Kasparov joins exodus from Russia

AFP-JIJI

Former chess champion and anti-Kremlin activist Garry Kasparov has said he is staying out of Russia over fears he could be put on trial, becoming the latest Russian intellectual to leave the homeland amid a crackdown on the opposition.

Kasparov said in Switzerland he will not be returning to Moscow for the moment because he could be investigated for his role in protests against President Vladimir Putin over the last few months.

His comments came after prominent liberal economist Sergei Guriyev stepped down from a number of posts and abruptly left Russia for France last month, fearing he could be arrested after being interrogated by investigators.

The departure of the economist raised concerns about a new exodus of the intellectual elite from Putin’s Russia similar to the brain drain endured by the Soviet Union, which lost some of its brightest minds.