Kremlin foe Garry Kasparov says President Vladimir Putin is resorting to "external aggression" and increased confrontation with the West to bolster his image as Russia's leader and maintain a "dictatorship" in the country.
Talking to RFE/RL's Russian Service correspondent Mikhail Sokolov on the sidelines of a forum in Vilnius organized by the Open Russia online opposition group on October 15, the former world chess champion and Russian opposition figure said Putin had managed to impose "one-man rule" backed by a "fascist ideology" that helped destroy perceived enemies within the country.
But with economic conditions worsening, Kasparov said, the Kremlin had been forced to point out "enemies" outside Russia.
Russian authorities have intensified their crackdown on independent media, civil society, and the political opposition since Putin began his third term as president in 2012.
Kasparov fled to the United States after he was detained by Russian police at a 2012 rally in support of the punk art collective Pussy Riot, three of whose female members were on trial for an anti-Kremlin disturbance at the time.
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