Kasparov: ‘Putin Is Accountable For This Bloodshed’

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Kasparov: ‘Putin Is Accountable For This Bloodshed’
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Kasparov: ‘Putin Is Accountable For This Bloodshed’ by EurasiaNet.org

A EurasiaNet Partner Post from: RFE/RL

As partners in Russia’s struggling opposition movement, Garry Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov didn’t always have the smoothest of friendships.

But the former chess champion says his respect for Nemtsov — shot dead at age 55 a stone’s throw from the Kremlin walls — is absolute.

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Nemtsov, who rose in the 1990s to the upper echelons of Russian government as a reform-minded deputy prime minister, went on to serve as a leading light for the opposition, co-founding the liberal Union of Rightist Forces and the Solidarity political movement.

Fifty-one-year-old Kasparov, who joined forces with Nemtsov in 2003 to fight what they saw as the growing authoritarianism of Vladimir Putin, says his friend could have easily followed other oppositionists who grew weary of the struggle and returned to the Kremlin fold. But he never did.

“Many people continue to talk about their liberal convictions,” says Kasparov from the United States, where he lives in self-imposed exile. (The full text of the interview can be found in Russian here.) “Borya not only talked about wanting to see change in Russia, he made every possible effort to see that happen. And even when things seemed hopeless, meaningless, he still believed that you had to see things through to the end, to do what you can, what you should — and whatever happens, happens.”

‘Invitation To Execute’

Nemtsov’s vitality, Kasparov says, was a driving force in the massive Moscow street protests that accompanied Putin’s 2012 return to a controversial third term as Russian president. “He practically gave off beams of energy,” he says. “He was always on the move.”

But after a brutal crackdown on protest particip