Former chess champion turned political activist, Gary Kasparov, has called on the European Parliament to do everything it can to force a fully democratic presidential election in Russia next year. Kasparov warned of a grave political crisis looming in Vladimir Putin’s camp as rivals fight to succeed the President.
“We do not want to be seen to be asking Europe to ostracise Russia for the wrongdoings of President Putin and his regime. But we believe that Europe, the free world, must always stand up for the democratic institution, for the rule of law and for human rights,” said Kasparov.
The Russian opposition leader cried foul after he was summarily prevented from flying to a Russia-EU summit last week. The President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, expressed his admiration for one of the most prominent leaders of the political opposition in Russia: “We are not arguing against anybody. We have a positive approach. We are in favour of democracy, of human rights, of legal order. That’s why we support, and I personally support, Gary Kasparov.”
But the platform afforded to Kasparov by the European Parliament, and the timing of it with Putin nearby, could serve to exacerbate the list of grievances between the two powers.