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A Phone Call with Garry Kasparov and Karinna Moskalenko

I just finished a late night phone call with Garry Kasparov and Karinna Moskalenko in Moscow, and have a some comments from them I can share. After surviving a long ordeal in the courthouse, Kasparov told me tonight that “Russian justice hit a new low today. The authorities have violated the spirit of every law.” Tonight Garry was convicted of a minor infraction by the testimony of an officer who could not substantiate the venue of the arrest, the time of the arrest, or the circumstances of the arrest. Both Garry and Karinna empathized with the young judge placed in this awkward situation without warning, and Karinna said it reminded her of the unlucky young judges we had during the Khodorkovsky trial, who were so clearly intimidated by the pressures being put upon them by the authorities. During the hearings today, Moskalenko was not allowed to put on her witnesses, and her request to recuse the judge was rejected. Kasparov was found guilty and subjected to a 1,000 ruble fine, but the key point for Garry is that now he will not able to go to St. Petersburg for the demonstrations planned for tomorrow. Kasparov told me that he believes that the length of today’s process was artificially drawn out to make sure that he could not get to St. Petersburg. Karinna said that a Duma member who attended the demonstration witnessed grave acts of violence committed against peaceful demonstrators, and they are reaching out to him and others to come forward to denounce the crimes.