The stunning story of Russia's slide back into a dictatorship-and how the West is now paying the price for allowing it to happen.
The ascension of Vladimir Putin-a former lieutenant colonel of the KGB-to the presidency of Russia in 1999 was a strong signal that the country was headed away from democracy. Yet in the intervening years-as America and the world's other leading powers have continued to appease him-Putin has grown not only into a dictator but an internationalthreat. With his vast resources and nuclear arsenal, Putin is at the center of a worldwide assault on political liberty and the modern world order.
For Garry Kasparov, none of this is news. He has been a vocal critic of Putin for over a decade, even leading the pro-democracy opposition to him in the farcical 2008 presidential election. Yet years of seeing his Cassandra-like prophecies about Putin's intentions fulfilled have left Kasparov with a darker truth: Putin's Russia, like ISIS or Al Qaeda, defines itself in opposition to the free countries of the world.
As Putin has grown ever more powerful, the threat he poses has grown from local to regional and finally to global. In this urgent book, Kasparov shows that the collapse of the Soviet Union was not an endpoint-only a change of seasons, as the Cold War melted into a new spring. But now, after years of complacency and poor judgment, winter is once again upon us.
Argued with the force of Kasparov's world-class intelligence, conviction, and hopes for his home country, Winter Is Coming reveals Putin for what he is: an existential danger hiding in plain sight.
This unpersuasive political screed from Kasparov, world chess champion from 1985 to 2005 and now a human rights activist, lays part of the blame for Vladimir Putin's repressive Russian dictatorship at the feet of the U.S. and other world powers. After admitting that "Putin is no Hitler," the author repeatedly compares the two. In his eyes, Putin sought "adulation and validation" at the Sochi Olympic Games just as Hitler did at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Kasparov also accuses the United States of "cowardice" for allowing Putin to annex the Crimea in 2014, tantamount to Neville Chamberlain's "eager capitulation" to the Nazi annexation of the Sudentenland in Czechoslovakia in 1938. The author's apocalyptic warnings about the dangers posed to the international community by Putin may find sympathetic ears at international human rights conferences, but he is unlikely to convince many Americans that they have a "moral responsibility" to provide military aid to Ukraine and return to Cold War "principles and policies." Even Kasparov admits that "in the end, Putin is a Russian problem... and Russians must deal with how to remove him."