Staunton, Aug. 31 – Opening of the latest meeting of the Congress of Free Russia in Vilinius, Garry Kasparov made one of the most remarkable declarations ever by a Russian opposition figure on how Russians should act in response to the authoritarian and aggressive actions of Vladimir Putin.
Specifically, he declared that “we Russians must recognize that the overwhelming majority of the residents of the planet view us as bearers of evil. In this, there is a dollop of truth, and this imposes on us definite moral tasks. I do not doubt that today, all of us understand that an historic chance to return Russia to civilization can come only after Ukraine’s victory in the war.”
“This is what we must work for,” Kasparov concluded (ehorussia.com/new/node/26723). To call for the defeat of one’s own country is always an act of desperation; but in the case of Russia, it is especially fraught because it is tied up with the question of whether Russia can survive in its current borders if it loses a war.
Not surprisingly, the question of whether Russia will survive as a single state if it loses the war was the focus of the first panel following Kasparov’s remarks and ran through all the others as well. Those taking part in the discussion avoided meeting the issue head on, preferring instead to take one of two positions.
On the one hand, most argued that the economic interconnectedness of the regions and republics of the Russian Federation makes the country’s disintegration unlikely. Or on the other, that it is the task of the opposition and outsiders to try to transform Russia into a democratic federal state, something that would make disintegration less likely or even impossible.
Window on Eurasia — New Series