The former chess world champion fled Russia three years ago because of his opposition to the Putin regime. He’s one of the dictator’s most outspoken dissidents.
U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia is behind recent hacks of Democratic campaign officials that have flooded the Internet with thousands of private emails through Wikileaks.
The emails in many cases have proved embarrassing for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but have uncovered no wrong-doing.
Kasparov told CNN’s Jake Tapper, Friday (Oct. 21) that the Russian government likely has Trump campaign emails as well that are equally embarrassing. But so far it has refrained from releasing them.
“I don’t believe for a second that Trump was clean and they couldn’t find anything,” he said. “More likely, they had plenty but they decided to use it privately to good effect, whether we are talking about debts or blackmail.”
Trump has tried to minimize his business connections to Russia, boiling it down in interviews to “selling a few condos.”
But media reports have uncovered long-standing relationships to Russian oligarchs, investors and even Russian organized crime going back to the 1980s.
“Putin sees in Trump an ideal counterpart,” Kasparov said. “Trump shows no respect for democracy, for rule of law.”
During the presidential campaign, Trump’s refusal to say anything other than positive statements about Putin has been one of his most consistent, if unusual, positions.
Trump has praised Putin as strong leader “unlike what we have in this country,” according to Newsweek magazine.
He also said he would consider recognizing Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimea from Ukraine and re-examine the U.S. role in NATO, a bulwark against Russian aggression in Europe since World War II.
“He is departing radically from Ronald Reagan, something never done by any Republican Party presidential candidate,” Michael McFaul, U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014 told Newsweek.
Trump has given every indication he would treat Russia as an equal superpower, something no U.S. president has done since the fall of the old Soviet Union in the 1990s. It’s also something Putin wants very much.
Trump’s talking down of American democracy and constant complaints about a “rigged election” also play into Putin’s hands, according to Kasparov.
“Putin probably has an even bigger goal to seed doubts in America and the world about the integrity of U.S. elections,” he said.
“By doing so, he could have the biggest geopolitical victory that KBG colonel could ever dream of, because, if American elections are rigged, who cares about elections in Russia.”
Dmitry Kiselev, Putin’s chief propagandist, recently assured a Russian TV audience that the U.S. election, “can’t be called free and democratic” thanks to Trumps pronouncements, according to The Economist.
“And every dictator… will applaud Putin’s efforts,” he added, “since they could say elections in democratic countries, namely the United States, or leader of the free world, are as bad as elsewhere.”
When asked about the reasons for Trump’s unabashed support of Putin, Kasparov sees something more sinister that simply a response to Putin’s flattery.
“Trump, even not being a very smart politician, he should recognize the damage done by his repeated statements about Putin. But he keeps doing that.
“So that’s why I think we should look for more sinister reasons for Trump being so pro-Putin,” he said.
Kasparov warned that Trump’s repeated harping on rigged elections is “fertilizing the ground” for potential civil unrest. “That is Putin’s greatest dream,” he says.
If America after the election is dragged into civil unrest and is divided, it will not be able to play the role worldwide protecting freedom and human rights, he added.
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