Former World Chess Champion turned political activist Garri Kasparov visited Estonia on Tuesday and gave an interview to ETV, in which he expressed a great concern about Russian President's behavior and actions.
Kasparov said that Russia would not use a direct aggression against the Baltic states, but wouldn't hesitate to use other means to indicate for the Western countries that NATO exists only on paper.
Kasparov, a well known critic of Vladimir Putin, is a frequent visitor to Tallinn. He has a flat in the Estonian capital, for meetings with his Moscow-based mother and other family members.
While living in Russia, he became accustomed to being spied and followed on, he said in an interview. The chess master said that he feels secure in Estonia and does not feel a need to hide his identity in the country. After a long period of expressing dissent in Russia, Kasparov left and took up a Croatian citizenship.
He is not keen to return to Russia, knowing that it may mean a “one way ticket”. It is only possible to feel safe in Russia, if one is loyal to the Putin's regime, he said.
According to Kasparov, there is no point to compare the current political games of Putin and his elite with a chess, because they lack clear rules that need to be followed.
“Putin has never obeyed rules,” he said, comparing Putin's actions with a card game that is using cards designed by the man himself.
“Putin's is a bit like a forced game, because he is planning to remain in power until he's alive. There are similarities with Hitler who felt towards the end that Germany does not deserve him. The dictatorship requires a constant and strict argumentation, brainwash, and raising the stakes,” Kasparov said.
He also said that Putin's announcement on whether he will stand for the President again or not, is irrelevant because the words are just a gimmick to hide real intentions for him.
“The present Russia is the most dangerous and unstable form of government – an absolute dictatorship. It is already similar with the regimes of Stalin and Hitler where one person decides everything,” he described, adding that it has an impact for the entire world.
To keep the stong image of Russia, Putin needs to stage some form of attacks but a major war is nevertheless highly unlikely, Kasparov said. It is clear that Putin will continue to show force in the areas formerly under the influence of the Soviet Union. Kasparov reckoned that next targets might be Azerbaijan and Georgia.
But Kasparov doesn't believe that Putin would dare to attack the Baltic states with a direct aggression, because Putin knows what the NATO Article 5 means.
“Russia would use different means to show force. One example is the abduction of an Estonian internal secret service agent Eston Kohver. The aim of this operation was to humiliate NATO and to indicate that NATO exists only on paper. The West needs to be decisive, to create order in Europe and in Russia,” Kasparov said, adding that the West slowly understands that Russia is not only a threat to Estonia and Latvia, but for the entire Europe.