Russian President Vladimir Putin has long been accused of ruling that country with an iron fist. And the recent sentencing of the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot provided the perfect stage on which to see Putin’s methods writ large.
The band had been charged with “hooliganism” for opposing Putin and asking the Virgin Mary to remove him from the Kremlin. At the sentencing, Moscow police allegedly took one of the band’s supporters outside and roughed him up to teach him a lesson. The supporter was chess champ Garry Kasparov, and he was allegedly dragged outside to a van by police officers, where he alleges he was then beaten. Kasparov claims the officers nearly broke his leg.
Kasparov reports police held him for five hours before taking him for medical treatment. And he is now trying to pull together videos taken of the event to bolster his allegations. As of right now, he says the only witnesses to the beatings were the other opposition members who had been arrested and were sitting in the very van in which he was allegedly assaulted.
Added Kasparov: “We’ve been saying Putin is a dictator for years who doesn’t care about the law. Today, he proved it.”