Mugabe, who had two days earlier claimed victory in his country’s violence- and fraud-ridden presidential elections, has fallen from hero to pariah among the chattering classes of Europe and the United States.
However, Gary Kasparov, former world chess champion and leader of the Other Russia coalition, noted recently that the same Mugabe critics hypocritically ignore similar abuses by Russia’s Putin and Medvedev. “Despite broad acknowledgement that our March presidential elections were neither free nor fair,” wrote Kasparov in a July 10 op-ed for the Financial Times, “Terry Davis, the Council of Europe secretary-general, recently expressed his admiration for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Medvedev.... Such behavior helps legitimize fraudulent elections and the dictatorial regime that runs them.”
Kasparov also pointed to a recent opinion article in which “Henry Kissinger asked that the US ‘give Russia some space.’” “Space to create a new class of political prisoners, to loot the country, to bully our neighbours?” asked Kasparov. “Is that what brought down the Berlin Wall and ended the cold war? Is it only my dictionary that fails to distinguish between ‘appeasement’ and Mr. Kissinger’s use of the word ‘engagement’?”