Reports | August 24, 2012 19:54

Kasparov not guilty of "illegal protest" during Pussy Riot trial

Kasparov giving a statement to the press after the acquittal

On Friday a Moscow court acquitted Gary Kasparov of participating in an "unlawful protest" last week outside the Pussy Riot trial. The court didn't trust evidence brought by the Moscow police, and decided to declare the ex-World Champion not guilty. Kasparov might still be charged with "biting a police officer".

Kasparov giving a statement to the press after the acquittal today in Moscow

As was announced Thursday night on his Facebook page, Kasparov had to be at the courthouse at 11:30 AM on Friday. He was being charged of "unlawful protest", for which there's a maximum fine of 300,000 rubles (about 7,500 Euro) for individuals since a new law approved early June raised fines 150-fold.

Reports falsified

Kasparov and his lawyer came well prepared, as can be seen at the website of The Other Russia. There it is claimed that the police report had been falsified. Under Russian law, someone can only be detained for three hours before being presented with charges. 

While numerous time-stamped photographs and videos show his arrest taking place at 3:15 pm, the police report puts it at after 4:30 pm – a blatant lie.

On the left is Kasparov's statement, dictated to an officer, which has “15:15” as the arrest time (highlighted by us).
The statement by the police captain has "16:30" instead (again highlighted by us). Photos courtesy of The Other Russia 

According to Kasparov the police needed to fabricate their report to stay within the three hour “arrest-to-testimony” window. Besides, the report also said that Kasparov was yelling slogans such as “Russia without Putin” and that they warned him to stop before he was arrested, but as the YouTube videos showed, he was calmly giving an interview instead.

Verdict: not guilty

After a long day, at 20:45 Moscow time (18:45 CET) the case finally came to a verdict. Before giving the verdict, the judge read out testimonies of witnesses which stated that Kasparov was indeed carried away at an earlier time. She pointed out that the police report was inaccurate and therefore acquitted Kasparov. Applause in the courtroom followed.

The acquittal might actually have been the first not guilty verdict in this type of case, but more surprising was the way it was supported by the judge. Kasparov himself called it "a historical judgement for Russia", talking to the press outside the courtroom. He added that he is going to press charges against the police for illegal arrest, false testimony and slander.

Biting a police officer

Today's verdict was about unlawful protest, but Kasparov still hasn't been officially charged for biting a police officer. This is a much more serious crime as for using violence against a state official one can be sentenced up to five years in prison. The Moscow police department has handed the inquiry to the Federal Investigative Committee.

On Wednesday new "evidence" appeared which makes it even more likely that the police's accusation of Kasparov biting one of their officers is based on a lie. A Russian website published a chronological sequence of photographs showing that the police officer, Lieutenant Ratnikov, already had a small cut on his left hand before he started beating Kasparov.

On the same day Kasparov received support from none other than Soviet-born Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google. On his Google+ page Brin posted a link to Kasparov's op-ed in The Moscow Times, which we mentioned earlier, and commented:

If you haven't followed the Pussy Riot "trial" in Russia, I recommend you read Garry Kasparov's eye opening account of the state of freedom of expression under Putin.

Many celebrities have already spoken out about the Pussy Riot trial and one of them is Stephen Fry. On Tuesday he used wit to support politics in the finest British style:

The part of this report about today's court verdict is largely based on the many tweets by @Ilya Mouzykantskii, a New York Times summer contributing reporter and Stanford student who was at the court today.

Update 23:29: Here's the video of Kasparov's statement after leaving the courthouse and a translation provided by The Other Russia:

I have a strange sensation, it’s hard to even find words for it, because my lawyers, friends and I didn’t expect anything besides another typical guilty verdict, and when, over the course of so many years, all opposition activists have been inevitably convicted in courts like this, it’s hard to imagine that the day would come when the courts could provide us with legitimate consideration. Actually, today was very unusual, because from the very beginning, as opposed to many other previous similar cases, the judge agreed to allow motions by the defense. Moreover, all of the defense’s motions were accepted, including those that called witnesses to the stand and those that entered video and photographic material as evidence. Of course, this was a very, let’s say, unusual sign, but we didn’t understand that it would influence the final verdict so much.

I would like to express my particular gratitude to the journalists who managed to collect so many materials, especially photo and video ones, which were used in the case today and which absolutely had an influence both on the judge and, perhaps, on the people who have influence on the judge. All the same, it was just too obvious. I’d like to thank the journalists who came and appeared as witnesses here today, because it was clear that these people, who were completely different and of completely different nationalities, all said the exact same thing. It seems to me that this left an impression, and it also became obvious that, as opposed to many similar situations, there was no actual case of any sort of event occurring. And the extremely confused testimonies of the two police officers who detained me, which contradicted each other, they of course convinced the judge that their version of events held no credibility.

The result was a full acquittal, and this is a very important step forward. I don’t intend to stop here; I want to have charges brought against the officers who illegally detained me. We’ve already filed the necessary paperwork with the investigative branch for the Khamovniki region. And I hope that this verdict will give us additional evidence so that that my detention and beating will be given due consideration by investigators.

As far as the next case is concerned, the one by Officer Ratnikov about this absurd attack – again, I hope that this today’s session will allow us to draw upon video and photo materials. We have very unique materials, basically an entire archive that allows us to give practically a second-by-second account of everything that happened outside of the Khamovnichesky Court. Again, my thanks to the journalists who managed to film all of this, to dig it all up from their electronic devices and even now continue to come forward with different photos and video clips. And I hope that the investigators will act just as objectively as this judge did today, and that I’ll be so lucky as to have Officer Ratnikov be convicted of libel.

It’s hard for me to say what sort of consequences today’s verdict is going to have for the Russian opposition on the whole. I even feel slightly guilty, because until now all of these verdicts have been guilty ones, and so many of my friends are still experiencing this pressure. We know that the widespread investigation of the May 6th events on Bolotnaya Square is still ongoing. But nevertheless, this is a very important step forward, and I’m going to do everything in my power to help those who need defense in these matters, because not everyone is so lucky to have their detentions and the police violence they experienced be covered so fully by the press.


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.


RuralRob's picture

The acquitting judge is going to be at the bottom of a remote Siberian lake soon.

Animal's picture

The worst type of dictatorship is the "loose" one, where they let things flow as normal at times but could get Kasparov locked up if they really wanted. If he were found guilty it would make a lot of people really angry, him being found innocent weakens resolve. I don't really think the US or any country is much different to be honest.

Bartleby's picture

I like the three hours limit. Seems like they have way to go to become a proper police state.

Anonymous's picture

Kasparov keeps asking his U.S. supporters to pressure their members of congress to put pressure on 'Putin and his cronies'. However
in the U.S. (which has the highest incarceration rate on Earth), a suspect can be held indefinitely without facing charges. Of course this state of affairs gives them the moral legitimacy to always lecture every other nation about human rights.

"The land of the free!"

California residents could only WISH for their police to be as gentle as those in Russia: (They eventually gave the cop 2 years in prison to stop people from rioting.)

Anthony Migchels's picture

indefinitely? It thought it was 30 days. Bad enough already, of course. Imagine that: these thugs can just pick you up and hold you.

But of course America is widely hated because it is free, so they have to sacrifice some liberty to maintain this freedom. Lol! It's amazing how many chessplayers fall for this nonsense.

Anonymous's picture

Yes, INDEFINITELY. Americans are being carted away without due process:

dev anand's picture

just because some countries have had failings in their due process systems on some occasions does not make the entire system faulty. It also does not justify what happened to Kasparov.

Anonymous's picture

"The land of the free!"
Land of the free guns for everybody too! lol
I definitely wouldn't like to work as a cop in a country (even proud of) selling lethal weapons to just about anybody who walks in the arms shop .... that has to make a huge difference of course for a climate of aggression and for the devastating results of violence. But hey, oth they still have the death penalty then for those poor guys who went a liitle too far with their nice brandnew "toys". Horrible scenario.

Anonymous's picture

Plenty of weapons in Switzerland and Israel too. Weapons aren't the problem - Americans are.

valg321's picture

in Switzerland you can keep your firearm after you've served military service. I think that's actually what the law dictates

Anonymous's picture

Which is worth reconsidering as well. Having served in the military might perhaps provide some experience and, as a result, hopefully more responsibility. At least in those countries they don't sell them to just anybody there who simply WANTS one. In the U.S. however, you can even get guns in pink, especially designed for the safety-conscious modernlady. Hilarious, isn't it?

Anonymous's picture

Although I admit that a pink gun is silly I doubt that there is much gun violence perpetrated by high-fashion ladies!

Anonymous's picture

Even if that might be true, sadly you missed the point. You have two more tries.

Anonymous's picture

You didn't make a point so there was nothing to miss. Your rant against guns is ill-advised.
Please educate yourself.

Anonymous's picture

Guns in the hands of civilians is what got them their independence from Great Britain. Maybe that is why they put it in their constitution?

Anonymous's picture

Probably yes. Just like those reactionary "tea party" supporters obviously considering themselves still at war, not even knowing what they're fighting against. Alright, they hate taxes because they (probably rightly so) feel incapable of deciding what tax money should be spent on. The majority of Americans should teach them democratic participation, peaceful understanding and common sense. And take abolish firearms since those toys can be dangerous in the hands of angry people.

Anonymous's picture

Abolish the constitution of the United States?
No thanks. Also there is no appetite to amend it.
So your statement makes as much sense as saying "abolish crime". IMO Neither is going to happen so we have to hope to teach armed Americans to be more like the armed Swiss.

Anonymous's picture

Better try this time, but still not quite to the point. Try again please.

Anonymous's picture

re: "And take abolish firearms since those toys can be dangerous in the hands of angry people."

And take abolish knives since those toys
can be dangerous in the hands of angry people.

And take abolish swords since those toys
can be dangerous in the hands of angry people.

And take abolish baseball bats since those toys
can be dangerous in the hands of angry people.

And take abolish fertilizer and diesel fuel since those toys can be dangerous in the hands of angry people.

And take abolish religion since those toys
can be dangerous in the hands of angry people.

Anonymous's picture

You wouldn't have to be so angry if you finally understood that firearms in the hands of civilians cause the absurd and and totally senseless death of many thousands of innocent american citizens every year. Even if you like guns you should be capable of understanding that this catastrophe does in no way compare to a baseball bat. I'm sure you can do it.

Anonymous's picture

And I'm sure that you can see that guns "in no way compare" to bombs made from fertilizer and diesel fuel with regards to destructive capability.
You conveniently ignored that to focus on baseball bats - which was listed as something "dangerous", no one was comparing their destructive potential with that of firearms.

With regard to overall numbers, gun deaths don't compare to automobile accidents. Both are tools that a sane man might choose to have handy and that many sane people have used responsibly.

Either way guns are in America to stay as per the constitution and the lack of will of Americans to amend it. What is fruitful would be to come up with ideas for transforming people's consciousness so that they can be more responsible with their firearms. Throwing around insinuations about the intelligence of people you don't know detracts from any points you try to make.

Anonymous's picture

So, if the self-declared custodians of democracy in the world fail to protect their own citizens from possibly being killed deliberately by any mad neighbor, and, in order to achieve that also fail to overcome some (influential?!) of arms industry lobby in their own country, they should at least provide access to affordable health care for mentally disordered people seeking help in acute stressful mood. Which might in fact limit the increasing number of similar tragedies happening due to an utterly outdated amendment (1791) in their own constitution.

Because of the 9/11 terrorist attack 11 years ago around 3,000 people died, whereas ever since 140,000 Americans were killed and a whopping 2 million got injured because of their fellow countrymen's right to keep and bear arms. Similarly, in the U.S. more civilians get killed by 'private' firearms then all american soldiers in combat missions combined.

Anonymous's picture

Freedom is dangerous.

Anonymous's picture

Freedom as in not being sure who will kill you?

Anonymous's picture

Sorry dude, I completely forgot to congratulate you for understanding the recent post. Small things can be so meaningful.I never doubted your intelligence, but now you even fully convinced me of your advanced understanding. Well done!

Anthony Migchels's picture

well, the americans are quite right to hanging on their guns: it's the last thing that is protecting them against these ghouls from Washington.

S3's picture

Ok let's change the subject to the US. In the USA (which has a large afro american population) only TERRORIST suspects can be held indefenitely and this (new) law is still hotly debated. I don't mind the law but chances are it won't stand long.

As for the large incarceration rate, not all people can handle that much of freedom. Freedom doesn't mean that crime should go unpunished (and that's why Pussy Riot should do time)

The USA is still one of the best countries in the world to live in and some youtube video of a freak accident (the guy was resisting police after a crime btw)
won't change that.
The countries who "get lectured " just have it coming.

redivivo's picture

"Freedom doesn't mean that crime should go unpunished (and that's why Pussy Riot should do time)"

That depends on how serious the crime is, and there are many alternatives between two years in prison and going unpunished.

S3's picture

Obviously. But that's something for the Russians to decide. And just like Kasparov they brought the trouble upon themselves.

Anonymous's picture

Holding a SUSPECT "indefinitely' means that the executive branch takes the place of a jury of peers.

And no, you can't see the evidence against them because it is "classified". If you think this is a good thing then it is because neither you nor a loved one have been falsely accused and held under this law. Innocent people have been held and tortured.

Of course this is all proscribed by the U.S. constitution but why let that get in the way? If you don't mind this then you don't mind living in a police state. The U.S. simply changes its strongman every 4 - 8 years.

re: "As for the large incarceration rate, not all people can handle that much of freedom."

Really? So if that is the reason why the U.S. has a higher incarceration rate than Burma, Russia or China then Americans can't handle their freedom as much as those countries.

re: "The USA is still one of the best countries in the world to live in and some youtube video of a freak accident (the guy was resisting police after a crime btw) won't change that."

Really? You have evidence that the man in the video committed a crime? And if he did, what level of crime was it? Perhaps jumping the gate of the metro? Whatever he did he was a suspect and under U.S. law is supposed to enjoy the presumption of innocence until tried by a jury of his peers.

As to his "resisting police" are you seriously trying to compare this level of resistance:

(shown at around 1:39 of this video):

to THIS?:

S3's picture

"Really? You have evidence that the man in the video committed a crime?"

I might give you some evidence after you prove "Innocent people have been held and tortured."

Long live the USA!

Anonymous's picture

I can prove it easily. Per the U.S. constitution suspects are entitled to a presumption of innocence until found guilty by a jury of their peers. Per the Geneva Convention water-boarding is torture. Therefore if the U.S. has water-boarded anyone not convicted of a crime then they have "held and tortured innocent people".

S3's picture

Proof would be an actual example backed up by evidence, not some theoretical exercition.
But anyone who has seen "24" knows that you have to break the rules sometimes. Especially those silly rules from Geneva. It doesn't mean that people in the US have no freedom.

Anonymous's picture

You have freedom until you are accused.

Anonymous's picture

If this boy gets tortured it will be "classified":

"The land of the free!"

S3's picture

That boy made a bomb threat and had a silly hair cut. So he got arrested but there is no proof at all of torture by his captors.

Anonymous's picture

He was ALLEGED to have made a bomb threat. His guilt or lack thereof is something to be decided in court - with lawyers present. Only fascists think otherwise.

Ruben's picture

Thats clearly not to compare. In the first you see very friendly arrestment against some resistence from pussy riot and Kasparov. In the second you see one officer is holding an unarmed man thats does nothing and lies helpless on the ground wile the second is shooting him in the back, so this happends in the land of the free, ok it is just how you conciders free then.

Anonymous's picture

Well but maybe he was mouthing off at the cop. The U.S. knows how to keep Black people in check.

noyb's picture

Glad to learn of Garry Kimovich's acquittal!

Septimus's picture

None of that matters. Unless our lord and savior Jesus "S3" Christ deems otherwise, Kasparov is guilty.

MW's picture

Why bother bringing up S3 when he hasn't even commented on this one? Does his (warped) worldview not conforming with yours hold such importance to you that you have to raise his specter when he's not even here?

S3's picture

Hello guys. I'll tell you what's going on. This news shows that the Russian system isn't as bad as people seem to think. Kasparov's arrest was unnecessary and the court has done a good job.

Of course Kasparov "the hero" knew he would not be jailed for just showing up. However, during his theatrics he bit an officer in the heat of the moment and for that he should, and still might do time.
Right now I am building a face book page in support of the Russian officer asking for a severe punishment of Kasparov. I'll post the link when it's finished!

redivivo's picture

"during his theatrics he bit an officer"

I don't think that has been proved yet.

Anonymous's picture

You have no evidence that anyone was bitten. You are obviously a hideous troll that should be ignored.

S3's picture

" You are obviously a hideous troll that should be ignored."

So what does that make you?

Shadan's picture

Imagine there is no USA on the world map,now is Russia a free and democrat country?

Greco's picture

Ok, now imagine there is no Russia on the world map.....

Anonymous's picture

My answer still is No, not only if you compare it to Norway, for instance.

Ruben's picture


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