Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov abandons Russia over opposition to Putin

By JC Reporter, February 28, 2014
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Gary Kasparov (Photo: AceKindred, Flickr)

Gary Kasparov (Photo: AceKindred, Flickr)

Jewish former world chess champion Garry Kasparov has been granted Croatian citizenship following mounting difficulties in pursuing pro-democracy work in his native Russia.

According to a report in the Guardian, Kasparov no longer felt able to live in his home country after being jailed and beaten by police.

The 50-year-old chess grandmaster is known for his outspoken criticism of the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

He applied for Croatian citizenship earlier this month "because of problems” he experienced in opposing the Russian government’s policies.

The founder and chairman of the pro-democracy United Civil Front, he was arrested and beaten by police in Moscow in 2012, and was jailed for five days after he led a demonstration against Mr Putin in 2007.

Mr Kasparov, a former chess world number one, owns a home in the Croatian town of Makarska and speaks the language. He is also a member of the chess club in the town of Vukovar.

Last year, the Latvian government announced it would not grant him citizenship owing to "procedural issues".

Last updated: 4:47pm, February 28 2014