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.


Sergio's picture

Chessdom with another photo and developing story almost live They have also statement from Kasparov's group

Peter Doggers's picture

Several updates posted here as well. ;-)

David Kaufmann's picture

Several updates but ChessVibes has been one of the firsts. And not only this. You have added a lot of quality comments and you give acces to people to a place where they can be daily informed. This is why I consider CV the best chess website in the world!


Picard47's picture


Picard47's picture
Mig Greengard's picture

Hello all. Yes, I'm updating Garry's Twitter and Facebook right now as news comes in. Thanks for keeping up to date. He sounded pretty bruised on the phone, if that makes sense. Hoping for no serious injuries and for release. Garry wasn't protesting; he was just talking with journalists. The police clearly picked him out of the crowd, as they often do with opposition figures.

RealityCheck's picture

Amazing. Really amazing. Is this guy really that desparate for attention?
Rumour: the Russian Security Forces had mistaken Garry for a "John" looking for some Pussy. Riot. He was promptly ramboed off to the county jail.

PeterV's picture

@RealityCheck: Your remark is disgusting

RealityCheck's picture
RealityCheck's picture

Kasparov is no Lech Walesa, Martin Luther King 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.

RealityCheck's picture

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.

S3's picture

That's your opinion PeterV, but not a fact. A fact is that Kasparov does anything for attention.

Anthony Migchels's picture

disgusting? Reality check knows what Kasparov is all about: destabilizing Russia in the name of his Globalist CFR Banker friends in New York.

Time to wake up and smell the coffee.

valg321's picture

even if what you say is true i'm sure there are more subtle ways this can be achieved...great blog btw

valg321's picture

my previous reply was directed to Anthony Migchels

Vhomas Topalov's picture

quite incredible,
is Kasparov enemy of the state or something like that?
the reading of the sentence "live"

noyb's picture

Praying for his safe release!

monte44's picture


monte44's picture

Someone should arrest Putin at last.

chesshire cat's picture

I have disagreed with much of what Kasparov did in the past. But here, I salute him. This kind of thing takes real guts.

redivivo's picture

Well, at least it has been showed for all to see that Kasparov was right about Russia being a fascist dictatorship under Putin. Seeing those three girls in handcuffs being sentenced to two years in prison for singing in a church is just one more proof of that.

Goendi's picture

It's a bit more complicated then that actually. Orthodox religion is fairly strict, and how religion is approached in Orthodox country's is also totally different from how religion is approached in many western European regions. For many western people it will be very hard to understand how strict orthodox people feel about this protest.

redivivo's picture

"For many western people it will be very hard to understand how strict orthodox people feel about this protest"

I guess strict orthodox people might be unhappy that they only got two years in prison.

Anonymous's picture

When the police in Spain bit the S... Out of KIDS because they were peacefully manifesting i didnt see any reaction from the press nor from anybody in europe...etc etc etc

Ruben's picture

I think if you bite the Guardia civil they will first beat the hell out of you and only after this they will arrest you.

Anonymous's picture

But of course Spain is a democraty, russia a dictature

redivivo's picture

Your point being that it is wrong by a chess site to report about Kasparov being beaten up because someone else was beaten up in Spain at some occasion?

Anthony Migchels's picture

The point being that all the western hypocricy is just smelling like horse manure. It's quite clear that Soros' colour revolutions all around the world and latently also in Russia serve an imperialist agenda.

Unless, of course, you actually believe the 'free west' freakshow.

S3's picture

You are clearly some left wing nut, which is a pitty for you are right about this being some overblown non issue. I only feel sorry for the girls but they too could easily have prevented all this.

MJul's picture

Do you truly believe that democracy exists?

Russia have Putin's dictature, and Spain (like most countries in the world) are under banks/IMF/WB's dictature.

damian's picture

you are right !!

S3's picture

Of course he isn't. In most Western countries, including Spain, democracy works fairly well. However, as you guys prove time and again, the people are stupid. Resulting in stupid governments, stupid regulations and some bankers getting chances to misbehave. It's not perfect but it beats the Russian system. But on the bright side, in Russia the people at least have someone else to blame for their hardship.

RuralRob's picture

Frankly I'm amazed that Kaspy is still alive, and not standing on the bottom of a remote river with cement overshoes.

Anonymous's picture

What us did to fisher was a bit wilder than that ... But no no no ! US is freedom of speech

monte44's picture

Why they talk only about how atheists are hurting feelings of believers? What about church hurting feelings of atheists every day?

redivivo's picture

If I was religious I would feel more hurt by guys like that patriarch they have in Russia than I would be any atheist. Not just because he tells people to vote for Putin but for stuff like this:

redivivo's picture

That story with the watch is just hilarious. The Great Leader says that it is a lie that he ever had a 30 000 dollar watch, understanding that people might be offended that the church leaders are so filthy rich that they can wear 30 000 dollar watches while they preach something entirely different.

The photo on the web site of the Orthodox church had a photo of him with the watch, so it was quickly erased from his arm on the site, a la Stalin vs Trotsky. However, the photoshopping was so badly done that the reflection of the watch on the table was still seen, so the Great Leader had to admit that he had been lying about not having such a watch. And it is guys like this that talk about how their sensitive moral values are being harmed when someone with actual moral values say something.

monte44's picture

What is even more hilarious is that this ''spiritual gigant'' patriarch Kirill is former KGB captain and old buddy of Putin from that times...

Frits Fritschy's picture

I am quite ready to believe Mr. Kirill is not a very nice man, but allegations like these should be backed up with reliable sources. Without it, you are just shooting holes in the air.

redivivo's picture

What sources are not reliable? The incident is well known and has been admitted by various leading persons in the Orthodox church, there are hundreds of articles about the case, here's a short one in English:

Frits Fritschy's picture

What sources are unreliable? Well, giving no sources at all doesn't make a comment very reliable.
I was writing about the allegations that Kirill was a Putin buddy and KGB captain. The only connection I find on the link you provided: "Many in the Orthodox hierarchy are accused of working as former KGB agents or as informers. The previous Patriarch, Alexei II, was a former agent codenamed Drozdov, according to Soviet archives opened to experts in the 1990s" No mention of Kirill.

redivivo's picture

You don't get that job without that background :-)

"Kirill (Vladimir Gundyaev by passport), a billionaire and a former KGB operative, made his fortune in tobacco, alcohol, and oil sales"

Frits Fritschy's picture

That's better, thanks for the trouble.

valg321's picture

yeah, nothing like having reliable sources to bring about change

monte44's picture

To be fair i'm not sure if he was really captain (sorry Kirill). But to those who are acquainted with Russian (Soviet) region politics is commonly known that you can't get that job not being former KGB operative. And no, i have no reliable source because access to Soviet archives is somewhat hard to get.

Anthony Migchels's picture

not by singing stupid christian songs in atheist churches, anyway........

Picard47's picture

Is there any Facebook page for support to the Great Garry Kasparov?

sirschratz's picture



People who think differently are being destroyed.

But who cares?

We are going to have tournaments in Russia as if nothing had happened just like we are having tournaments in China where next door to the tournament hall people get killed in public places for speaking their mind.

Stop complaining about Putin's dictatorship as long as you are supporting it by going to and closely following tournaments in his dictatorship.

Anthony Migchels's picture

everybody knows russia is no picnick. But the western hypocrisy in the face of the imperialist agenda in the Middle east, the banker dictatorship that is being erected in the west, the horrible decadence and degeneration is just disgusting.

Goendi's picture

So, you're in fact dictating us to not speak? How are you now any different? :)


Latest articles