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Gary Kasparov Arrested:

Russian opposition leader and former chess world champion Gary Kasparov has been arrested in Moscow while leading a demonstration protesting the government's policies. Here is the New York Times account, and a shorter one by CNN. Kasparov is arguably the most famous political opponent of President Vladimir Putin's increasingly authoritarian government, and a strong supporter of democracy, civil liberties, and free markets. Here is a January Wall Street Journal article describing Kasparov's opposition activities in more detail. Back in 2001 - at a time when George W. Bush was still assuring us that Putin was a "good man" because he had "see[n] into his soul," Kasparov sounded an early warning about the ex-KGB President, noting that "Putin's KGB roots have informed a style of governance that is neither reformist nor particularly democratic" and that Russia's government was sliding towards authoritarianism by suppressing opposition media and playing on nationalistic fears. Since then, Putin has suppressed nearly all opposition electronic media, and probably connived in the murder of print journalists who had criticized the regime.

Kasparov's arrest is not only an outrage in its own right, it is significant as an indicator of Putin's willingness to further tighten his authoritarianism. If Putin is able to get away with arresting even a world-famous opposition leader, less exalted opponents of the government can expect even harsher treatment. Hopefully, there will be enough of an international outcry to persuade Putin to desist and force him to tread more cautiously in the future. But it is hard to be optimistic about Russia's immediate political future after the experience of the last several years. As Kasparov put it in 2005, Putin has "abolished the nature of democratic institutions [and] he will go further." The mere fact that the current president of Russia is an authoritarian former high-ranking KGB official is a strong indication that things have gone badly wrong 15 years after the fall of communism. It is as if the Chancellor of West Germany in 1960 had been a former high-ranking Gestapo or SS leader.

UPDATE: For those who read Russian (I know we have some readers in that category), here is a link to the website of the United Civic Front, the opposition political movement that Kasparov founded in 2005. It has extensive coverage of his arrest, as well as that of some 250 other opposition leaders and protestors arrested at the same demonstration in Moscow.

UPDATE #2: Apparently, Kasparov has been released, but only after being forced to pay a fine "for participation in a banned protest rally."

Hattio (mail):
All right,
I know I'm going to be accused of Bush Derangement Syndrome by those on the right. But shouldn't the fact that Bush looked into this guy's soul and saw him to be a good man give us pause for concern? Yes, everybody can and does misjudge people. But Bush, as far as I know, has never disavowed his statement. More importantly Bush is pushing more authoritarian reforms here in the US (though we are still a long, long, long way from Russia, even as it was when Bush made those statements...Thank God). Could it be that there is a connection between why Bush thinks that Putin is a good leader, and that its a good idea to suspend Habeas Corpus (Granted for those Bush thinks are terrorists), to increase the federal governments surveillance authority, etc.
4.14.2007 4:10pm
Nikki:
Looks like Kasparov has been released.

http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n110151

Prediction: most of the rest of the world will forget about this event and the other arrested demonstrators.
4.14.2007 4:15pm
Ilya Somin:
Looks like Kasparov has been released.

He may have been. But the same site that Nikki's comment refers to also says that the Russian police have denied releasing him.
4.14.2007 4:26pm
Nikki:
The update wasn't there when I first posted ... oh well. Still, I won't be surprised if at some point he is released in advance of the other "detainees."
4.14.2007 4:50pm
MichaelB (mail):
"Kasparov is arguably the most famous political opponent of President Vladimir Putin's"

How much actual support does he have?
4.14.2007 5:13pm
Randy R. (mail):
Hattio: I agree. However, I think Bush meant his comment to qualm people's concerns that Putin was some evil dictator. Bush was of course way off. So was Peggy Noonan who wrote a gushing editorial in the WSJ on how Bush is just so god-like in his abilities.

I'm not sure if Noonan or the WSJ ever disavowed their comments either, or admitted that they were wrong. Most Republicans never do, at least in those connected with this administraiton.
4.14.2007 5:41pm
Hattio (mail):
Randy R.
To be clear, there are good reasons why Bush hasn't come out bluntly and stated "I was wrong when I called Putin a Good Man." That's a sure road to an international incident, given that the opposite of good is evil. Bush isnt' that stupid, and neither are his advisers. But he hasn't offered a whole lot of criticism from what I've heard. Then again, I avoid White House Press briefings like the plague, so if some political junkie thinks I'm wrong on the amount Bush has criticized Putin, it won't take much to convince me.
4.14.2007 5:47pm
e:
I'm not going to take the time right now to search for quotes, but I've read a number of newpaper articles over the last few years covering criticisms of Russia by the Bush administration. Fine line of perfection between not strong enough and diplomatically stupid.
4.14.2007 6:46pm
Daniel950 (mail):
sigh... Who cares what Bush said about Putin? Why does an article dealing with Putin's authoritarianism have to be turned into another Bush bashing thread? Putin is the bad guy here, and no amount of criticism of Bush is going to change that. Perhaps news stories like these indicate how ridiculous the left-wing meme of "Bush=Hitler" really is. Faced with actual crushing of dissent, all of the left's complaints about how fascist the Bush administration is supposed to be look pathetic by comparison.
4.14.2007 7:00pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
“I know I'm going to be accused of Bush Derangement Syndrome by those on the right.”

Isn’t it time for conservatives, libertarians, and even right-wingers to admit (at least to themselves) that the left was right all along about Bush? Bill Clinton opened the door to immigration, but Bush tore the door off its hinges. Bush even screwed his own party in the 2006 election by not firing Rumsfeld until after the election. Bush has ruined his own party, and thrown his conservative supporters into chaos, confusion and indecision.

Isn’t obvious by now that the Iraq occupation just drags on to keep the money flowing to contractors? Of course the Democrats were pissed at Bush because their cronies weren’t invited in on the gravy train. It should be clear to every one that Bush is a phony conservative, a buffoon, a liar, and utterly ignorant about the way the world works. The final straw came when he announced he wants to appoint a “czar” to oversee the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Doesn’t he understand that’s his job as Commander and Chief?
4.14.2007 7:04pm
Cover Me, Porkins (mail):
Give POTUS some credit. Dictators whose power isn't threatened don't change because American presidents tell them to.

--

BUSH: I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man with a black heart who will steer a shaky country right back into the straits it was just in, for about ten years, and then he'll get bumped off by his own regime.

PUTIN: Shoot. You serious? That is what happens? I -- I could retire and have more fun. For Lenin's sake. I resign, effective immediately. Open elections, my personal endorsement of liberal parties. And right after it rebuilts it, Russia gets the hell out of Chechnya.

--

As if.
4.14.2007 7:19pm
jvarisco (www):
Kasparov wants to have a rally. The government does not give him permission.

He ignores them and has the rally anyway. He is arrested for violating the law.

After paying a fine, he is released.

Where is the problem here?
4.14.2007 8:41pm
Enoch:
Isn’t it time for conservatives, libertarians, and even right-wingers to admit (at least to themselves) that the left was right all along about Bush?

Nope - unless this is limited to the claim that Bush is incompetent, which at this point is incontrovertible.
4.14.2007 8:49pm
egn (mail):

Kasparov wants to have a rally. The government does not give him permission.

He ignores them and has the rally anyway. He is arrested for violating the law.

After paying a fine, he is released.

Where is the problem here?


Second sentence, I think.
4.14.2007 9:29pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Ditto egn, but if you read jvarisco regularly, you'll realize that his comment to this post is pretty much par for the course, and generally not worth the stress to your keyboard.

Secondly, I was of the opinion that Putin would lack the audacity to seek a third term. Recent events are leading me to question that. He enjoys substantial popular support, doesn't care a shred about how he is perceived abroad, and perhaps most dangerously, is contending with a dissent that's grown more vocal than it's been in recent years. All of this makes me a bit fearful.
4.14.2007 9:35pm
Vovan:
Я тихо охуеваю,


Russian opposition leader and former chess world champion Gary Kasparov has been arrested in Moscow while leading a demonstration protesting the government's policies


The demonstration was illegal, since it was not sanctioned by the authorities - Kasparov was properly detained. Something similar happened in New York City in 2004, and I do not doubt that Somin condemned teh excesses by the NYPD


Kasparov is arguably the most famous political opponent of President Vladimir Putin's increasingly authoritarian government, and a strong supporter of democracy, civil liberties, and free markets


He is also a strong supporter of Fomenko's views on history (Jesus lived in 11th century A.D.) - which is widely regarded as the worst excesess of pseudo-science, and lacks any meaningful support in Russia. (His free-market policies cannot even attract support in the wealthiest Russian city)


Kasparov's arrest is not only an outrage in its own right, it is significant as an indicator of Putin's willingness to further tighten his authoritarianism. If Putin is able to get away with arresting even a world-famous opposition leader, less exalted opponents of the government can expect even harsher treatment


No, the most famous opposition leader is currently inciting revolution while hiding behind political refugee status in Great Britain.


The mere fact that the current president of Russia is an authoritarian former high-ranking KGB official is a strong indication that things have gone badly wrong 15 years after the fall of communism. It is as if the Chancellor of West Germany in 1960 had been a former high-ranking Gestapo or SS leader.


Heh, Putin was only a major in the KGB, but apparently he is so evil that a mid-level Nazi official should not count. He had to be "High ranking" and a "leader".
4.14.2007 9:46pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Vovan, ty oxuevaesh, da, no ty delaesh eto dostatochno gromko. :)
4.14.2007 10:01pm
Vovan:
Oh yeah, since this is a legal blog after all, its probably helpful to take a look at the law of Russian Federation to determine if Kasparov broke any laws by participating in unsanctioned protests agaisnt the elected government.

And holy shit, what do we have here

Статья 20.2. Нарушение установленного порядка организации либо проведения собрания, митинга, демонстрации, шествия или пикетирования

1. Нарушение установленного порядка организации собрания, митинга, демонстрации, шествия или пикетирования -
влечет наложение административного штрафа на организаторов в размере от десяти до двадцати минимальных размеров оплаты труда.

2. Нарушение установленного порядка проведения собрания, митинга, демонстрации, шествия или пикетирования -
влечет наложение административного штрафа на организаторов в размере от десяти до двадцати минимальных размеров оплаты труда; на участников - от пяти до десяти минимальных размеров оплаты труда.

3. Организация либо проведение несанкционированных собрания, митинга, демонстрации, шествия или пикетирования в непосредственной близости от территории ядерной установки, радиационного источника или пункта хранения ядерных материалов или радиоактивных веществ, а равно активное участие в таких акциях, если это осложнило выполнение персоналом указанных объектов служебных обязанностей или создало угрозу безопасности населения и окружающей среды, -
влечет наложение административного штрафа в размере от десяти до двадцати минимальных размеров оплаты труда или административный арест на срок до пятнадцати суток.

and wait a minute there is more?

Статья 212. Массовые беспорядки

1. Организация массовых беспорядков, сопровождавшихся насилием, погромами, поджогами, уничтожением имущества, применением огнестрельного оружия, взрывчатых веществ или взрывных устройств, а также оказанием вооруженного сопротивления представителю власти, -

наказывается лишением свободы на срок от четырех до десяти лет.

2. Участие в массовых беспорядках, предусмотренных частью первой настоящей статьи, -

наказывается лишением свободы на срок от трех до восьми лет.

3. Призывы к активному неподчинению законным требованиям представителей власти и к массовым беспорядкам, а равно призывы к насилию над гражданами -

наказываются ограничением свободы на срок до двух лет, либо арестом на срок от двух до четырех месяцев, либо лишением свободы на срок до трех лет.

Kasparov got off easy, but of course the "bloody Gee Bee" will get him next time.
4.14.2007 10:05pm
Vovan:

Vovan, ty oxuevaesh, da, no ty delaesh eto dostatochno gromko. :)


Lol, Mike that was good.
4.14.2007 10:07pm
Ilya Somin:
since this is a legal blog after all, its probably helpful to take a look at the law of Russian Federation to determine if Kasparov broke any laws by participating in unsanctioned protests agaisnt the elected government.

Even if Kasparov did violate a law enacted by an increasingly authoritarian government, that says nothing about the justice of his arrest. This is not a purely "legal" blog, actually. But even a legal blog is not required to assume that the laws of authoritarian rulers are just.
4.14.2007 11:08pm
Ilya Somin:
Kasparov wants to have a rally. The government does not give him permission.

He ignores them and has the rally anyway. He is arrested for violating the law....

Where is the problem here?


Gee, that's a hard one. Perhaps it's the fact that the government 1) takes over most of the media, 2) intimidates and sometimes kills the few remaining opposition journalists, and 3) forbids demonstrations by its political opponents. But I'm just taking a wild guess....
4.14.2007 11:11pm
Ilya Somin:
Heh, Putin was only a major in the KGB, but apparently he is so evil that a mid-level Nazi official should not count. He had to be "High ranking" and a "leader".

Putin was high-ranking enough to have an important position in the KGB in East Germany, helping the Stasi engage in repression and spying on the West. Moreover, as the linked article notes, he rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel, not just major. West German Chancellor Kurt Kiesinger, the "mid-level Nazi official" you linked to worked in the Propaganda Ministry, not the Gestapo or the SS, the agencies of the Nazi state most comparable to the KGB. The former is far from admirable, but it is nowhere near as bad as the latter.
4.14.2007 11:16pm
John (mail):
Here's the quote from the cited news article:

"Organizers had sought permission to gather on Pushkin Square, a traditional site for protests, but city officials rejected the request. Instead, they approved Turgenev Square, about a mile east and away from the city's commercial and cultural hub.

Organizers refused to cancel plans for the Pushkin Square rally and protesters started to arrive before 11 a.m. Police began seizing them a few at a time."

I seem to remember that Martin Luther King, in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" was pretty clear that even if you march in violation of law to protest some unfair law, you have to do the time:

"Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to [see] the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty."

I don't know if it's entirely fair to King compare Kasparov to him, but King's words are pretty good. The whole letter is here.
4.14.2007 11:46pm
Bleepless (mail):
Ilya Somin is right. Adolf Eichmann was a mere Lt. Col. in the SS.
4.15.2007 12:02am
Vovan:

Even if Kasparov did violate a law enacted by an increasingly authoritarian government, that says nothing about the justice of his arrest. This is not a purely "legal" blog, actually. But even a legal blog is not required to assume that the laws of authoritarian rulers are just.


The law was enacted in 2001 and amended in 2002 by the Russian parliament. So tell me, when did the Russian Parliament became authoritarian? When Yeltsin left? When Berezovskii brought Putin from Piter? When Putin started to appoint the governors? At what point do we suddenly consider disregard for the rule of law justified because the government is "authoritarian"? Coming from a law professor no less, the seemingly arbitrary choice of when is arrest justified - is disturbing. What, "закон что дышло, куда повернеш туда и вышло"?


Gee, that's a hard one. Perhaps it's the fact that the government 1) takes over most of the media, 2) intimidates and sometimes kills the few remaining opposition journalists, and 3) forbids demonstrations by its political opponents. But I'm just taking a wild guess....


You have no facts to back up claim #2, and you are simply wrong on number 3 as John demonstrated above.

По его словам, с правительством Москвы согласовано, что митинг пройдет на Тургеневской площади в сквере у памятника Александру Грибоедову с 12 до 13 часов в субботу. По его словам, в мероприятии могут принять участие до тысячи человек.

Марша в центре Москвы, на котором настаивают организаторы, провести не удастся, так как это бы "усугубило и без того сложную транспортную обстановку, что ущемило бы права москвичей", заявил чиновник.
LINK

They were provided a place to meet and organize, and yet they deliberately chose to proceed to a different venue - that is a violation of law in ANY, ANY country - Russia, US, Australia, you name it. Moreover, the fact that Kasparov was released shortly after his detentiion, after paying the fine - presents Russian legal system in a very positive light.
4.15.2007 12:17am
M (mail):
Vovan,
As you surely know the law in the books rarely has much to do with what actually happens in Russia, especially in Luskov's moscow. (Compare the law on historical preservation, for example, with the actions of Luskov's wife's construction company.) formally demonstrations and protests are to be allowed unless safety is threatened. There was no reason to expect that here. A particular parade route can be denied for cause, but again that's not what happend here. Luskhov has claimed the authority to deny protests and parades in Moscow for many groups lately (including gay rights groups whom he called 'satanic'.) This is in violation of the Russian constitution, but then, Lushkov has thumbed his nose at the Russian constituiton and constitutional court for years over the propiska system for Moscow so this should not be a surprise to anyone.
4.15.2007 12:18am
Vovan:

Ilya Somin is right. Adolf Eichmann was a mere Lt. Col. in the SS


Sure, Putin = Eichmann = Hitler = Bush
No more questions.
4.15.2007 12:23am
Vovan:

formally demonstrations and protests are to be allowed unless safety is threatened. There was no reason to expect that here.


M, you've heard of Edik Limonov right? The National Bolshevists were present at the meeting - they sometimes have this little urge to engage in terrorist acts, but of course there was no reason to expect threats to safety.


A particular parade route can be denied for cause, but again that's not what happend here.


Again, they were granted a permit to meet at a specified location - площадь Тургенева. They did not like that meeting place - is that a good cause to disrupt traffic and endanger safety of passerbys in one of the largest European cities?


This is in violation of the Russian constitution, but then, Lushkov has thumbed his nose at the Russian constituiton and constitutional court for years over the propiska system for Moscow so this should not be a surprise to anyone.


So now it's Luzhkov's fault? But it's Putin who is an evil KGB agent. I'm confused... uh those Russians!!!
4.15.2007 12:39am
Truth Seeker:
I know I'm going to be accused of Bush Derangement Syndrome

Dude, when an opposition political leader is arrested and you think of Bush, you're in advanced stages of BDS. The Republicans would have impeached Bush if he tried to arrest Kerry.

Now, Clinton, he did serious damage. Can you imagine that 911 would never have happened if Clinton had just spent more time on Bin Laden and less on Monica. No wonder Sandy "Socks" Burger had to shred the evidence.
4.15.2007 1:15am
M (mail):
Yes Vovan, I know Limonov's work. He's at best a deeply ambigious character and one I have no special love of. (I did like some of his early books, though.) Of course most of the 'terrorist acts' engaged in by the NBP can only be called such with scare quotes around them. To call them such is not to be very serious. I don't like much about the group but I must admit that I find them preferable to the Putin Youth brownshits in Nashi and other similar groups.

And, as you surely know, Luskov now owes his existence to Putin and does not act out beyond modest limits w/o Putin's favor. This was already so after Unity crushed Luskov's faction in the 2000 election but even more so after Putin (arguably illegally) granted Luskov and other loyal governers extra terms in violation of the constitution.

I was no fan of Yeltsin- I remember who started the Chechen war, for example- but that others were bad doesn't make Putin good, and only a fool thinks the law means anything in Russia today.
4.15.2007 1:38am
Enoch:
Anyway, for conservatives and libertarians who think Bush is neither conservative, libertarian, nor competent, the correct reaction to the last six years is not "admit the Left was right and do what the Left wants from now on." The correct reaction is to elect someone who is conservative or libertarian AND competent.
4.15.2007 1:39am
Hattio (mail):
Enoch,
Any suggestions?
4.15.2007 2:13am
Vovan:

And, as you surely know, Luskov now owes his existence to Putin and does not act out beyond modest limits w/o Putin's favor. This was already so after Unity crushed Luskov's faction in the 2000 election but even more so after Putin (arguably illegally) granted Luskov and other loyal governers extra terms in violation of the constitution.


М, you either greatly underestimate Luzhkov, or stopped following Russian politics for a while. In either case, I sincerely hope that you understand Russian and would be able to read this article. In short, it agrees with your conclusion that Putin will ultimately decide if Luzhkov comes back for another term. But to underestimate the ability of Luzhkov to produce, or for that matter withold, favorable votes for Putin in the city that represents 1/10 of all Russia is very short sighted.

As to Yeltsin, just do me a favor and answer me what side did you support in 1993, when Yeltsin broke all the constitutional and criminal laws and bombed the Parliament with heavy artillery? And then talk to me about law and what it means or ever meant in Russia.
4.15.2007 2:15am
M (mail):
Vovan,

In 1993 I was too young to know anything about Russian politics (I hardly knew anything about US politics, being only 19 years old at the time and much more interested in other things.) So, at the time I had no opinion. But I think that Yeltsin was obviously wrong in '93, was in violation of the constitution, and that he there set in place many of the current troubles for Russia. I also think it was a big mistake of the US to throw its support behind him in '96 though how much the US support (as opposed to that of the various oligarch) had to do with the outcome I cannot say. (Not that I would have liked to see Zugonov, a man who has quite obviously never had a serious idea in his head in his life, win either.)

As to whether Putin controls Lushkov or not- for a long time I was skeptical. That Putin didn't crush him more completely after the 2000 elections, along with many other actions, made me for a long time doubt that Putin fully controled the country. These days I'm less skeptical since Putin has put nearly all of his own men in place. I doubt that Luskov can act outside of merely local issues on his own. I read Russian slowly and it's late now. I apprecaite you passing on the article and will read it in the morning.
4.15.2007 2:31am
Ilya Somin:
They were provided a place to meet and organize, and yet they deliberately chose to proceed to a different venue - that is a violation of law in ANY, ANY country - Russia, US, Australia, you name it.

The statement on which this is based comes from a Russian government official (those who read Russian will note that the news report says that it came from a "chinovnik," a government bureaucrat). Given that government's record on such issues, I see no reason to give it credence.
4.15.2007 3:15am
Ilya Somin:
The law was enacted in 2001 and amended in 2002 by the Russian parliament. So tell me, when did the Russian Parliament became authoritarian? When Yeltsin left? When Berezovskii brought Putin from Piter? When Putin started to appoint the governors? At what point do we suddenly consider disregard for the rule of law justified because the government is "authoritarian"?

There was some movement towards authoritarianism already under Yeltsin, and it greatly accelerated when Putin became president in 2000. See the link to Kasparov's January 2001 article about it in the post. The law in question - which came at the same time as other moves to crack down on political opposition - was very likely itself part of Putin's creeping authoritarianism. The language quoted by Vovan above indicates that ANY demonstration must get advance "sanction" from the government or its participants will be subject to arrest and fines - even if it poses no threat to public safety, doesn't disrupt traffic, etc.. That is what we lawyers call a prior restraint on speech, and it's certainly a major step in the direction of authoritarianism.
4.15.2007 3:19am
neurodoc:
...shouldn't the fact that Bush looked into this guy's soul and saw him to be a good man give us pause for concern?

Bush looks good in this regard next to ex-prez Carter, who has more often and with less excuse praised truly loathsome foreign leaders, including tellingly enough some unabashed antisemites. That said, I have wondered ever since Bush looked into Putin's soul whether Bush he believed what he said or it was simply expedient, though stupid, for him to say that at the time. This is a problem I have with so much that Bush has said over time, leaving me, someone who regrets having voted for him in 2004 (didn't vote for him in 2000), to wonder if he can really be as stupid* as he seems or it is that he thinks the public is so stupid. (Say if you will that I am another BDS sufferer, but if you do, then you must be using remarkably loose diagnostic criteria that fit an ever growing majority of Americans.)

And I am quite certain that Kasparov, not Putin is the laudable one.

*re Bush's intelligence - heard Kurt Vonnegut's remark that the most scary TV reality show he could imagine would be "C Students from Yale." I expect most people think that is a reference to George W., and undoubtedly Vonnegut meant it to be. But Vonnegut did use the plural "students" and, mirabile dictu, it turns out the guy who ran against George W. in 2004 was a "C Student from Yale," with a GPA less than George W's! (BTW, does anyone know how the next generation Bush did at Yale academically? The beautiful model cousin is reputedly dumber than dirt.) Kerry, of course, managed to keep this secret until months after the election, when his Navy records were released, and with them his college transcript. Kerry doesn't sound so much like a fool when he speaks, though. It is painful for me to listen to Bush, and I usually don't, waiting for the news accounts of what he has said.
4.15.2007 3:20am
Brian G (mail) (www):
Russia's descent into totalitarianism is a direct result of Bush. Putin has been emboldened by seeing how the Bush has put the U.S. Constitution through the paper shredder and has turned America into a fascist society without any freedom of speech to criticize Bush. Putin figures that if Bush can do it, why should he continue spreading of freedom and democracy for all and to carry on the legacy of a man of peace and reform like Mikhail Gorbachev?

Think back to before Bush came into office. Russia has become less free, China floods millions of out their homes to build a dam, Muslims have been oppressed in record numbers and have been forced to fight back, France has been forced to turn its back on America because of Bush's arrogance, and Australia has decided to substitute killing and ravaging dark-skinned Arabs as a de-facto replacement for their natural blood lust for the genocide of the Aboriginal indigenous peoples. If Bush hadn't stole the election, 9/11 would have never happened because Gore wouldn't have ordered it like Bush did, global warming would have been eradicated like polio, Russia would have become the envy of freedom-lovers everywhere, and France would be a friend and strong ally, and the people of Australia would not have retunred to their war-monger ways. Plus, Haliburton would have filed for bankruptcy by now, Israel would have returned all of the stolen land rightfully owned by the Palestinians once and for all, and the Trilateral Commission would have been disbanded.
4.15.2007 4:56am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Brian, the problem is that BDS is so strong that you have to go really really over the top for parody to be obvious. If you could also blame Bush for the death of Anna Nicole Smith and the cancellation of Star Trek, it might be a little more clear.
4.15.2007 7:01am
David Maquera (mail) (www):
Eventually, Putin will have Kasparov "mysteriously" eliminated via poisoning, or killed during a purported random burglary gone awry, etc.
4.15.2007 9:50am
sashal (mail):
The LAW is the LAW, it is the LAW under Stalin and it is the LAW under Hitler.
Nobody dares to challenge the laws established by our betters.
Da, Vova? Is that your main premise?
4.15.2007 10:23am
DeezRightWingNutz:
This is in response to A. Zarkov's post at 6:04 pm:

Why would libertarians be upset that Bush opened the borders? Isn't Open Borders the libertarian position on immigration?

Secondly, Bush didn't campaign as a right wing conservative. He was a "compassionate" coservative. The main area in which he's deviated from an old-school conservative position that he actually advocated during a campaign is foreign policy. IIR, he advocated a realist, humble, no nation-building stance.

Also, McCain-Feingold.

I say with confidence that most coservatives still think a Democrat would have been much worse, they're just disappointed that this is what they got with a Republican (and Republican Congress, for the most part).
4.15.2007 11:29am
Vovan:

There was some movement towards authoritarianism already under Yeltsin, and it greatly accelerated when Putin became president in 2000. See the link to Kasparov's January 2001 article about it in the post. The law in question - which came at the same time as other moves to crack down on political opposition - was very likely itself part of Putin's creeping authoritarianism.


Somin, what about 1993 mini-revolution? What about the 1996 election? What about the "privatization"? Where was the "LAW" then? Or wait a minute, when the party that Somin supports breaks the law - it's ok because they are doing it for "democracy", or for "economic liberty", and when the same laws are broken by the party that Somin does not support - it's because they are moving toward authoritarianism? Is that how it works? Or did you start following Russian life only after 2001?


The LAW is the LAW, it is the LAW under Stalin and it is the LAW under Hitler.
Nobody dares to challenge the laws established by our betters.
Da, Vova? Is that your main premise?


No, Sashenka, my premise is (1)that it's absurd to somehow deliniate the "time" when Russian laws became "authoritarian" - "thus should be disregarded", when the situation regarding "Democracy" or "Rule of Law" did not change since 1993. So why was it ok to disregard the law in 1993, but not ok to disregard it now. Maybe you can answer it to me, because Somin just keeps citing the 2001 Kasparov article.
4.15.2007 11:31am
Mark Field (mail):

Brian, the problem is that BDS is so strong that you have to go really really over the top for parody to be obvious.


Sadly, the Bush Administration itself is beyond parody.
4.15.2007 11:39am
Enoch:
Any suggestions?

Nope. Looks pretty grim right now.

The main area in which he's deviated from an old-school conservative position that he actually advocated during a campaign is foreign policy. IIR, he advocated a realist, humble, no nation-building stance.

There is that whole "smaller, less intrusive government" thing...
4.15.2007 12:15pm
Ken Arromdee:
Why would libertarians be upset that Bush opened the borders? Isn't Open Borders the libertarian position on immigration?

Libertarians would oppose minimum wages and social services, which would make the country less attractive for illegal immigrants in the first place. Libertarians would also oppose social security taxes and employer paid insurance tax breaks; one major incentive to hire illegal immigrants is that there's no need to pay taxes for them or give them insurance, and this incentive would be removed under libertarian policies.

A libertarian might think that the effect of selectively implementing some libertarian proposals can be worse than either implementing the group or none, and oppose open borders on those grounds.
4.15.2007 12:36pm
CJColucci:
So is Kasparov checkmated?

You can all groan now.
4.15.2007 1:27pm
Public_Defender (mail):
So, if Russia is being led by a former KGB officer who is the moral equivilant of "a former high-ranking Gestapo or SS leader," can we stop saying that Reagan and Thatcher won the Cold War? Instead of a stable totalitarian country with nukes, we have an unstable totalitarian country with nukes.

I guess by "victory," conservatives mean tearing down one evil regime and replacing it with something even worse.

How many more conservative "victories" can we afford?
4.15.2007 4:38pm
Enoch:
If a victory is subsequently squandered, it is no less a victory for all that. However, it is not even clear that the fate of post-Cold War Russia was "ours to lose". Ultimately, the form of government that prevails in Russia is in the hands of the Russians, not outsiders.
4.15.2007 5:40pm
whit:
"Why would libertarians be upset that Bush opened the borders? Isn't Open Borders the libertarian position on immigration? "

(L)ibertarians (capital "L" as in Libertarian party) may be for Open Borders, but not all libertarians are for open borders at all. i certainly consider myself to be strongly libertarian, but i don't think being libertarian means not recognizing the fact that we should have sovereignty, borders, and law and order.
4.15.2007 6:27pm
BGates (www):
Clearly Bush was wrong about Putin. That Democrats have not stepped forward to criticize him on this point is testament to their respect for the office of the President, and their reluctance to politicize foreign policy.
4.15.2007 6:32pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
David,

Goodpoint. Thanks.

And, Mark Field proves my point. It's all about Bush.
4.15.2007 10:38pm
markm (mail):
Public_Defender: Russia is now a smaller, semi-totalitarian country with nukes decaying away in silos on top of missiles that are maintained poorly, if at all. With the resources they have left, I would be surprised if as many as 25% of their ICBM's are still operable. It's not as good as we could hope for, but it's better than the situation in the 1980's.
4.16.2007 10:26am
markm (mail):

I'm a moderate libertarian. I didn't hope for real libertarianism from Bush, but I did expect him to act like a Republican and be reluctant to expand government and back social programs. I've been greatly disappointed, which makes this outright funny:


Isn’t it time for conservatives, libertarians, and even right-wingers to admit (at least to themselves) that the left was right all along about Bush?

Funny, I don't recall the left complaining that Bush wasn't a real rightwinger or Republican - except maybe concerning Raich vs. Ashcroft, when the Justice Department followed leftist/liberal principles (the federal nanny state over everything) in a case where the left disagreed with the policy, not with the priciples behind it. (E.g., most of the non-libertarians criticizing this have supported every questionable extension of the Commerce Clause in the past, and many of them support bans on smoking and trans-fats.)
4.16.2007 10:29am
markm (mail):
It looks like Kasparov's offense was to not accept being shunted off to an out of the way area where few would see the protest march. Isn't this like the "free speech zones" in the USA, which were invented by Clinton?
4.16.2007 10:35am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Funny, I don't recall the left complaining that Bush wasn't a real rightwinger or Republican -
It's the old Washington kabuki dance. Democrats pretend that Republicans are extreme conservatives, in order to fire up the liberal base... and Republicans pretend that Republicans are extreme conservatives, in order to fire up the conservative base.
4.17.2007 2:17am