Sochi is to Putin what Berlin in 1936 was to Hitler, says Garry Kasparov

Russia’s former chess champion says Winter Olympics 2014 are all about Vladimir Putin’s cult of personality – ‘a one-man circus’

Boris Reitschuster in Berlin
The Guardian, Friday 7 February 2014 11.48 EST

The former world chess champion and Russian opposition figure Garry Kasparov has launched a scathing attack on the Sochi Winter Olympics, comparing the event to Berlin’s 1936 Summer Games in how it revolves entirely around the personality of one man.

Kasparov, a bitter rival of Vladimir Putin who has been detained during opposition rallies in Moscow, said the two-week event was all about Putin’s personal glory in the same way that the Berlin Olympics exalted Adolf Hitler.

“Anyone who thinks that is an exaggeration is forgetting a very important factor. Hitler in 1936 was seen as a thoroughly respectable and legitimate politician,” Kasparov said in an interview.

“Moscow (1980) and Beijing (2008) were games that authoritarian systems established to generate propaganda for their country and for themselves, the ruling party,” he added. “Sochi, as Berlin, stands under a different sign: these are games which revolve entirely around a single man. In Berlin, it was Hitler. In Sochi, it was Putin. It’s about a personality cult.

Full article here.

Last week, chess champion Gary Kasparov became perhaps the highest-profile person to compare the current Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, under Vladimir Putin, to Berlin’s 1936 Summer Games, in Adolf Hitler’s Germany. “Anyone who thinks that is an exaggeration is forgetting a very important factor. Hitler in 1936 was seen as a thoroughly respectable and legitimate politician,” Kasparov said.

An example of Godwin’s Law? Probably, but there are some comparable points, such as a powerful individual leader presiding over an international event on which he spent unprecedented amounts of money while conditions inside his country became more oppressive. But it reminded us that the winter games of that year were also held in Germany, in the Bavarian town of Garmish-Partenkirchen, and they look pretty shocking today.

More here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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