Seldom do I read articles on Russia where I agree with every word. Yet only distaste for plagiarism prevents me from claiming the authorship of the piece written by Garry Kasparov, former world champion and one of the best players ever to push wood around a chess board.
Here it is:
The Putin regime will find the cost of aggression unacceptable if the West takes the following steps:
1) Every country that condemns the aggression must recall its ambassadors. Isolation must be demonstrable.
2) Complete expulsion of Russia from all financial markets, including SWIFT and all credit institutions. The regime must be bankrupted.
3) Complete and unconditional ban on Russian propaganda media around the world.
4) All citizens of countries of the free world must be immediately required to quit, on pain of prosecution, any Putin concerns with which they are associated. Russia’s actions in the Ukraine must be classified as war crimes, and those who remain employed by Gazprom or Rosneft treated as accomplices to war criminals.
5) Complete expulsion of Putin’s officials from all international organisations, including Interpol.
6) Immediate impounding of all Russian assets scattered around the world, and we are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. This money must be frozen. I even believe it could be confiscated – the West has enough laws against money laundering. These people, and their companies, supported Putin and created his war machine. Freezing as a minimum, confiscation ideally. Immediate expulsion of all Russians who have golden visas, starting with the families of those guilty of war crimes. Let them spend holidays in their own Sochi or Krasnodar.
7) Immediate and complete expulsion of Russia from the energy markets. That will cost the West quite a bit, but this is the price that has to be paid for all the years of placating Putin’s regime. It is essential that steps be taken to provide Europe with energy in case of an oil and gas embargo on Russia.
8) Only immediate and resolute measures can now stop the dictator running amok with a nuclear bomb. Any delay will mean that the same problems will have to be solved when Putin’s aggression spreads to Nato countries.
Well put, I could have said all that myself. In fact, I have said it all myself, many times, over many years. The trouble is that no one listens to me – and I’m afraid no one will listen to Mr Kasparov, for all his name recognition.
It’s that second sentence in Point 8, the one about the West having to bear the cost of confronting Putin’s kleptofascist regime. Heaven forbid our standard of living will drop even one per cent as a result. And if it’s more than one per cent – well, Putin can have the whole of Eastern Europe, Nato or no Nato, see if we care. And even if Finland or Germany catches his fancy, we won’t raise a finger if that puts an extra quid on a pound of silverside.
My only question is about Point 4. Does it cover only Russian-owned media or also Western journalists disgorging pro-Putin propaganda in Western papers? Such as… well, you know.
P.S. According to newspaper reports, French presidential candidates Le Pen, Zemmour and Mélenchon have “climbed down from supporting Moscow”. They haven’t. All three quislings have expressed perfunctory regrets about Putin’s aggression against the Ukraine, while reiterating the Kremlin’s mendacious propaganda line about it all being Nato’s fault. That’s what I’d call praising with faint damning.