Reports | August 17, 2012 14:24

Kasparov arrested outside Pussy Riot trial courthouse (UPDATED)

Kasparov arrested outside Pussy Riot trial courthouse

Garry Kasparov was arrested and reportedly beaten by police today in Moscow outside the courthouse where the Pussy Riot trial is taking place. Dutch journalist Olaf Koens' photo of Kasparov in a police van is quickly spreading on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet.

Although protesters could be found outside the courthouse, Kasparov

wasn't protesting, just trying to get in!

according to Mig Greengard, a close friend of Kasparov, on Twitter.

On Kasparov's Facebook page the following statement was posted:

Garry Kasparov has just been arrested outside the Moscow courthouse where the Pussy Riot trial is taking place. He was not there to protest, simply to attend, and the police cornered him and dragged him into the police van. This photo shows the police assaulting him inside the van. We hope he is all right and we will provide updates when we have them.

The photo by Olaf Koens

Inside the courthouse, the three members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot were found guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for staging an anti-government protest concert in a church in February this year. At the moment of writing, the sentence isn't known yet. Prosecutors demanded a three-year prison sentence for insulting the religion and Putin and shouting "blasphemous" remarks inside the church. Putin himself said he hoped the women wouldn't be treated "too severely".

In April 2007 Kasparov was also briefly arrested by the Moscow police while heading for a demonstration. He was held for some 10 hours and then fined and released. In November of the same year, Kasparov and other protesters were detained at an Other Russia rally in Moscow. He was subsequently charged with resisting arrest and organising an unauthorized protest and given a jail sentence of five days.

Kasparov is chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, which issued a "legal report" yesterday with the conclusion that

the arrest, bail denial, and criminal trial against the three women violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Kasparov was quoted:

These young women have committed no crime. Their protest performance, while it understandably offended some at the church that day, constitutes political speech that should be unconditionally protected. Having them imprisoned without bail for over five months is unacceptable. Anything but acquittal tomorrow will be a disgrace and another slap in the face of civilized standards of justice. If they are not acquitted it will be more proof that so-called Russian democracy continues to erode under Putin. Without question, Pussy Riot will eventually obtain a favorable verdict at the European Court of Human Rights.

Update 14:43 CET: Another photo of Kasparov's arrest has appeared online:

Photo by Yuri Timofeyev

Update 14:46 CET: Mig Greengard just tweeted:

I just spoke to Kasparov at police station. Was beaten but is okay. Isn't sure what next step will be. Cops waiting for orders from above.

The official Kasparov Twitter account, which seems to be run by Greengard as well, added:

[Editor] Garry was talking with journalists when the police pushed in to drag him away. Not protesting. With Udaltsov at police station now.

Update 14:56 CET: 'Udaltsov' refers to political activist and Left Front coordinator Sergey Udaltsov. As Interfax reports, Uldaltsov also wanted to enter the court building and, like Kasparov, he was detained and put into a police bus.

Update 14:59 CET: In a comment below, Mig Greengard mentions that Kasparov

sounded pretty bruised on the phone, if that makes sense. Hoping for no serious injuries and for release

Update 15:17 CET: Kasparov was part of a group of a few hundred Pussy Riot supporters outside the Khamovnichesky District Court building, writes The Guardian.

There was a heavy police presence around the court building in central Moscow, where hundreds of protesters and band supporters were gathering.

The Moscow Times mention that Kasparov

bit a police officer, the head of the public chamber of the Moscow bailiffs service, Anton Tsvetkov, told Interfax. The policeman has gone to receive a medical examination, the news agency said.

Update 16:07 CET: More photos of Kasparov's arrest can be found here. For non-chess media obviously the big story is the Pussy Riot trial itself. The verdict was just announced by the judge: all three group members got two years' jail time, of which they have some 14 months left to serve.

Update 16:37 CET: From the police station, Kasparov said:

This is the Kremlin's reply to those who talked about Russia's liberalization under Putin.

Update 16:43 CET: Kasparov denies that he bit a policeman, but this part of the story might suggest that he'll face assault charges.

Update 17:52 CET: The BBC has video footage of Kasparov's arrest. While he was being dragged to a nearby police van, he demanded to know why he was being arrested.

Update, 19:51 CET: On the Kasparov Facebook page it was announced that Kasparov has been released:

Garry has been released, but the police are seriously pursuing this ridiculous charge that he bit a police officer. So he has more protocol to go through tonight with his attorney and must return to the police next week. Thank you everyone for your support.

And then there was the following tweet:

I am out of police custody, going to emergency room to check my injuries and to prove that I am not drunk or biting anyone!

Update August 18th, 10:05 CET: Kasparov spoke to Eli Lake of The Daily Beast and wrote about his arrest for the Wall Street Journal. Mig Greengard gave an interview for CNN.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Ruben's picture

I am not religions at all and I have nothing against nice ....( censuur ) dancing and yelling in a church with strange custumes. But I must say that if in Holland girl start to dance naked in a church that they also get arrested for disturbing the public order. Only they will not get 3 years but only a warning to behave. Maybe Kasparov can put on a wig the next time and a dress and some make up.

redivivo's picture

"I must say that if in Holland girl start to dance naked in a church that they also get arrested"

No one was dancing naked in a church.

Ruben's picture

No you are right not yet. But they had an sex orgie in public before. So this was not there first
" act ". Next will be the naked dancing in the church and if Russia will not tolerate this then of course they are a dictatorchip.

Ruben's picture

Is the word " poesje " so shocking? That is must be cencored?

chesshire cat's picture

Kasparov is in a cell in a country where bad, BAD things have happened to people in prison. He has done this in the cause of freedom. I respect this more than his entire chess career. May he come out of this unhurt, and may the girls be freed!

Anonymous's picture

Maybe Putin thought the group's name was Putin Riot instead of Pussy Riot...or maybe Putin is allergic to pussy. Putin obviously suffers from 'little man syndrome." He's probably small in a number of areas...

Henk de Jager's picture

@Ruben: Ik zou de fanatieke katholieken/maffiosi die mensen in stukjes willen snijden evenmin als beschaafd aanmerken. In Epe bellen ze gewoon de politie en die sust de boel of neemt proces verbaal op.

Ruben's picture

Dat denk je toch niet echt he? Ik zal zeggen wat er gebeurd. Je wordt gearresteerd en mee genomen naar het bureau gehandboeid. Daar wordt je de hele dag vast gehouden en verhoord.
Dan moet jij een verklaring afleggen als je naar huis wilt. Als je geluk heb dan ben je s avonds weer thuis. Het de verklaring plus eventuele aangiftes van mensen in de kerk of andere getuigen (van heilig schennis en het verstoren van de openbare orde en hun kerkdienst en uitoefening van hun geloofsbeleidenis ) worden naar de officier van justitie gestuurd. Daarna moet je voor komen voor de rechtbank. De officier zal een eis doen voor gevangenis straf van 2 jaar, jouw advokaat zal de straf naar beneden proberen te krijgen. Als je geluk hebt krijg je een geld boette of wel een voorwaardelijke straf van een maand of een taak straf uitgedeeld. In hele gereformeerde gemeentes zal de straf hoger uitvallen dan in andere.

Anonymous's picture
Frits Fritschy's picture

The same video can be found in the report ('update 17.52')

Mike's picture

What would happen if those innocent girls made their series of pacific presentations inside the temples of another religion? For example kasparov's one..? Maybe the behavior of Kaspi and the Police would change? If that Girls hate some Putin's dictatorial style, why to associate that with Christ?

redivivo's picture

Kasparov's religion? That should be himself or the Najdorf Variation, even if I've read an interview where he calls himself a Christian, without sounding very convincing.

Bartleby's picture

Because the Church (not Christ) has associated itself with Putin. Christ would have joined them. Was a bit of a punk himself, remember?
In another temple/country they would be thrown out, maybe fined for the trespassing. End of story.

PeterV's picture
aun1's picture

and people said fischer was crazy!

redivivo's picture

Fischer was crazy in the "admire-Hitler-and-deny-the-Holocaust-and-call-for-the-extermination-of-the-Jews"-way. Kasparov is crazy in the "beaten-up-by-the-police-for-standing-on-the-sidewalk"-way. A subtle difference there that can be hard to spot.

valg321's picture

am i allowed to disagree with you redivivo? or will you then call me crazy in the "disagreer-with-redivivo"-way?

redivivo's picture

To call someone insane for disagreeing with someone on a message board would be just as illogical as to call someone crazy for being arrested for doing nothing. Fischer is something else, as he said himself in an interview he was hoping for something like that

"the country will be taken over by the military, all the civil guards, to close down all the synagogues, arrest all the Jews, execute hundreds of thousand of Jewish ringleaders"

etc. GM Olafsson recently wrote a book that is quite sympathetic to Fischer, and still it describes a guy that walks around the rooms speaking loudly to himself in the style of the above quote and worse. So I don't see the recent incident as reason to declare Kasparov "more crazy" than Fischer.

Anonymous's picture

Fischer was crazy and couldn't help himself, Kasparov is just evil.

valg321's picture

i haven't read all posts, but so far i haven't read anyone else calling Kasparov crazy except you. And i think you should really refrain yourself from recent Fischer books and movies. They all seem to start sympathetically and steadily change towards the end. The recent documentary "Bobby Fischer against the world" which has been playing all over US, also starts also very sympathetically and finishes off with a nasty backstab.

redivivo's picture

I read that the sentence stated that all the accused suffer from mental disorders, but that they aren't severe enough to declare them insane. :-)

Lee's picture

That pic by Yuri Timofeyev looks photo shopped.

Lee's picture

That's not to say it's fake. Just that it seems odd. Kasparov looks like he's too short.

Anonymous's picture

He looks short because he was lowering his center of gravity making and straining against the police. Eventually the police just picked him up and carried him into the police van. It's all in the BBC video.

noyb's picture

Come to think of it, Kasparov was attacked by Putin with a flying penis, and now he's arrested at a Pussy Riot trial. Gotta be a good joke there somewhere...

point5's picture

In Soviet Russia King castles you.

Casaubon's picture

I'm sorry, I don't understand your post. Could you explain?

Adolfo's picture

A simple question: Why did the police arrest Garry?
For those talking about Germany, or the Netherlands (or even those who mentioned South American countries where I am from): is that something that could possibly occur there, particularly in front of the media and for no reason.
There is a saying that countries have the government that they deserve: I believe we can call an exception for Russian society.

Frits Fritschy's picture

The police arrested Kasparov because Russia is an autocratic state with only limited liberties, I think we can agree on that. It would - nowadays - never happen in most of the countries you mention.
But on the Pussy Riot case, you can't ignore that Germany (and Austria, by the way, and I wouldn'be surprised to hear of more 'liberal' countries) have similar laws. You don't support them by leaving out relevant facts.

Schrödinger's cat's picture

Why is everyone saying that Kasparov was arrested for no reason at all. If you watch the video he can be CLEARLY seen biting the hell out of a police officer who was only saved by the intervention of his fellow officers! ;-)

S3's picture

I hope they roughed him up a bit.

What's Next?'s picture

Peace and Love.

Adolfo's picture

I only limited my comment to the Kasparov incidental issue on occasion of the big “Pussy riot” case, not judging the law, the justice and implementation of it for the concrete case.
Now, on the case itself. First of all the fact: this is the “crime” the punk group committed (source: videos quoted on ) and .

I don’t know about the Russian´s text law, but according to the media it contemplates up to seven years in prison; while the prosecutors urged for 3.
I got acquainted with the German law because of the quotes here; and after some research, I found that in some Spanish speaking countries (such as Spain and Uruguay), similar types of crimes are considered (some even almost exactly as in the German law), with punishments varying from a fine to some 3 years in prison.
I personally believe that the standard of the German law (from a fine to 3 years in prison) is about reasonable; that scale is made because of the potential magnitude of the damage that a subject can cause, both at the material and/or personal level, and at the symbolic one as well (which I believe to be what this case is all about)

The punk group apologized for the offense caused to the religious faith, and the underlined that they only used the church (even if not trough correct mediums) because they were also stressing the (apparent) public support of leader Kiril I to Putin. That was about it.
Now, how would every of us put the case in the legal scale or range, considering the offense or damage they caused, in a scale from a fine (community service or sth), to facing actual time in prison, which by the way, in more than a few countries you don’t actually have to spend it provided that is your 1st time and the damage and offense are minor (say below 2 or 3 years in prison). Forget about Russia, where they don’t mind showing to the whole world what they do with dissidents and opposition in general.

How would you act as a judge, in a politically and institutionally civilized country, such as (in my view) the Netherlands or some Nordic country, for such offense or crime?
Come on!

Frits Fritschy's picture

Adolfo, I agree with you the sentence was harsh. But don't be too optimistic about 'enlightened' countries.
On May 4th, in The Netherlands we commemorate the deaths of the second World War with two minutes of silence. Two years ago, as usual, many people attended this on a Amsterdam square, including the royal family (who had witnessed an attack on them a year before, killing several people).
On this occasion, a mentally disturbed person shouted (that's all he did, he just made noise). Panick followed, and later the man was arrested. He was sentenced to 16 months (8 to be served) imprisonment.

Ruben's picture

Yes this is true, but if you commit something agianst the queen the penalties are much higher then normal. For trowing for example a lightner to the queens "koets" ( carriths? ) you go more then a year in prisson for sure. It would not surpise me if on the Christian belt on the " hoge veluwe " or " zeeland or beemster " you will go in prisson for something the Riot Poesjes did as well.

stevie's picture

the comments here are like reading the comments on a yahoo news article. i guess whatever brings the people back to the website though...

Speakingtruthtopower's picture

I speculate Kaspy probably crossed the cordoned area where people are not allowed without the proper credentials. If you watch the footage of his arrest you can see it was a quite a civilized one. Kaspy and some of the policemen seem to be smiling! The sentence applied to the Pussy Riot girls is of course disproportional to their disrespectful performance at a church. One year of community services would be enough. Kaspy is a publicity seeker, his only intention with this is to make more money with the Kasparov brand (selling books, delivering speeches, simuls etc). No real interest in promoting the public good. He was a great chess player but what a jerk as a public figure. Putin must go but Kaspy is not the solution.

Anonymous's picture

I agree with you completely. Kasparov was even gently 'resisting' as he and the arresting officers smiled. His camp immediately claimed that he was "beaten up" but I'll be waiting to hear about the evidence of that - it certainly wasn't in the video.

Anonymous's picture


A highly agitated Kasparov tried to escape from the police van! He said they were trying to break his leg inside the van.

Septimus's picture

What is Kasparov saying? The police actually seem to be a bit restrained in that video. They dragged him back inside but I did not see them beat the crap out of anybody.

RealityCheck's picture

Posted earlier: Kasparov is no Lech Walesa, Martin Luther King Jr. or, Rodney King for that matter. Dirty Garry's no martyr.

Mig shd tell Garry to call Rodney n ask him what a real "beating" feels like. The Russian Securty Force acted like Pussy Cats (see BBC video) compared to the LAPD. Kasparov's no victim of "police brutality" here.

Anonymous's picture

When he was initially arrested (shown on the BBC video) he seemed somewhat amused. However something seemed to happen inside that police van that made him all of a sudden want to get out of there in a state of extreme excitement (shown at 1:39 of the second video). According to him he was mistreated IN the van. He claims the other prisoners are witnesses but of course it is their word against that of the police. He is smart enough to realize the danger of being a pain in the @ss to Putin; so I assume he knows what he is doing.

valg321's picture

i dont think you can put Lech Walesa in the same category with MLK and Rodney King. Sorry for off topic

RealityCheck's picture

No prob. @valg321

Here's the connection as I saw it at the keyboard. MLK and Lech Walesa are both well known and respected (symbols of) Human Rights Activists. Understand me, where I'm coming from? It is Garry that is not in that class (category if I may) although his biggest mouth piece, Mig, try to sell us the impression Garry is a serious freedom fighter, a sincere human rights activist. We shd know better.

As regards Rodney King, he won his case against the Los Angeles Police Department. He was badly beaten by five or six Pigs. The incident also was captured on video. A clear case of "Police Brutality'.

After the shock verdict [Not Guilty] was read outside the court house, there was protest. A real riot. Burning. Looting. Shooting. LA was in flames.

In a way, Kasparov implies he's a victim of "Police Brutality" but the video we've been shown so far tells a different story. Garry has no case.

Why was Garry brusquely rushed off the set? He was removed because he is a known trouble maker. By the way, where were his body guards? Where did his wife disappear to?

jussu's picture

"Why was Garry brusquely rushed off the set? He was removed because he is a known trouble maker."

This is just wrong - all he does in those meetings is speaking his mind.

"By the way, where were his body guards?"

Good question. Maybe he considered it possible that he would be assaulted by the police, and in such case, bodyguards would either have to watch in vain, or to go for open confrontation with police, which would be an extremely stupid thing to do and would possibly cause fatalities.


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