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Supercomputing Government Politics

Russian Police Seize Kasparov 495

An anonymous reader writes "Russian police seized Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess champion, for staging a political rally against Vladimir Putin. IBM's Deep Blue computer was the first to beat a world champion when it defeated Kasparov, who is one of the strongest players in history." He's also been a giant critic of the Russian administration which is increasingly restricting free speech.
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Russian Police Seize Kasparov

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  • by 2.7182 ( 819680 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @10:45AM (#21462341)
    Seriously, this sucks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In Soviet Russia, police seize Kasparov!

      what, what?
    • by sentientbeing ( 688713 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:01AM (#21462433)
      He's obviously just a pawn in all this.
    • Re:obigatory joke (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SlashThat ( 859697 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:21AM (#21462551)
      Actually this might benefit Kasparov's cause. He's a respected person both in Russia and abroad, and a move like this could provoke a stronger protest against Putin. I trust Kasparov has calculated this 6 moves ahead :)
      • Re:obligatory joke (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Aminion ( 896851 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:49AM (#21462749)
        I hope that you are right, but if the world hasn't been able to do anything about Russia's horrible crimes against the people of Chechnya, how big are the chances that Kasparov can make a difference? Also, don't forget that Putin's approval ratings are pretty high even if you disbelieve the official statistics from the Kremlin, i.e. the Russians themselves might not even care about this and that is what's really required here. You can't force changes like this from the outside (are you going to sanction Russia? Use military force? Hardly), it has to come from the people of Russia.
        • Re:obligatory joke (Score:4, Interesting)

          by thrillseeker ( 518224 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @12:37PM (#21463141)
          how big are the chances that Kasparov can make a difference

          Even less while imprisoned.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by DJCacophony ( 832334 )
          Do you think that the South should have been allowed to secede from the rest of America? How about Chechnya from Russia? The former resulted in many more deaths, why are you not defending those poor Southerners and their slaves, if you favor secession so much? How about a little selection of the horrible misdeeds these poor "people of Chechnya" have committed?
          • In October 2005, at least eighty-five people were killed in street fighting in the southern Russian city of Nalchik after Chechen rebels assaulte
      • that would work a normal chessgame . But in this case Putin is cheating
      • Re:obigatory joke (Score:5, Interesting)

        by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @02:13PM (#21463937) Journal
        I can't say for the other countries, but here in Russia most people do not appreciate Kasparov as a politician. That might have something in common with Putin's high approval rating.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)


      If he can just hit that bulls-eye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards!

      Chris Mattern
    • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:41AM (#21462689) Homepage
      Unfortunately for Gary Kasparov, the Kremlin plays brutal chess.

      According to a report [washingtonpost.com] recently issued by Reuters, the leading political candidate representing the liberal anti-Kremlin Yabloko party has been shot by an unknown assailant. The candidate is now in serious condition in a hospital. This attempted assassination caps a year-long effort, by the Kremlin, to rig the parliamentary election on December 2. Under orders from the Kremlin, banks have refused to accept donations from supporters for deposit in the accounts of opposition parties [iht.com]. Owners of assembly halls have canceled contracts allowing opposition politicians to stage rallies. The police have seized the newspapers of opposition parties in a draconian attempt to prevent them from spreading their message.

      In early November, the election-monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) declined to send election observers to Russia [timesonline.co.uk] to monitor the 2007 parliamentary election. This OSCE decision resulted from (1) the Kremlin's refusing to allow more than 70 OSCE observers to enter Russia and (2) the Kremlin's delaying the granting of visas to them. In 2003, the Kremlin had accepted 400 OSCE observers [iht.com], but after the OSCE condemned the 2003 election for being unfair, many folks in the Kremlin vowed to stymie OSCE's efforts in future elections.

      • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@freds[ ]e.org ['hom' in gap]> on Saturday November 24, 2007 @12:04PM (#21462871) Homepage
        What I don't get is why people still act as if Russia wasn't a dictatorship while it clearly is.

        It puts on a lazy show of elections like any dictatorship is expected to do, even goes as far as not having the party in power not win with 97% of votes but that doesn't change anything to the reality of what's going on there. Made up wars (although the "western" democracies seem to do that a lot lately), numerous murders, broadlight corruption at every level of the state...

        That the states play the "our good friend Putin" game because of the hydrocarbons flowing out of Russia is one thing, but that a lot of people still somewhat believe it's a "rough" democracy still baffles me (not that the parent poster sems to believe so).
        • by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @12:21PM (#21463007) Journal
          What I don't get is why people still act as if Russia wasn't a dictatorship while it clearly is.

          It doesn't matter. It never did. As long as they're not Communist, everything is hunky-dory.
          • by happyemoticon ( 543015 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @12:47PM (#21463251) Homepage

            Then why does America still have such close ties to China? Nixon and Kissinger really helped improve things, true; both America and China had bones against the USSR; and it's better to be at peace than at war (at least in my opinion, but why is there no strong ideological war being carried out? The real answer is that they're awesome trading partners, unlike the inefficient, walled-off USSR. I feel like I'm playing a shell game, and at some point, "democracy" was replaced with "capitalism". As was said before, now that they're pumping dinosaur juice out to the rest of the world and we can build a McDonalds in Red Square, we like Russia.

            I suppose this is a trite observation. Of course democracy has been usurped by capitalism. I just hadn't really thought about it in terms of foreign policy before.

            • Your new perspective warrants a review of US foreign policy since the end of WWII. Look at what the US has done in places like South America and Indochina for yourself. Without the cheery propaganda about democracy (which is often directly contradicted by the reality of what and whom the US supports) you may start to understand how so much of the world can see the US as the "bad guys".
        • Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

          by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <chris@travers.gmail@com> on Saturday November 24, 2007 @03:41PM (#21464627) Homepage Journal
          I would add that Iran is clearly far more democratic than Russia is today. Russia is more like Iraq under Saddam, where elections occur but nobody has any possibility of being elected except Putin. Despite meddling in the elections by the Council of Guardians, there are actual and real political dynamics which exist in Iran today. No such real dynamics occur under Russia today.

          The big difference is that, unlike Saddam, Putin actually does have weapons of mass destruction.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tftp ( 111690 )
            The big difference is that, unlike Saddam, Putin actually does have weapons of mass destruction.

            And another big difference is that not much you can do about this :-)

            But really all this naming game ("democracy", "dictatorship", "monarchy") starts getting silly. We now see, on US's own example, that democracy does not work (it's too easy to manipulate.) In Europe you can see that the democratic governments are pandering to the electors instead of doing the right things. So why all the surprises that for R

          • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

            by zzidre ( 1193699 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @06:19PM (#21465681)
            Don't get me wrong, but when a son takes the presidency after his father, only delayed by a man whose wife is likely to take it over after them all, it really looks like the difference is only that there are two elite groupings instead of one.
  • Don't Worry (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @10:45AM (#21462347) Homepage
    Don't worry. George Bush has looked at Putin's soul and pronounced it excellent.
    • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:04AM (#21462447)
      We can only assume he was comparing it to his own, in which case Putin's is excellent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 )
      Well, as Kasparov was born "Garri Weinstein" you might be correct. It might be that name the Russian's shun; history tells us so.
      • If not, you should realize that he was actually born [Cyrillic doesn't post on Slashdot, see Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] for actual spelling]. Garry Kasparov is an excellent phonetic representation of this.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Guess what?

          Followed your link, actually read further than the summary, and it turns out GP was right!

          From the Wikipedia page that you linked:

          Garry Kasparov was born Garri Weinstein [1] (Russian: ) in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR to an Armenian mother and a Jewish father. He first began the serious study of chess after he came across a chess problem set up by his parents and proposed a solution.[2] His father died when he was seven years old. At the age of twelve, he adopted his mother's Armenian surname, Kasparyan

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman ( 671371 )
      George Bush has looked at Putin's soul and pronounced it excellent.

      It's true, Bush did say something along those lines. To this day, that leaves me scratching my head till all my hair falls out. I've been keeping up with politics for a long time. But this...THIS leaves me confused! Seriously, WTF?

      To be rational about it however, I can only think of a few reasons why he would say this.

      1. He's trying to befriend Putin so he can get him to change his ways. You know the drill "Keep your friends close, keep y
  • In Soviet Russia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EaglemanBSA ( 950534 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @10:56AM (#21462405)
    In Soviet Russia, they sieze dissidents. What, you were expecting a joke? 'Cuz this isn't funny.
    • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:13AM (#21462505) Journal
      In Putin's Russia, they seize dissidents.
      In Soviet Russia, they shoot dissidents.
      Not quite there yet, guys.
      • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )
        In America, the government are dissidents, and they shoot *you!*
      • by Pecisk ( 688001 )
        They will get there, obviously. First they have to prepeare nation for it. Then they will label all who oppose terrorists (taking page from US book, what a irony) and they will be shot by gun squad without any court. Harsh times.
      • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:37AM (#21462647) Homepage Journal
        In Putin's London, you are served a cuP o [wikipedia.org]f tea.
      • Re:In Soviet Russia (Score:5, Informative)

        by M. Baranczak ( 726671 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @12:14PM (#21462955)

        In Putin's Russia, they seize dissidents.
        In Soviet Russia, they shoot dissidents.
        Not quite there yet, guys.
        Where have you been? Putin's been killing dissidents for a long time. Ever heard of Anna Politkovskaya?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Ever heard of Anna Politkovskaya?

          I hadn't, so I looked it up. The Wikipedia article is here [wikipedia.org]. It's an unfortunate story. It makes me recall an NPR segment where a reporter was mentioning that the journalistic freedoms and protections we have in the larger, more powerful countries don't exist in elsewhere. Because of this, journalists have a reasonable expectation of protection from harm, but elsewhere there is no real journalism because everyone gets killed. It's too bad Russia is going down that rou

          • Re:In Soviet Russia (Score:5, Informative)

            by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <chris@travers.gmail@com> on Saturday November 24, 2007 @03:54PM (#21464737) Homepage Journal
            And another dissident investigating her death is poisoned with Polonium...

            But Politkovskaya was no mere political dissident. She had been prevented from mediating an end to the standoff in Beslan but was poisoned on her way there. This lead her to accuse Putin of direct involvement in the school massacre. Soon after this, she is shot dead. Litvinenko, on investigating her death, is then poisoned with Polonium from a Russian nuclear reactor.

            Even if Politkovskaya's allegations of Putin's involvement in the Beslan massacre turn out to be inaccurate, the subsequent assassination of both her and Litvinenko can only be called state sponsor of terrorism.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Really? [washingtonpost.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blackest_k ( 761565 )
        then there is the polonium option for when in the uk. followed up by a run for political office.

        In putin's russia they deny shooting dissidents.

        To be fair though you can be accidently shot in the head five times in the UK If your french you can blow up boats in new zealand and if your mossad you can pretty much do as you please. Of course if your in bhopal then even corporations get to cause bloody mayhem.

        depressing isn't it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Poromenos1 ( 830658 )
      In Soviet Russia, jokes expect you!
    • In Soviet Russia, they sieze [sic] dissidents. What, you were expecting a joke? 'Cuz this isn't funny.
      It isn't funny.

      Quiz: True or False -- On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your middle name?
      Neither is this: Not a quiz: Yes or no -- Do you still beat your wife?
      In the USA we have the Filth amendment but the way things are going that may not last.
    • In Free West, dissidents seize YOU!!!
  • by gargletheape ( 894880 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @10:59AM (#21462425)
    Surely a story about the greatest chessplayer of all time, and a key campaigner for civil liberties in Soviet Russia counts as "news for nerds" without some Deep Blue window-dressing. Do we really need to fake-tag this story as being about supercomputers to get it here?
    • Yeah, after reading the summary, I was thining "Ok... the smallest sentence in the summary is about the article, and the longest one is about Deep Blue, which is COMPLETELY irrelevant right now.

      What, is it suddenly though thtat slashdotters have no clue who Kasparov is without referencing Deep Blue?

      Whup... better reference Linux somehow in this post... otherwise noone will have the slightest clue what the hell I'm talking about...
    • by Pecisk ( 688001 )
      Because there are actual people who would call it irrelevant. Usually there are the same people who try to edit ANY Wikipedia article who has at least a little criticism against Soviet Union or Russia to suit their needs.

      Yes, it is a little overboard, but better safe, than sorry. :)
    • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:34AM (#21462637) Homepage
      Adding that he's a "giant critic" of the Putin government is an improvement, but how about the fact that Kasparov is an actual candidate for president, hoping to be elected head of that government in March? This is akin to arresting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
      • by Elemenope ( 905108 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @12:04PM (#21462867)

        In 2004, the Libertarian and Green candidates for President of the United States were arrested for attempting to enter the building in which the presidential debates were being held.

        Yes, it is that serious, and, yes, it does happen here.

        • by turgid ( 580780 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @12:35PM (#21463127) Journal

          And here in good old Blighty, let us not forget the frail, old Holocaust survivor who got arrested under Anti-Terrorism laws for shouting, "Nonsense," at a Labour Party conference.

          Keep on rockin' in the Free World.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          They weren't invited. Candidates who haven't a snowball's chance in hell of winning are usually barred from major debates seeing as their inclusion would be a waste of time. The Peace and Freedom, Communist, and leading Nazi candidates wouldn't have been allowed in either. This is totally different from arresting them for just being opposition candidates.
      • Finish the analogy (Score:3, Interesting)

        by apankrat ( 314147 )
        > This is akin to arresting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

        This is also akin Hillary organizing illegal political rally against George Bush.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by timeOday ( 582209 )

      Surely a story about the greatest chessplayer of all time, and a key campaigner for civil liberties in Soviet Russia counts as "news for nerds" without some Deep Blue window-dressing.

      Actually I think being the last human to hold the absolute title of "chess champion" is pretty significant too. Not that they won't keep having contests to see who the currently best human is, but the fact that the very best chess players are computers has changed chess for me. Humans have never been the fastest runners on

  • "Stern but fair?" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by qw0ntum ( 831414 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:09AM (#21462477) Journal
    Who tagged this "Stern but fair"? Please explain how this is "fair" and not just more of Putin's power grab?
    • by Pecisk ( 688001 )
      Because there are people who actually love authoritarian power in Russia - and aboard. So it is no surprise that someone express such sentiment.

      I know, that's nuts. But people are brainwashed and don't believe in real democracy. It is more like wanting to be blind just because you can't handle real life. You want someone else (in this scenario Putin) to deal with all shit in your country.
    • Is this a "we're shipping you to a gulag in Syberia" arrest, or a "we arrested you as an unruly protestor, you'll be charged with a misdemeanor and released tomorrow" arrest? The latter is pretty common in most countries; many people including John Kerry and Al Sharpton have been arrested at protests.

      I don't want to be guilty of downplaying what Putin is doing. But on the other hand, we have to realize that a cold war is a two-sided thing; our suspicion and rush to judgement of everything they do could

  • Surprised? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pecisk ( 688001 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:10AM (#21462483)
    Russia never was a democracy, and never wanted to be. At least seems to me.

    Yeah, I know, it sucks, because no one wants another Cold War. But seemingly US and West pays now for their lack of involvement of helping Russia to scurb corruption, investigating old crimes and anything else.

    Now we all pay the price.
    • by yotto ( 590067 )
      But seemingly US and West pays now for their lack of involvement of helping Russia to scurb corruption, investigating old crimes and anything else.

      I know. If only Russia had been a small Middle Eastern country we'd have gone in and fixed up their entire government. Maybe next time we'll do the right thing, assuming we're all done with this terrorist thing.
  • by jacquesm ( 154384 ) <j&ww,com> on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:14AM (#21462509) Homepage
    If the transition had been a little milder than it was then the crime bosses in Russia would not have been able to grab as much as they did. The last thing the new 'vlasti' want is to have their playground taken away from them. This is going to be an extremely tense time for Russia.
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:31AM (#21462605) Homepage Journal
    stomach. He wouldn't have to worry about Putin arresting him at all. Kissing on the other hand.....
  • by Organic Brain Damage ( 863655 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @11:40AM (#21462673)
    ...he's not the same as the old boss. He IS the old boss.

    At least with Russia, the citizens can blame Putin for their woes. In the USA, we've got nobody to blame for Bush but ourselves.
  • It doesn't mention the fact that Kasparov is the main opposition candidate in the upcoming Russian presidential election.
  • Where other candidates barred from the parliament election Putin is running in?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Today's Washington Post has an interesting article [washingtonpost.com] which explains why the Russian people love Putin, or at least look the other way with respect to Putin's excesses.

    As Bill Clinton would say: "It's the economy, stupid". From the article:

    The lean, balding 35-year-old, who has spent his adult life working on the line at a glass factory in the suburbs of this city, now sits at a laden table with his wife and 13-year-old son. Behind him is a brand-new television beside a matching CD player, also new. His La

  • by moxley ( 895517 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @01:28PM (#21463621)
    Now that the US has become transparently hypocritical to it's own citizens and the rest of the world in regard to "democracy" and civil liberties, there is no country to serve as the example/beacon/leader of "democracy."

    Obviously it isn't quite that simple; I don't for a minute think that the current administration (or many before) even cares about the rights of it's own citizens tpo petition for redress, let alone the citizens of Russia - but now they can't even pretend to pressure these other countries to allow freedom of speech and respect the rights of the individual.

    Unfortunately it seems like things are trending toward the corporations and governments getting all of the rights, basically becoming untouchable - while the individual is is losing rights, control and even "having a say" by the day.
  • Thug-ocracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MajorBlunder ( 114448 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @01:47PM (#21463741)
    I spent a couple of years living in Russia back in the Yeltsin years of the mid 90's. Overall Russians are extremely friendly and hospitable, but they have a long sad history of instituting governments that are in effect a legitimized mafia. From the 10th through the 19th centuries the rule of the Tsars were essentially a gang of thugs with pretensions of royalty. The better part of the 20th century they switched to a government that was another gang of thugs with pretense of communism. And now they have switched to a new band of thugs with pretensions of democracy. (Actually this is still the same band of thugs as the communist ones, they just switched pretensions). It seems that Putin is slowly dropping any pretense of democracy.
  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @02:01PM (#21463833) Homepage
    When an AI can mimic *this* aspect of human intelligence and decide to risk a change from "well-off and greatly respected", to being shut in a concrete box, all for the greater good of its fellows, THEN I'll be impressed with AI.

    Until then, its just a glorified calculator brute-forcing its way through a mechanical computation, as impressive as a newspaper press making 500,000 copies of todays celebrity news faster than 50,000 human scribes.
  • I wonder (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @02:20PM (#21463981) Journal

    Why is there so little reporting on what this Kasparov actually stands for? Check wikipedia, about the only thing I can find is that he is far-left (communist?) and that the Other Russia party is a coalition of parties including communists and nationalists. Well, that is a load of my mind. That is Stalin and Hitler in one party, why choose when you can have two!

    It is kinda like the US people who keep saying vote Ron Paul, then you read up on the guy and learn that, yes there people who would make even worse presidents then Bush.

    Just what does Kasparov stand for, just because he is against Putin who clearly ain't all that nice does NOT make kasparov himself any better. The problem with the media is that they like the idea of heroes, Putin clearly no longer is one so they need someone else. The world doesn't work like that.

    No comments so far seem to explain anything about Kasparov except one commenter who points out that his dad was jewish. Oh well that eases my mind. I think another person rallying against a troubled goverment promising better things had a jewish father (step-father).

    Godwin or not, just what does the Unitied Civil Front (his real party, Other Russia is a coalition of multiple parties) stand for? I do not know and don't speak russian and the western media seems almost reluctant (or kasparov just ain't as intresting as britney spears) to report on it.

  • ObChess (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jay L ( 74152 ) <jay+slash&jay,fm> on Saturday November 24, 2007 @03:27PM (#21464509) Homepage
    We wish -- no, must -- make our disgust at this abuse perfectly clear.
  • by Daneurysm ( 732825 ) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @08:36PM (#21466533)
    ....In Soviet Russia Government protests you!

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"