Anyway, the article is pretty much standard issue diatribe against Putin, with plenty of no-brainer references to the K.G.B/F.S.B., siloviki, oligarchs, and perceived thievery by the government. How strange is it for American capitalists to now be accusing the Russian government of exploitation and thievery of profits? There are also references to how, due to the chaos of the 90's, the word demokratia is now dermokratia or “shit-ocracy.”
It bothers me with all the substantive criticism that could be aimed at Putin and his government, the best most Western news columnists can come up with is the lame K.G.B./spy angle and equating him to a dictator. I suppose it won't be anytime soon that Western writers will begin to simple take a measure of the man as a politician and count his successes and failures.
This article, thankfully, doesn't make a realistic case for Kasparov's chances. Not so thankfully, they attribute this to the Kremlin control of the news media and squashing of all opposition. Obligatory references to Kasparov as being half Armenian and half Jewish not exactly an ideal ethnic mix for a politician in a country with deep currents of anti-Caucasian and anti-Semitic feeling.Kasparov is made out to be some sort of idealistic hero or perhaps a Don Quixote figure, who just happens to be 44 years old and living with his mom. Imagine how that would play for a presidential candidate in the U.S.
He also doesn't demonstrate a single political idea in this article. He's just presented in some vague way as being pro-democracy.
The part of the article I found most truthful was the conclusion, where Remnick decides to talk with - you know, an actual Russian with no political agenda. Someone who might vote. Someone who isn't involved with Russian politics and either an opponent of Putin or friend of Kasparov. What an interesting article this could have been if Remnick had chosen to do that all along.
From Alexander Pachulia, deputy director of the October Chess Club Moscow:
"Usually, chess people are not very attached to their regular careers. They are almost uninterested in anything other than chess. If we didn’t close up at ten, people would play until ten in the morning and die of hunger right in their chair."
Like several other denizens of the club, Pachulia acknowledged Kasparov’s genius as a player but was cool to him as a person and as a politician. "I rooted for Kasparov against Karpov in the eighties because of Kasparov’s anti-Communism and Karpov stood for Soviet power," Pachulia went on. "But now we live in a different world. We need to be more assertive in the world. If NATO includes Ukraine and Georgia and other states on our border developing so-called democracy, that tells us that you" — the United States — "are putting arms on our borders. Democracy! Nonsense!"
Pachulia, like the majority of Russians, would prefer to see Putin remain President for at least another four years. To elect anyone else, he said, even one of Putin’s handpicked protégés, would be a risk that the country could ill afford. "Russia is gigantic and needs a strong hand," he said. Kasparov’s politics and language were too foreign, and it made the players at the club dubious not only about his capacities as a politician but even about his loyalty to the Russian state. "The West needs someone to run Russia for them, someone to order around as their instrument, and they want to do that with Garry Kasparov," Pachulia said. "The West is worried about the strength of Vladimir Putin."
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