Garry Kasparov on May Crackdown and Putin’s Future

Garry Kasparov thumb. Source: Daylife.comWe reached Garry Kasparov for his comments on the May 5 protest rally and official response to public displays of opposition to the Putin regime:

Kasparov: “The May 5 rally and the regime’s crackdown tell the same story from two sides: Putin’s days are numbered. The people are sick of him and won’t quit and the Kremlin is panicky and confused. The regime’s overreactions – bringing in special forces from outside of Moscow to pressure the crowd, raiding cafes and harassing people on the street for wearing ribbons — will only increase the public’s anger. The Kremlin’s senseless crackdown is the opposition’s best recruiting tool.”

Kasparov: “Historically speaking, it takes a while for the Russian people to wake up and rouse to action, but once they do, watch out! That point has been passed now. People are getting arrested twice in one day! They aren’t giving up, they aren’t scared anymore. Putin has no plan for this so he falls back on the KGB playbook of violence and repression. [Alexei] Navalny and [Sergei] Udaltsov were released quickly because the regime is panicky and unable to chart a stable course. People sense this change in the atmosphere.”

Kasparov: “Being at the rally was a special feeling because of all the flags mixed together from start to finish. There were the red flags of left, the orange flags of Solidarity, all side by side and chanting “Putin must go!” This is the ultimate vindication of the United Civil Front concept I was vilified for in 2005 when I said everyone who was against Putin should be welcome, regardless of ideology. This kind of unity is unheard of in Russia. The ideological divides have been so big and deep they have been easily exploited by the ruling regimes to split the opposition. Now the opposition is united and our power is magnified tremendously.”

Kasparov: “In the Soviet days, a common slogan was “the five-year plan in four years!” A new slogan is that we can finish Putin’s six-year term in two years!”

For further reference:

Garry Kasparov on Twitter & Facebook
Report and photos on Boris Nemtsov’s blog
Video of police raid on the Jean-Jacques café