Garry Kasparov: Russian Elections Are A "Charade," Sanctions Must Target Putin's Money


Russian dissident and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov talks about the Presidential election taking place in Russia on Sunday:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, 'THIS WEEK': Let's get more now from Russian dissident, former world chess champ Garry Kasparov. He's now chair of the Human Rights Foundation. And, Garry, starting out with that election, is there anything we can look to in these results that would suggest what Putin's real strength is?

GARRY KASPAROV, RUSSIAN DISSIDENT: First of all, stop calling it elections. It's a charade. It's the only vote that matters in a dictatorship like Russia is Putin's vote, so you're right showing him voting for himself and that's it.

You're absolutely right saying that the turnout is the only challenge. It's not only just because of apathy because many people are scared actually to show up and to demonstrate that they disapprove of
Putin's policies.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We've seen he's been increasingly aggressive in the west. Obviously, this attempted assassination in the United Kingdom. Will he become even more brazen?

KASPAROV: Absolutely. He has no other choice. In this country, you could say that if something goes wrong, so then you see the president just going after press, political appointees, blaming someone. If you are power for 18 years, there is no one to blame, so you need enemies outside Russia, so that's why Putin needs the free world, America, Europe, as enemies to justify his eternal hold on power.

And if you think that his meddling in American election was bad, imagine what he does in Russia?

STEPHANOPOULOS: He also seems to become something of a model for other leaders around the world. We're seeing President Xi now do away with term limits as well. You have Venezuela, the Philippines. And you said something interesting, and it's not so much that he's inspiring these authoritarian leaders, as giving permission to them.

KASPAROV: It's also -- a combination of inspiration and also it's a story of success. What this leader is like, the Chinese leader and other authoritarian leaders, they saw in Putin is that he kept defining the west, actually, he's just been doing things like poisoning and killing dissidents and defectors and former spy agents who found asylum elsewhere like Litvinenko, and nothing happened. So he succeeds in having Trump in the White House, so he definitely worked much harder with Trump's election than with his own. And sanctions, weak, belated and it's just always small fish.

Now, the first time we heard strong words from the UK. I wish we see the action, but don't forget, 14 billion pounds money laundering according to official reports coming through England.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You clearly think this is a serious threat. What is the most important thing we in the West should be doing to counter Putin that we're not doing right now?

KASPAROV: Well, two days ago you had a conference called Putincon. You could see at, 25 speakers from six countries talking about all crimes committed by Putin's regime. It's the past and present of Russian dictatorship, and everybody came to the same conclusion is hurt them where it hurts: money. Follow the money.

So it's not that they park the money that they're stealing from Russia in China or Venezuela or in Iran, it's in this country, it's in Europe. I mentioned the United Kingdom, so make sure that the oligarchs they will have to choose between following Putin's criminal orders and their fortunes.

As long as they feel safe by having their families, their mistresses, their yacht, their palaces, the real estate everything here and following Putin's orders nothing will happen.

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