Last Friday, the Russian Ministry of Justice added Director General Garry Kasparov to the list of people acting as “foreign agents” for receiving donations or funding from outside Russia and carrying out political activities. . For Kasparov, who lives abroad, the decision seems mostly symbolic and even a badge of honor.
A 2012 law, originally designed to constrain independent NGOs in Russia, has been expanded several times. As of December 2020, it includes the ability to label Russian individuals who are engaged in political activity. From April 2022, dozens of Russian journalists, public activists and scientists have been declared foreign agents and since last Friday Kasparov is also included.
According to the Justice Department, Kasparov received funding from Ukraine and the American Human Rights Foundation.
Kasparov reacted on Twitter: “The ‘Russian Ministry of Justice’ is an oxymoron under Putin. And I represented my country when Putin was still spying on his colleagues in East Germany and robbing the people of St. Petersburg Being anti-Putin is, and always will be, pro-Russian.”
“Russian Ministry of Justice” is an oxymoron under Putin. And I was representing my country when Putin was still spying on his colleagues in East Germany and robbing the people of St. Petersburg. Being anti-Putin is, and always will be, pro-Russian. https://t.co/u7jkvv4Eun
—Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) May 20, 2022
Kasparov, who was world chess champion from 1985 to 2000, retired from competitive chess in 2005. He still plays chess tournaments occasionally, under the Russian flag, but is mostly active as a political activist and commentator. After broadly predicting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine in his 2015 book Winter is cominghe has been interviewed many times by the international media since the start of the war.
Last week, Kasparov was invited to the Warsaw Rapid & Blitz tournament of the Grand Chess Tour. He then traveled to Lithuania where he met, among others, GM Viktorij Cmilyte, Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament.
A very special encounter with @Kasparov63 in @LRSeimas! While #chess is never out of place, today we focused on helping #Ukraine and what a Ukrainian victory would mean for the future of democratic Russia. The unity and determination of the democratic world are now essential. pic.twitter.com/ofPPR3dRgE
— Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen (@VCmilyte) May 20, 2022
At the moment, Kasparov is attending the Oslo Freedom Forum as he does every year as President of the Human Rights Foundation. On Tuesday, he took part in a round table moderated by Anne Applebaum (editor for Atlantic and Pulitzer Prize-winning Eastern European historian) and joined by Paul Massaro (Senior Policy Advisor for the US Helsinki Commission and anti-corruption expert) and Oleksandra Matviichuk (Director of the Center for civil liberties).