Russia

Former chess champ to Putin lovers: Killing and jailing dissidents is the ‘strength’ you want in a president?

Thanks to president-elect Donald Trump‘s bizarre adulatory feelings towards Russian president Vladimir Putin, apologists for Putin’s style of politics have become prevalent in the rhetoric of the conservative pundit sphere.

Former world chess champion-turned politician and political commentator Garry Kasparov is no Putin apologist. Quite the contrary; he’s been one of Putin’s most vocal opponents since the former KGB agent swept into power at the turn of the century. On Saturday, Kasparov was a bit perturbed by a video posted to Twitter by The Heritage Foundation, a well-known U.S. conservative think tank.

In the video, President Obama is slammed for his response to the alleged Russian hacking of the 2016 election, claiming that Russia’s actions were made possible by the lack of “strength and consistency” exhibited by Obama — both qualities that Putin “respects.”

“[Obama] blames Russia for ‘cyber operations aimed at our election,'” the video states. “Now, he’s sanctioning Russia and expelling their officials from the U.S. Unfortunately, Obama’s actions are too little, too late. Vladimir Putin respects two things: strength and consistency. In the last two years, Obama has shown neither.”

Kasparov retweeted the video with the caption, “How many Americans would Obama have to murder or jail for dissent for you to consider him ‘strong’ like Putin?”

Kasparov’s point is irrefutable. Last year, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing the appalling human rights abuses that take place in Putin’s Russia. Putin’s policies towards basic fundamental human rights such as freedom of association and freedom of expression are atrocious.

“The Russian government has unleashed a crackdown on civil society unprecedented in the country’s post-Soviet history,” another HRW report from 2013 states.

“The authorities have introduced a series of restrictive laws, harassed, intimidated and in several case imprisoned political activists, interfered in the work of NGOs and sought to cast government critics as clandestine enemies.”

How Trump’s policy towards Russia will ultimately materialize is anyone’s guess. But if the ruling party in America is to be an enabler rather than a buffer to Putin’s aggression and human rights abuses, everyone stands to suffer.

Featured image via YouTube screen grab

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