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NEW YORK, NY (March 6, 2024) — The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) condemns the Russian regime’s ludicrous designation of pro-democracy advocate and HRF Chairman Garry Kasparov as a Russian “terrorist and extremist.” The state financial watchdog Rosfinmonitoring didn’t provide reasoning for Kasparov’s designation but indicated a criminal case had been opened against him on terrorism charges.

Widely considered history’s greatest chess player and an ardent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kasparov retired from the sport in 2005 to devote his time to writing and human rights advocacy. Kasparov founded the United Civil Front, a social movement aimed at preserving electoral democracy in Russia, and he later joined The Other Russia, a pro-democracy coalition opposing Putin. In 2008, he attempted to challenge Putin in the Russian presidential race but withdrew due to “obstruction.” In 2013, he left Russia for fear of persecution for his political activities.

Today, Kasparov courageously defends human rights and democracy in Russia, acting as the chairman of HRF and co-founder of the Renew Democracy Initiative and World Liberty Congress. He has long been a target of Kremlin repression due to his outspoken advocacy. In May 2022, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation had already labeled Kasparov a “foreign agent.”

Putin will use any means necessary to silence his critics. Placing Kasparov on the state list of “terrorists and extremists” is his most recent attempt. It follows the tragic murder of prominent Russian dissident and opposition leader Alexei Navalny while serving an unlawful 19-year prison sentence and the continued imprisonment of Russian democracy activist and coordinator of Open Russia Vladimir Kara-Murza.

HRF is appalled by the Kremlin’s unfounded labeling of Kasparov, a champion of human rights for his country, and supports his unwavering commitment to a democratic Russia. 

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. 

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