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