Free Russia Forum Wraps Up Virtual Conference

  • One of the speakers at the forum was Garry Kasparov.
  • Kasparov has been outspoken in his support for returning annexed lands.
  • Leonid Gozman spoke of the need for a European constitution for Russia.

The fourth Free Russia Forum just wrapped up. Due the Coronavirus pandemic, the forum was held virtually. At the end of the forum, the participants were offered a draft resolution pertaining to the situation in Belarus and preventing the “crimes” of the illegitimate ruling Belarusian regime.

Garry Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, writer, and political activist. Kasparov is currently chairman for the Human Rights Foundation and chairs its International Council.

It should be noted that the Kremlin recognized Alexander Lukashenko as the legitimate leader of Belarus. Among the speakers were Sergey Guriev, Andrey Illarionov, Vladislav Inozemtsev, Alexander Kynev, Elena Lukyanova, Leonid Gozman, and Garry Kasparov.

According to the media, one of the topics at the forum was “the dissolution of the Russian and Soviet empires.” It was presented by Kasparov. In his grand plan, he did not deny the possibly of the return of the lands to the rightful owners that were taken by the Soviet Union.

Immediately, the Russian media went on the attack, claiming that Kasparov’s goal is to destroy Russia, empower the West, and rob the Russian populous. Kasparov claims:

“In the future, Russia has no choice but to abandon the Imperial policy of President Vladimir Putin. This includes renouncing all annexations and claims to any territories that were previously part of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union. Imperial politics in the 21st century brings nothing but troubles and disappointments, including to Russia itself.”

Of course, his statement was taken out of context. He made the same statement to Radio Liberty, but it was regarding the Crimean annexation by Russia in 2014.

Leonid Gozman is a Russian politician and president of the all-Russian public movement Union of Right Forces. He was the co-chair of the party Just Cause from 2008 to June 2011.

Additionally, as a member of the “Coordination Council of the Russian Opposition,” Kasparov openly advocated returning the Kuril Islands to Japan and holding a referendum in the Kaliningrad Region on the annexation of its lands from Germany.

The latter statement is mind boggling. Since when has Kaliningrad has been an issue? The location is strategic, but it would not win popular support within the Russian populous.

Furthermore, Leonid Yakovlevich suggested a new Russian constitution, which would be more liberal. However, he is being shortsighted. Gozman believes in the implementation of a European constitution for Russia. He went even further, believing that Russia does not need a sovereign constitution or laws. He stressed that Russia should be part of the EU.

The forum is a great initiative, and much needed. A democratic society should always have an opposition, and people should not be afraid to voice their opinions. The situation in Belarus, by contrast, is unfortunate. Lukashenko should hold new elections. In reality, when any side goes too far, it becomes less attractive.

Russia always had a strong national identity. Therefore, the idea of Russia joining the EU is only an idea. There is no chance that a majority of Russians will support the idea of giving Japan the Kuril Islands.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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