Kasparov: Our Time, the Role of the Opposition

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United Civil Front leader Garry Kasparov spoke about the role of Russia’s democratic opposition at a conference this weekend in Moscow and supplemented his remarks for us at The Other Russia.

“2009 will be a year of radical change in Russia and we are already seeing the countours of how this change will occur. The discontent of the people is rising and they know where to direct their anger. The stockpile of cash the Putin regime stored up from a decade of record energy prices is disappearing rapidly. Without it, they will be unable to maintain the illusion of a successful economy.

“Unemployment is already in excess of 10 million without taking into account the ‘hidden unemployment’ of those kept on the payroll by government subsidy and the countless, and uncounted, people who are trapped in marginal jobs or the gray market economy. The numbers are only going to get worse. In a democratic country, those responsible for such a disasterous situation would be voted out of office. In Russia, there is no such option, so the people become increasingly frustrated.

“Such a situation is volatile, and I see the role of the democratic opposition to prevent the country from falling into chaos when the Putin regime falls or flees as the crisis peaks. The regime has no interest in administering the country in a normal way. They are only trying to loot it for as long as possible. Our empty treasury will be an additional hurdle to overcome as we attempt to build democratic institutions.”

Kasparov said the United Civil Front would continue to be on the forefront of shaping the political agenda of the opposition.