The Once and Future Putincon?


With the reelection of Russian president Vladimir Putin a foregone conclusion, chess champion Garry Kasparov, chair of the Human Rights Foundation, was inspired to convene Putincon, a day-long conference to look at Putin in the round, Priscilla M. Jensen writes for the Weekly Standard

We are here today not to dream, said Kasparov, introducing the final panel, on the end of Putin’s tyranny. But he encouraged positive takes on the subject by his interlocutors Vladimir Kara-Murza, director of Nemtsov, a documentary on his murdered friend and political associate Boris Nemtsov and a two-time survivor of Russia-originated poisoning; Miriam Lanskoy of the National Endowment for Democracy; and David J. Kramer, a former diplomat and a scholar in the field of human rights.

Kara-Murza spoke about the unpredictability of political change in Russia, in August 1991 as well as in 1917, noting that Russians cannot afford to be as unprepared for Putin’s eventual exit as for the earlier two episodes. Noting the tens of thousands of Russian young people who have participated in protests against the government in the last year or so, he suggested training and educating and helping to prepare the people who will be involved in political change, including by encouraging them to run even in today’s fake, truncated, manipulated elections as a training ground.


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