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Could Russia's 'Czar' fall?

(Written by Ariel Bulshtein)

The war in Ukraine is likely to lead to the radicalization of Putin’s “Napoleonic programs,” chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, a prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, told Israel Hayom Sunday.

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Ukraine wasn’t sufficiently prepared for war, says Kasparov. According to him, if the country had been supplied with advanced weapons systems in advance, the Russian Army’s strategic firepower advantage would have been wiped out. However, he thinks that the Russian invasion and Putin’s audacity have shaken the Western countries from their slumber, and what was will no longer be, mainly thanks to the defiant stance of the Ukrainians to the invasion.

“If, in the coming day, Putin doesn’t succeed in achieving his military goals, a stinging defeat awaits him, and a major geopolitical defeat is always a necessary component in the script of the fall of dictators,” Kasparov says. “The moment the regime seems weak in the eyes of its subjects, its end is near. The withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan was this kind of point of no return. If the Ukrainians can hold on for another few days, and if the ring of sanctions will be tightened, and if the West isn’t deterred, it could be the beginning of the end for the Putin regime. On the other hand, in order to avoid defeat, Putin could now throw all of his power into the war against the Ukrainians, without restraint.”

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov

Alongside concern about Ukraine, Kasparov doesn’t hide his opinion regarding the attempt by the powers to reconcile with the regime of the Ayatollahs with a nuclear agreement.

“I always related negatively to the nuclear deal with Iran, and I see it as one of the most serious mistakes of Obama’s government, which bears responsibility for the fact that Putin’s regime and all terrorist and totalitarian regimes in the world have accrued power and self-confidence,” Kasparov says in the interview. “If we’re looking for the roots of the deterioration, we can go back to the earlier presidents, like Bush Jr and of course Bill Clinton – during that period it was possible to stabilize the global security arrangements in the best possible way. The nuclear agreement was a surrender.

“And now the Biden government is also behaving incorrectly, and there is reason to assume that even his softness towards Russia stems from the fact that he inherited from the Obama administration this harmful deal and is trying to return to it at any price. In order to reach an agreement with the Iranians, Biden needs the Russians, and because of this, he wasn’t capable of dealing with them toughly.”

Q: How have we reached a situation where the free world again abandons a sovereign state to the aggression of a dictator?

“One needs to distinguish between the many years of abandonment that the free world has demonstrated and the unwillingness until now to identify and to address the threat, and the steps that have been taken in recent days. Putin didn’t conceal his preparations for the acts of aggression. He presented his doctrine at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, and explained there his vision to return to control areas that he saw as “spheres of influence.” Ever since then, he’s realized his strategic program stage after stage, and the free world has accepted it.

“Because of his aggression and the inaction of the West, we’ve reached the low point. In recent months, the Russian preparations for an invasion were visible, and the West still remained weak. There is no word of criticism that is harsh enough to fully describe the seriousness of his actions between May 2021 and the end of the year. But there are signs that now it’s changing. Faced with the pressure of events, America is, in any case, returning, to a certain extent, to the front of the global stage: it’s deploying forces to NATO’s flank and is supplying arms to Ukraine. It’s still a partial return, less than I wanted, but more than Putin expected. The combination of economic, military and political sanctions that have been imposed on Russia are likely to create difficulties for Putin that he won’t be able to overcome.”

Q: What are the most effective sanctions that have not yet been used?

“The most paralyzing sanctions belong to the area of finance. There were rumors about the EU’s intention to freeze the assets of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation – a step like this and similar ones aren’t likely to lead to the bankruptcy of the Putin regime and its inability to continue its aggressive policies. If Putin’s Russia will be isolated from the financial markets, the influence will be felt very quickly – there won’t be money for the military machine, to pay salaries to those protecting the regime and the propaganda mechanism.

“Another heavy blow is connected to capturing the assets of oligarchs who are close to Putin. Their hundreds of billions of dollars are spread all over the world, and they were secure – they didn’t hold them in China but in the developed countries. It’s impossible to go after everyone – but even a few trials to set an example, leading to a boycott of these assets, and mainly to direct it towards helping Ukraine – can have the desired effect.”

{Written by Ariel Bulshtein and reposted from the IsraelHayom site}

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