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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kasparov Says Bush Is in Denial

Despite U.S. President George W. Bush's criticism of the Kremlin this week, opposition leader Garry Kasparov said Thursday that Bush was in "a state of denial" about Russia's problems.

Bush said Tuesday in Prague that under President Vladimir Putin "reforms that were once promised to empower citizens have been derailed, with troubling implications for democratic development." The statement was especially striking because it came a day before Bush and Putin met at the Group of Eight summit in Germany.

Kasparov, who met with Bush in Prague, said the statement "was stronger than anything he had said before about Putin." But he took Bush to task for his response the next day about whether he agreed with Kasparov's contention that Russia has become a police state.

"Bush was in a state of denial, and he repeated the same stories about [Russia's] growing middle class and prosperity and elections," Kasparov said.

He called on Bush and other G8 leaders to openly confront Putin at the summit.

"We want these leaders to state the obvious: Russia and Putin don't belong in the G8 because it's not a democracy and it's not an industrial power," he said.

Kasparov made the comments before two planned Dissenters' Marches -- in St. Petersburg on Saturday and in Moscow on Monday. They are to be the latest in the series of marches that The Other Russia opposition coalition -- co-led by Kasparov -- has tried to conduct around the country.

Monday's march in Moscow has not been authorized by city officials, but the St. Petersburg march has official permission.

That sanction raised speculation that officials, under wide foreign criticism for suppression of previous marches, were pursuing the strategy of allowing marches to show that the number of participants is relatively small.

Kasparov disputed the idea, saying the opposition movement may be numerically small but, "I think the government and Putin's regime evaluates it properly by bringing troops. Any disaster for a dictatorship starts with a symbolic movement."