Editor's Note: The following image and text is from The Institute of Modern Russia's photography exhibition "Russian Visionaries. Into the Light." The photograph is by Kirill Nikitenko. The text is by Garry Kasparov, the Russian political activist and former World Chess Champion.
Text by Garry Kasparov:
After these elections, even Russians who are far removed from the opposition wonder about their own future and that of their children. And the answers to their questions are heard in the form of the harshest accusations against the current regime.
The world is on the verge of great economic turmoil. It is clear that Putin's Russia is absolutely unprepared for the challenges of these times. By February 2013, I predict the global crisis will gain momentum at this time. Adjustments to oil prices are possible. Markets will fall. Most likely, the ruble will continue to lose value. In this case, I'm afraid that the analogy with Egypt might be too weak. There is no doubt that Putin would give orders to fire on his own people. He is ready to fight and spill blood because he has nowhere to go. The question is whether there are enough people willing to resist.
Therefore, the opposition should realize that parallel alternatives must be created. Today, there are several interesting projects related to the creation of alternative Internet spaces and online independent television outlets. We just have to distance ourselves from this government and build our own. We need to build links between the hundreds of thousands of people who are ready to do something, but who are still in a vacuum. They must be linked together via horizontal networks that will, in time, save the country from the inevitable collapse of the regime.
Russia should not perish along with the Putin regime, but unfortunately, the likelihood of such a catastrophic scenario increases every day. People who are active, hold a clearly defined position, and who are ready to act as free citizens could quickly create a qualitatively different situation in Russia. So the answer to the question of what happens during the regime's death throes depends on the willingness of many people to take part in these changes.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Garry Kasparov.