Monday, June 6 2016 14:02 EEST
Garry Kasparov: 'Gorbachev could have helped those of us in the Russian opposition raise the alarm'
Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Putin, Russia,opinion, discussion, politics, Mikhail Gorbachev, protest, criticism, dictatorship, USSR, democracy, history, USA

According to The Time, former Soviet statesman Mikhail Gorbachev stated that Putin Is an obstacle to progress in Russia. Russian people are not blind and their patience is not limitless.

Gorbachev noticed that Russian people have demonstrated in protest on Bolotnaya Square and Sakharov Prospekt, demanding change and the protests will become more radical. Russia need changes that opens the path to improvement in people's lives and real rebirth of society.

Mikhail Gorbachev was the eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991 when the party was dissolved.

He was the only general secretary in the history of the Soviet Union to have been born after the October Revolution.

He is the author of the book 'New Russia.'

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

'Witness Mikhail Gorbachev's clumsy attempts at criticizing Putin without crossing the unspoken lines. If you cannot plainly call Putin a dictator at this point, or at least an authoritarian who is destroying the last remains of Russian democracy, you are nothing more than a salesman for Putin (and apparently for a book, in Gorbachev's case). This cowardice fits perfectly with Gorbachev's constant revisions of his own actions as the last Soviet ruler.

It also fits because Gorbachev was anti-democratic himself to his core, from his KGB origins to his desperate attempts to preserve the USSR and to quash the democratic swell led by Boris Yeltsin. Gorbachev would love to be thought of as highly in Russia as he is in the gullible West, and so he cannot be too harsh on Putin, whose regime is writing and rewriting the history books in which Gorbachev hopes to star.

Gorbachev is willing to criticize Putin's regime now that it is obvious even to the blind that Russia is a dictatorship and that there is nothing civil society can do about it. I doubt Gorbachev's voice would have been of much use convincing Russians five or ten years ago before Putin consolidated power. But his great fame and (undeserved) reputation as a pro-democracy reformer certainly could have been useful in drawing global condemnation that could have curbed Putin's ambitions early. Back when Putin still needed friends and allies abroad, Gorbachev could have helped those of us in the Russian opposition raise the alarm. Instead, he used his high international profile to make excuses for Putin's crackdowns, to enable the systematic demolition of Russian democracy. Now Putin has reached the last phase of a one-man dictatorship, where he needs enemies to feed his propaganda, not friends.

Gorbachev now calls for free and fair elections, after 16 years of Putin! What leverage exists now? Why would Dictator Putin agree to this now that he has crushed, exiled, and murdered the opposition and augmented the security state to Soviet levels? Gorbachev made similar noises in 2012, when Putin returned to the presidency he never really left, and it was already far too little and far too late. Gorbachev's indecisiveness and moral weakness were revealed in the last years of the USSR and exposed during Putin's transformation into a dictator. He's trying to cover it up now, and, just like he failed to hold together the Soviet Union, he'll fail in this as well.'

Although he has credited Vladimir Putin for stabilizing Russia in the aftermath of the initial and turbulent years of the post-Soviet era, Gorbachev has become critical of both Putin and Dmitry Medvedev since at least March 2011. His main grievances about the 'tandem' are backsliding on democracy, corruption and the dominance of security officers. Gorbachev is also dissatisfied by the fact that he has not been allowed to register his social democratic party.

In a political lecture delivered to the RIA-Novosti news agency in April 2013, Gorbachev decried Putin's retreat from democracy, noting that in Russia 'politics is increasingly turning into imitation democracy' with 'all power in the hands of the executive branch.' Gorbachev addressed Putin directly, stating that 'to go further on the path of tightening the screws, having laws that limit the rights and freedoms of people, attacking the news media and organisations of civil society, is a destructive path with no future.'

In contrast to his controversial domestic reforms, Gorbachev was largely hailed in the West for his 'new thinking' in foreign affairs. During his tenure, he sought to improve relations and trade with the West by reducing Cold War tensions. He established close relationships with several Western leaders, such as West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—who famously remarked: 'I like Mr. Gorbachev; we can do business together.'

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