Kasparov calls Russia ballot “rape”
Posted on December 3rd, 2007 by admin

Former world chess champion and opposition leader Garry Kasparov accused Russian authorities of “raping the whole electoral system” with numerous instances of irregularities in Sunday’s parliamentary election.

Chess champion Kasparov calls Russia’s ballot ‘rape’

Speaking to a crowd of mostly foreign reporters after casting a protest vote, Kasparov said the opposition had evidence of ballot-stuffing and of threats to hospital patients and state workers unless they voted for pro-Kremlin parties.

President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party is widely expected to win a huge majority in Sunday’s elections for a new State Duma (lower house of parliament).

Pro-Western parties, marginalised after an eight-year oil boom which has created a host of billionaires and a growing middle class, are not expected to win any seats.

“They are not just rigging the vote, they are raping the whole electoral system,” Kasparov said. “These elections are a reminder of Soviet elections when there was no choice.”

Later at a book signing, he predicted Kremlin authoritarianism would cause a “deepening crisis” in Russia, ending in an “economic collapse no less serious than what we saw in 1991 (when the Soviet Union collapsed)”.

“Putin is going to have a hard time trying to rule like Stalin and live like Abramovich,” Kasparov said, referring to London-based oil magnate Roman Abramovich, estimated by Forbes to be Russia’s richest man with $18 billion.