- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

Hating on Russia's Protester Chess Master

Categories: Eastern & Central Europe, Russia, Citizen Media, Elections, Protest, RuNet Echo

Dissidents have fled Russia for as long as there has been a Russia from which to flee. Earlier this week, April 7, 2013, activist Ilya Yashin startled many when he announced [1] [ru] on Twitter that protest figure and former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov had abandoned his leadership position in the oppositionist group “Solidarity,” and likely decided to emigrate. Later that day, Kasparov wrote [2] [ru] on LiveJournal to confirm his departure from Solidarity and deny any decision to leave Russia, chiding Yashin for spreading such misinformation. According to the old chess master, he's lost all patience with Solidarity's close ties to political party RPR-PARNAS, which he fears will drag Solidarity into unethical and strategically disastrous participation in Russia's corrupt elections system.

Garry Kasparov in Paris, France, 30 March 2012, photo by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE, CC 2.0. [3]

Garry Kasparov in Paris, France, 30 March 2012, photo by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE, CC 2.0.

The next day, Yashin responded [4] [ru] to Kasparov, apologizing for the mixup, but maintaining that Kasparov's exit could have been executed more professionally (and perhaps in person). Vladimir Milov, a former Solidarity activist and well-known Kasparov critic, chimed in [5] [ru] after Yashin with a scathing attack on Kasparov's (supposed) cowardice, pettiness, greed, and hypocrisy. Chief among their disagreements is the need and wisdom of participating in formal elections, which Milov considers a necessity for the opposition and Kasparov believes only perpetuates the regime's reputation for semi-democracy.

Milov also accused Kasparov of having de facto emigrated from Russia already, given that Kasparov spends roughly half the year in his Manhattan penthouse and hasn't attended an unsanctioned demonstration in Russia in over five years, despite regularly calling on others to do so.