Kasparov Says Russia May Shed Some Territories If It Loses War In Ukraine

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(RFE/RL) — Self-exiled Russian opposition politician and co-founder of the Free Russia Forum Garry Kasparov told RFE/RL in an interview on March 1 that Russia’s current borders may “not necessarily remain” if Moscow loses the war in Ukraine but stressed that a total dissolution of Russia is unlikely.

Among possible regions Kasparov said might separate from the Russian Federation are the republics of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Daghestan, and Chechnya, but he added he doesn’t believe everything is clear about what will come after the war.

“At the end of the day economic factors will play a major role in that matter. But it is very important today not to support the position of a united and indivisible Russia,” Kasparov said, adding that he believes “the change of Russia’s imperial character is necessary for its reformatting.”

The 60-year-old former world chess champion said the losses to Russia would be “minimal” but said, “If you reject an empire, then you have to agree that some of its parts can go away in the end.”

The bonds that would make it hard for Russia to dissolve would be mostly economic ties, he said. But if some parts of Russia seceded, it would then become possible to reach new agreements between Russia’s territories under what would be a “free confederation.”

“It is right, among other things, from a psychological point of view because it will be impossible to build a nonimperial Russia while preserving imperial misconceptions,” Kasparov said, speaking with RFE/RL in Vilnius at a gathering of Russian opposition figures.

Kasparov also said he believes the United States and the European Union are “afraid” of possible dissolution of Russia if it loses the war in Ukraine.

This creates problems in West’s better understanding of the world and the war in Ukraine and affects the West’s support of Kyiv’s efforts to stand against Russia’s full-scale aggression.

A Ukrainian victory would be a “mighty blow” to Russia, he said, and would “most likely lead to the change of [its] entire political structure.”

Kasparov has said the Russian public does not yet understand that the war is heading toward defeat and that “Putin’s dictatorship will not survive.”

Kasparov, who currently resides in the United States, is known as a staunch critic of the Kremlin’s policies, including the war in Ukraine. He and another prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon, were added to Russia’s registry of foreign agents in May 2022.

The Vilnius meeting was the 12th session of the Free Russia Forum.

With reporting by Andrei Grigoryev of RFE/RL’s Idel.Realities

RFE RL

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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