World’s top chess player slams Europe Council for ending sanctions on Russia

"Worse betrayal than Munich 1938," he said.

July 1, 2019 01:24
1 minute read.
World’s top chess player slams Europe Council for ending sanctions on Russia

Garry Kasparov. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Garry Kasparov, widely considered to be the greatest chess player of all time and a leading human rights advocate, blasted the Council of Europe on Friday for removing sanctions on Russia.

Writing on the Internet-based news site Euromaidan Press, Kasparov did not mince words about the EU powers lifting sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian state: “In my eyes, this is a worse betrayal than Munich 1938 for several reasons. The foe here isn’t a mighty Nazi war machine, threatening to inflame the continent. PACE [Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe] is kneeling before Gazprom and Rosneft.”

Kasparov’s Munich comment refers to former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Adolf Hitler’s occupation of the Sudetenland.

Gazprom and Rosneft are Russian state-owned gas and oil companies.

Kasparov wrote that, “Two days ago, the Council of Europe [CoE] voted to ignore its own warnings about Russian aggression and human rights violations. Putin invaded Georgia and Ukraine, illegally annexed Crimea and has spent 20 years destroying democracy in Russia. The CoE, including French and German support, has rewarded Putin by lifting sanctions on Russia. This move exposes the institution as hopelessly corrupt. Worse than useless, it has become a willing conduit for helping Putin spread his corrupting influence across Europe.”

The German Foreign Ministry’s English-language Twitter feed said on Tuesday: “Russia belongs in the Council of Europe – with all the rights and obligations that entails.” It added that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas welcomes the compromise reached for Russia to remain in the CoE: “This is good news for Russia’s civil society.”

Kasparov fired back at Maas and the Europeans: “Most pathetically, supporters of this betrayal of the CoE’s mission have tried to paint is as being made on behalf of Russian civil society, instead of a crushing blow against it. This is absurd and misguided at best, and an attempt to hide their pro-Putin corruption at worst. The only real way to help what is left of Russian civil society is to do whatever possible to end Putin’s dictatorship.”

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