Former chess champion Garry Kasparov may face charges under Russia’s ‘foreign agent’ law

Russian former world chess champion Garry Kasparov is facing potential charges for violating Russia’s “foreign agent” law, according to reports from Russian state news on Sunday, according to The Hill. Russian law enforcement officials have indicated there is “every reason” to prosecute Kasparov, which could result in up to two years of imprisonment.

Kasparov was "arrested in absentia" last April, alongside several colleagues, for allegedly "heading a terrorist society, funding terrorist activity, and justifying it publicly," as reported by the TASS news agency.

Russia’s broad foreign agent law mandates that individuals and organizations receiving foreign support or influence must register with the justice ministry and be declared foreign agents. Kasparov became subject to this internationally condemned requirement in 2022 after co-founding the Anti-War Committee of Russia. The committee called on Russians to "fight against the dictatorship of Vladimir Putin" and demanded that Russian officials be tried as "war criminals."

“I am a terrorist in Russia; I have graduated from ‘foreign agent’ to ‘extremist,’ and now I am a ‘terrorist,’” Kasparov lamented in a recent interview with the Jerusalem Post.

“Many of my colleagues are ‘terrorists.’ I have been arrested in absentia. I suspect there is a warrant for my arrest. Some of my colleagues have been convicted in absentia. We believe that the [Putin] regime has to be overthrown because it hurts our country, as well as the world.”

Kasparov has been a vocal critic of the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin directly for some time. In 2013, he fled Russia due to fears of persecution for his outspoken criticisms. He relocated to New York City and in 2014, he acquired Croatian citizenship and established a residence in Podstrana.

The chess grandmaster also chairs the Human Rights Foundation and its International Council.

“I try to take elementary precautions, and when I attend public events, I have bodyguards. In New York I look after myself. I traveled around the world, but now it has been limited to about a dozen because of the safety issues,” Kasparov explained.

Image: Title: Kasparov