Putin protege Medvedev reaches out to any new US leader not senile or stuck in the past
The Associated Press
Published: February 26, 2008

MOSCOW: The man all but certain to become Russia’s next president reached out — sort of — to Washington on Tuesday, saying he was willing to work with any future American president who isn’t stuck in the past and doesn’t have “semi-senile views.”

Opposition leader and chess champion Garry Kasparov, however, urged Western nations to snub President Vladimir Putin’s hand-picked successor, and called for a boycott of Sunday’s election and protests the following day.

A leading Russian human rights advocate and watchdog Amnesty International joined in the criticism of a presidential campaign that has been heavily tilted in Dmitry Medvedev’s favor.

…At a news conference Tuesday, Kasparov accused Western leaders of giving Putin undeserved legitimacy by welcoming him into the Group of Eight industrialized nations — and cautioned the West against inviting Medvedev to the G8 summit in Japan this year.

“If they invite Medvedev,” he said, “that will mean effectively the recognition of this criminal election process.” He said Western leaders must decide whether to accept what he called Russia’s “quasi-monarchy.”

Kasparov predicted that Medvedev could try to reach out to the West early in his presidency — but that such a gesture would lead to a fissure within the Kremlin between liberal-leaning forces and hard-liners and end in a political meltdown.

He and colleagues have decided to boycott the vote. “Not going to the polls is what gives the ruling powers the most discomfort,” he said.

Kasparov’s political movement plans protests on Monday in St. Petersburg and Moscow, despite a ban by Moscow authorities. Police have violently broken up such demonstrations in the past, and he predicted more riot police than demonstrators.

Here is the full article.

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