Chess champion Garry Kasparov reacts to Litvinenko verdict during Prague trip
“Better late than never” – that was the reaction of former chess master and Russian political activist Garry Kasparov to the verdict of a UK inquiry Thursday on the death of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy poisoned in 2006 via a lethal dose of polonium-210 placed in his tea. According to British authorities, the murder was carried out by the Russian FSB security services, probably on the orders of Vladimir Putin.
“We say better late than never. It took 10 years for the British government and British justice to release the results of their investigation, which I think was actually completed much earlier. And it took three consecutive governments to decide before they could go public with it.”
But Kasparov, who now works for the US-based Human Rights Foundation, said that he fully understood why the report was delayed:
Evoking the memory of World War II, Kasparov also said that a democratic country like Czechoslovakia is fully aware of the risks of not standing up to the erosion of democracy. He also spoke about whether he feels his life is threatened as a critic of the Russian leader:
“Look, anybody who criticizes Putin is at risk. That is why I left Russia three years ago…I just have to make sure I am not drinking tea with strangers!”
Kasparov said Vladimir Putin has been able to consolidate his leadership by spreading, in his view, oil and gas money between different groups and creating a sense of prosperity for the Russian middle class. But he believes tough economic times now are making Putin’s future a little less certain: