The Other Russia presents an interview with United Civic Front chairman Garry Kasparov after his meeting with US president Barack Obama. Kasparov was one of a group of Russian opposition figures to meet with Obama Tuesday afternoon in Moscow.
Q: You said at the press conference after the meeting with President Obama that his speech today was “less than what we wanted but more than what we expected.” What did you mean?
Garry Kasparov: Ideally he would have named names. He made some strong statements about democracy being the solution and the failure of totalitarianism, far stronger than anything we heard from the last two administrations. But he avoided directly criticizing Putin and Medvedev, the core of our dictatorial system. Nor did Obama mention Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose jailing by Putin and continued imprisonment by Medvedev symbolizes everything Obama was criticizing about authoritarian states.
But he was strong and gave a consistent message. He repeatedly emphasized that the important relationship between America and Russia is about the people, not their regimes. That got a very positive reception here. Obama opened direct lines of communication instead of dealing only with official Kremlin channels.
Read the rest of the interview: