The Current

Garry Kasparov denounces Vladimir Putin in 'Winter is Coming'

As Vladimir Putin attempts to call checkmate on the West over Syria and Assad's leadership, former chess Grandmaster-turned -opposition politician has released a new book critical of how Putin plays the game. We speak with Garry Kasparov on the perils of Russia's opposition politics.
"No one who is criticizing Vladimir Putin is safe," says former world chess champion and leading opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Presidential Press Service/Reuters)

Garry Kasparov was first introduced to the world, more than three decades ago, as the Soviet Union's new chess-playing wunderkind.

By 1985, at the age of 22, he would become the youngest world chess champion ever. And he held his position as one of the chess world's most dominant players, for the following twenty two years. 

"My chess experience helped me to devise some kind of strategy, though of course our opponent could change the rules at his convenience."- Garry Kasparov

But then Garry Kasparov threw himself into an arguably more challenging -- and definitely more dangerous -- game.

Former chess World Champions Garry Kasparov at the start of his 25th anniversary match against Anatoly Karpov in Valencia, September 2009. (Reuters/Heino Kalis)
 In 2005 he left the chessboard behind and entered Russian politics... with the goal of bringing down president Vladimir Putin. As a leader of the anti-Putin forces, Mr. Kasparov was targeted for arrest and beatings by Russian security forces. 

And that included one very public -- and wild -- arrest in August 2012 outside the Moscow court house where three members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot were standing trial for their unorthodox anti-Putin protest, in a Russian Orthodox Church. 

Garry Kasparov tells the story of his road from chess master to political activist in his new book, "Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped." 

We did contact the Russian embassy in Ottawa for comment.  We were told that the book is Kasparov's personal endeavour, and that the embassy could not comment on every book  published about Russia. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.