Garry Kasparov, who was arrested by Russian police for protesting outside the courthouse where punk band Pussy Riot was on trial in 2012, said Putin’s finger hovered over the red button
We are already in the middle of World War III, and if Vladimir Putin’s “special operation” in Ukraine succeeds, “all bets are off,” according to chess grandmaster and political activist Garry Kasparov.
Kasparov, who was beaten and arrested by Russian police for protesting outside the courthouse where the women of punk band Pussy Riot were tried in 2012, said Putin is threatening democracy around the world.
“This is already World War III. And this is not just a war against Ukraine. Vladimir Putin is attacking the very foundation of the world we have lived in since World War II. And if he succeeds in Ukraine, all bets are off,” the 59-year-old said on The Megyn Kelly Show podcast.
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At one point in the chat, moderator Megyn Kelly asks Kasparov if she thinks Putin has become a “maniac” who “has lost his mental faculties in a way we haven’t seen before” and the Azerbaijani-born character says “absolutely”.
“You see, he has been in power for 22 years, that is a long time for even the most intelligent person with the noblest of intentions, which could be very damaging.
“And Putin was not one of those guys. His education came from the streets of Leningrad and the KGB school, and in recent years he has become increasingly isolated because, like any dictator, he has a very small, ever-diminishing inner circle.”
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Kasparov added that Putin, 69, does not trust the internet and open sources, meaning he relies on information provided to him by this inner circle and therefore “his vision of the world is outdated”.
Kasparov added: “And Putin believes that violence is a necessary tool to rule, whether over his own subjects or to impose his will on other countries.
“So we shouldn’t be surprised that his favorite characters in history are Joseph Stalin and Ivan the Terrible.
“That’s how he sees himself, a man above the law. A man who is the law. He feels that with one finger he can press the red button and destroy the whole world.”
Kasparov’s comments come as Putin has repeatedly warned that Russia has nuclear weapons and will use them “if necessary”.
“He said it a year ago that if we have a war, everyone will die like dogs and we will go to heaven,” continued the chess legend.
“It shows the mental instability of that person and I kept saying forget Putin, it’s not about him, it’s about sending a message to the people around him. Those who haven’t lost their minds and who value their lives.
“Only now has the free world come to the conclusion that we are dealing with a madman. Imagine Adolf Hitler in a Berlin bunker in 1945, imagine if he had that red button, do you have any doubts, that he would squeeze him?”