Kasparov calls Russia ballot â€œrapeâ€
Posted on December 3rd, 2007 by admin
Former world chess champion and opposition leader Garry Kasparov accused Russian authorities of â€œraping the whole electoral systemâ€ 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.
â€œThey are not just rigging the vote, they are raping the whole electoral system,â€ Kasparov said. â€œThese elections are a reminder of Soviet elections when there was no choice.â€
Later at a book signing, he predicted Kremlin authoritarianism would cause a â€œdeepening crisisâ€ in Russia, ending in an â€œeconomic collapse no less serious than what we saw in 1991 (when the Soviet Union collapsed)â€.
â€œPutin is going to have a hard time trying to rule like Stalin and live like Abramovich,â€ Kasparov said, referring to London-based oil magnate Roman Abramovich, estimated by Forbes to be Russia’s richest man with $18 billion.