Russian chess grand master Garry Kasparov has blasted the Sochi Olympics as a propaganda show for Vladimir Putin as the games get underway in Sochi. The man believed by some to be the best chess player in history dubs the Winter Olympics a “one-man circus” and compares Sochi 2014 to Berlin 1936.
“Anyone who thinks that is an exaggeration is forgetting a very important factor,” Kasparov maintained in an interview. “Hitler in 1936 was seen as a thoroughly respectable and legitimate politician.”
“Moscow (1980) and Beijing (2008) were games that authoritarian systems established to generate propaganda for their country and for themselves, the ruling party,” he further explained. “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.”
The national hero has been a vocal opponent of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. He has run for political office on several occasions and has been detained for his anti-Putin activism. Former KGB general Oleg Kalugin speculated in 2007 that Putin might have Kasparov killed at some point because of his outspokenness.