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Kasparov Vision of Russian "Solidarity"

Gary Kasparov, the grand Russian chess master and leading political opponent of the Putin-Medvedev autocratic regime outlined a vision in an article Space for Solidarity .

The key highlights of the article is that Russian "Solidarity" should not be an exclusive club of liberals or, in words of Kasparov, "liberal ghetto". Kasparov vision is that Solidarity is a public forum for a variety of oppositional forces to express their opinions peacefully, compete with each other by persuasion instead of violence and learn to make important compromises with each other to find a constructive alternative to Putin regime. He believes that Solidarity needs to include a variety of political forces, including liberals, social-democrats and rational nationalists/patriots.

Kasparov rejects suggestions of some of his liberal colleagues to get rid of "red" and "brown" element referring to presence of non-totalitarian socialists and patriots in the movements. Kasparov clearly states that turning Solidarity into liberals-only club would defeat the very purpose of creation of Solidarity--restoration of free and honest political competition. Kasparov recalls 1993-1996 the support alliance of Russian economic liberals, such as former prime-minister Chubais, with Yeltsin inner circle to stifle opposition to Yeltsin economic policies. The following quote from Kasparov' article summarizes very well his ideas:

"We should get rid of the idea inherited from Yeltsin-Putin "liberals" about liberalism without democracy. No matter how correct from liberal-economic perspective the steps of autocratic power may seem, they bring the country to dead end--not just economic but political one too. Free enterprise competition is impossible without free political competition, without equality before law and division of powers."

The essence of Kasparov' thought is that it is imperative to seek a political dialog with rational opponents as long as basic criteria of mutual respect and recognition of the need for the citizen rights are met. If Solidarity can become a platform offering a real and constructive alternative to Putin "power vertical", than it will be a giant step toward building civil society in Russia.