Starr Forum: The Trump-Putin Phenomenon

Starr Forum: The Trump-Putin Phenomenon


ELIZABETH WOODS: I am
professor of Russian history. I teach Russian
history courses, and I direct Russian Studies Program
in the MIT-Russia Program. My co-organizer
is Carol Saivetz, who is a senior research
associate at the Security Studies Program. And the real maker and
shaker for this program is Michelle English,
formerly Michelle Nhuch who got this all organized
for the Starr Forum. So welcome to the
Trump-Putin Phenomenon with our amazing speakers,
Julia Ioffe and Garry Kasparov. I’m going to make a couple
of very quick announcements before we turn to
our speakers, which is the most important thing. We’ve got a couple
of interesting events coming up in CIS that were
up on the screen before. We have a sign up sheet outside. If you want more
Russia related events, or more international
studies events, do sign up for
our mailing lists. Center for International
Studies, the Security Studies Program, and the MIT-Russia
Program are co-organizing this, and all three have very
interesting speaker series. Quick announcement,
on September 28, Irina Prokhorova,
the editor in chief of the new literary observer,
and a renowned cultural historian will be speaking
on Russian society at the turning point, new
strategies in the struggle for democratic values. That talk will be at 5:00 p.m. on September 28th in E40, 496. On October 25,
Vladimir Kara-Murza, a very famous Russian dissident,
an opposition politician, who has been much suffering
under the Russian regime, will be showing his film,
Nemtsov, about Boris Nemtsov, who was not opposition
politician initially, but eventually ended up being,
of course, very critical of the regime. And who was murdered by
whoever he was murdered by. That has not been solved. On October 25, we’ll
show the film of Nemtsov and Dr. Kara-Murza will be here
to answer questions himself. Another exciting event. And on November
13, Mikhail Zygar, who is a very
well-known journalist, the founder of the
independent TV station Dozhd. We’ll talk about his
new book The Empire Must Die, which is about the
pre-revolutionary period. But I am certain he will talk
about the current Russian events as well. So look forward to those events. We will have each of the
speakers speak for 20 minutes, then we will have mics. We really insist that
you keep your questions as questions, not comments. This is a wonderful audience. It’s a big audience. Keep them to questions, OK? Let me say quick words. Julia Ioffe was born
in Russia but raised in the United States. She’s covered national security
and foreign policy issues for the Atlantic, The New
Republic, The New Yorker, Foreign Policy, Columbia
Journalism Review, Politico, Washington Post, and
actually many others. She was a history major– how many history
majors do we have– at Princeton. And she’s been
fearlessly taking on and analyzing a wide range of
complicated and controversial issues. Garry Kasparov almost needs
no introduction, Russian chess grandmaster, former
world chess champion, chairman of the Human
Rights Foundation, writer, political activist. He’s been involved
in political parties, including founding
several of them, Democratic Party of Russia in
1990, Russia’s Choice in 1993, and in 2005, after he retired
from chess, the United Civil Front, he’s been
very involved in, working to preserve electoral
democracy in Russia. In 2006, he and others, formed
together to create a coalition called Other Russia, Drugaya
Rossiya, another opposition coalition. And in 2008, he
successfully tried to run for President of Russia,
but of course, his candidacy was sidelined. His books, Winter Is
Coming, and Deep Thinking, he will sign, and will
be sold at the event, outside after this event. So, without further ado, let
me turn it over to Julie Ioffe, and let’s give
them a big welcome. [APPLAUSE] [INTERPOSING VOICES] JULIA IOFFE: I’ll go stand. I’ll awkwardly like
slide my chair around. All right. Thank you all for coming out. Thank you for having me. It’s weird to be the first
speaker, because I’m going to give you a slightly more– probably an argument that
you’re not used to hearing. The American press, maybe not
as much the American public, has been consumed with
Russiagate, questions of collusion between
the Russian government and the Trump administration,
Russian cyber attacks, et cetera. And it’s reached
such a fever pitch that I want to just cut
through the noise a little bit, and talk to you about what
actually happened, and didn’t happen, and how we
should look at this. So let’s start with the report
that came out on January 6, 2017 when the Office of
the Director of National Intelligence
released a document– it was a declassified report– two weeks before Trump
took the oath of office, and the conclusions that were
pulled from the CIA, the NSA, the FBI were stunning. I quote, “We assess that
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an
influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US
Presidential Election. Russia’s goals were to
undermine public faith in the US democratic process,
denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability,
and potential presidency. We further assess that Putin
and the Russian government developed a clear preference
for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in
these judgments,” end quote. In case it’s not clear, this
is an extraordinary series of statements. First of all, they’re
saying that a foreign power, a longtime adversary, Russia,
interfered in our elections, and not just that, they did
so with the goal of helping one candidate over the other. And what’s also
remarkable about this is that the often fractious,
territorial tribes inside the
intelligence community were unanimous in
these conclusions, and reached them
with high confidence. And when the report
came out it confirmed what a lot of us
journalists and a lot people in the
Democratic Party had been suspecting, and
sometimes screaming about for at least six months. All those Twitter bots, and
false news reports floating around Facebook, the hack of the
Democratic National Committee in the spring of 2016,
WikiLeaks’ perfectly timed email dumps,
now it was clear that it was all part of a
coordinated covert influence operation run by America’s
greatest adversary, Vladimir Putin. They were not wrong. The Russian government
did do all those things. But the DNI report raised as
many questions as it answered. How did the Russians
get so good so fast? Did they have help from people
inside the Trump campaign, or in the Republican Party? Were the Russian
actions actually enough to change the outcome
of the 2016 election? Did they in fact
elect our president? And how did the intelligence
agencies know what they know? And so the great
Washington scandal machine cranked up in earnest. Committees, hearings,
special prosecutors, leaks, searing hot breaking news, and
an endless parade of talking heads on our television screens
opining about Trump, and Putin, and Hillary Clinton, and a cast
of obscure Russian characters. If you’re having a hard time
keeping up, or seeing straight you’re not alone. In fact, I am too. In fact, I wonder
often if this is what 2002 felt like
when Washington was abuzz with news
about Saddam Hussein, and weapons of mass
destruction, and Iraq, and potential invasion. Because after a decade and
a half of studying Russia, after a decade of living
there and going back there for reporting
trips, the narrative that I’m seeing in
the American media just does not square
with what I know, and it does not square
with my instincts. The narrative we are
now presented with goes something like this. Vladimir Putin, a
cunning villain, and strategic mastermind, driven
by a personal hatred of Hillary Clinton, decided to
defeat her in the 2016 presidential election,
and to elect his friend and vassal, Donald J Trump. [LAUGHTER] Trump that is his vassal,
because Putin has kompromat on Trump– this is a trendy
new word now, kompromat– and you know, anything from
girls in a Moscow hotel room, business loans,
some kind of tape. So the narrative
goes, Trump owes Putin big, which is why he’s
so damn nice to Putin. Can’t say that word about him. Praises him whenever
he gets the chance. And what about all
those Slavic wives he’s collected over the years? Coincidence? I don’t– Anyway, so Putin, who is
detail-oriented, and excels at complex long term
strategic planning, lined all this up, and
maybe even convinced Trump to run against that
old horrible hag. Then Putin, in
close coordination with Trump, his campaign
manager, Paul Manafort, son-in-law, Jared Kushner,
and his son, Donald Trump Jr., carefully orchestrated
a well-organized, and finely tuned disinformation,
and cyber warfare campaign to elect Trump so that
he could lift sanctions. It’s a very simplistic,
black and white narrative, and it just does
not square with what I know of Russia, or
with my reporting. So if you’ve noticed,
most of this narrative is driven by journalists
and pundits, present company excluded, who have little
knowledge of Russia, and how it works. As a result, the
picture we get is garbled by misinterpretation. For example, earlier this
week, Axios, a Washington media company, put out a report that
a Russian political figure, and pro-Putin hock, Vyacheslav
Nikonov, went on TV, and admitted that Russia
elected Trump, which is how historically covert
influence campaigns are revealed on TV. Then there was the
matter a couple of weeks ago, when the New York Times
and the Washington Post broke a series of stories saying
that Donald Trump and his men on the ground in
Moscow, including his personal lawyer
and Michael Cohen, were negotiating a
real estate deal, or trying to negotiate a
real estate deal in Moscow in the fall of 2015. And Michael Cohen wasn’t
getting anywhere– the Trump Organization wasn’t
getting anywhere– so what he did was he e-mailed Dmitry
Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, and asked for help on
this real estate deal. And people in Washington
went absolutely insane. And they said, this is the
most high level contact between the Trump
Organization and the Kremlin. This is proof positive. We just blew the roof
off the White House. To any of us who have been
in Moscow, this is absurd. This would be like emailing
Sarah Huckabee Sanders when you’re trying to get to Ivanka. Moreover, Michael Cohen
e-mailed Peskov at, essentially, [email protected] He found the email
on the website. Characterizing him as
Putin’s right-hand man, as some kind of high
level contact, it’s just– it’s madness. Anyway. Much of the story is also
not coming out of Moscow, if you notice, that
ship does not leak. And foreign correspondents
there are sick and tired of the story, would rather
get onto what they think are more interesting things. So everything’s
coming from here. The leaks from the various
congressional committees, from certain family members’
lawyers, from our security services, and there’s
nothing to balance out the picture from
the Russian side. So today I want to adjust
the narrative a little bit, and ditch the black
and white color scheme, and get into the shades
of gray a little bit. I’m not going to make that joke. So, let’s start with what
Putin wanted to accomplish. Personally, I think that
he wanted to bloody Hillary Clinton’s nose. So, Putin is a former KGB guy,
and like all former KGB guys, and current FSB guys, they
are all conspiracy theorists par excellence. They really believed that the
establishment had it tied up– sewn up for Hillary
Clinton, that her victory was guaranteed, much like his
victory is guaranteed at home. And so, he was just going to
bloody her nose a little bit. He did not expect
Donald Trump to win. And it certainly made
America look foolish. It made the democracy
look less than democratic, especially when you get the
leaks of the DNC e-mails about Bernie Sanders, et cetera. And in part, that’s for
domestic consumption, because ever since
the end of the Cold– or the end of the
Cold War of the 90s, when people in the Soviet
Union and in the Soviet orbit, in Eastern Europe,
were looking West, they wanted to be like the West. They wanted jeans. They wanted cars. They wanted McDonald’s. They wanted Michael Jackson. And they wanted democracy,
but it turned out democracy was really hard. If you make it look impossible,
unattainable, dirty, that it’s not really democratic. That there’s
corruption everywhere. And if everybody’s the same,
and everyone’s equally bad, then why don’t you play
for your own team? Don’t look toward the West. Look toward the Kremlin. Let’s talk about what
Russia actually did. They conducted a
successful wide ranging multi-pronged covert
influence campaign that included
disinformation, cyber attacks, and well-timed leaks. But what’s important to
remember, and everybody who saw the intelligence in
real time and afterwards, will tell you that this was
a campaign that was highly opportunistic and improvised. It was, as one former
Obama advisor told me, throwing spaghetti at the wall. They improvised as
they went along. They didn’t have this all
written out ahead of time. And that gets to
this idea that Putin is as grandmaster of
strategy, that he’s in any way a strategic thinker. Putin knows where
he wants to go. He has the 30,000 foot
idea, which is basically make Russia great again, and– [LAUGHTER] Make America respect
Russia, which he usually does by just demanding
that we respect Russia. And then he has the first
couple of steps planned out. Everything in between,
kind of figures it out as he goes along. That makes him really good
at outmaneuvering the US. It makes him really deft,
and the flexibility gives him power, but it also
means that he’s not very good at
anticipating the consequences of those steps, and blowback. So, for example, as I
told you, the Russians believed that Clinton
would get elected. And even then it’s,
OK you bloodied Hillary Clinton’s nose. You believe she’s going
to become president. You didn’t hide your
tracks very well. And you kind of didn’t hide
your tracks on purpose. You wanted the Americans
to know that you were able to do this, right? What the hell do
you think is going to happen when Hillary
Clinton becomes president? There’s going to be
hell to pay, right? OK, they lucked out. She didn’t become president. Russians were super happy. They’re popping champagne
all over Moscow. They’re having inauguration
watching parties right by the Kremlin. But then Trump can’t
lift sanctions. He can’t give you back
your spying compounds. He can’t restore
your diplomatic staff that Obama cut and took
away in December 2016. And now the narrative in
Russia is, his hands are tied. His hands are tied
by this vehemently anti-Russian foreign
policy national security establishment. The Russians right now are
really unhappy with how this turned out. Just when you think
about– when you hear people talking
about how amazing Putin is at just
planning everything. They’re so pissed right now. [LAUGHTER] Trump as a Manchurian
Candidate– I– this makes me crazy. Putin did not create Trump. We all know this. Trump was created by America. Trump is a very
American phenomenon. And the ideology
that he presented to the American people in
2016, one of isolationism, xenophobia, racism,
capitalism on steroids, it was not this
kind of populism. It’s as American as apple pie. He was tapping into
political traditions that are at least 100 years old. And as one former
NSA director told me, “Covert actions don’t create
divisions on the ground. Covert actions exploit them.” Which is what happened here. Just try to think
of when you look at this whole crazy
political conflagration that 2016 created, think
of Russia as the bellows, rather than the logs,
or the fire itself. They’re the ones
fanning the flames. I think what also bothers
me about this narrative is it obscures our role in 2016. The Russians actually
did not vote. 60 some million people cast
their ballots for Donald Trump, despite a dozen women accusing
him of sexual assault, despite the racist,
misogynistic, Islamophobic, xenophobic comments he made,
despite his racist white supremacist followers, and
his failure to denounce them, despite being the progenitor
of the birther controversy, despite his constant
lying including about his success in business,
despite not releasing his tax returns– I’m not going to take up
20 minutes with this– but the Russians
didn’t create that. And the Russians
didn’t make millions of Americans, tens of millions
of Americans say, yeah well, he’s still better than
her, despite all of that. And one thing the Russians
certainly did not create is the racist backlash to
the first African-American president. They didn’t create
the ginned up Benghazi scandal, or 30 years of negative
coverage of Hillary Clinton. They didn’t make Hillary Clinton
have that stupid email server. They didn’t make
Comey open his mouth. They didn’t create any of this. And by focusing on
Russia exclusively as an answer to what
happened in 2016, we are not looking
in the mirror, and asking how we’re responsible
for this, because mostly we’re responsible for this. And we’re also not talking about
a system like the Electoral College, where
70,000 votes are more important than 3 million
votes, and that actually makes us very vulnerable. It makes the system much
easier to manipulate. If you can keep 300 people
home in one part of Wisconsin, it doesn’t matter– right– how many people come
out and vote in the cities. That makes it, again,
much more vulnerable. I also think that the way
the media is reporting this is extremely harmful. Every new development
is reported like it just blew the case wide
open, and Trump is going to be gone
in a matter of days, it’s not going to happen. We’re stuck with this guy
for the next 3 and 1/2 years, and we have to deal with it. When we report on this so
hysterically, people burn out. They stop paying attention. I mean, I can’t really
read the news anymore, and if I can’t and
I work in the news, I can’t imagine how
all of you guys feel. And also it provides the Trump
administration cover for– like a noisy cover for
doing some really harmful long lasting things,
dismantling the EPA, packing the courts with
radical, but very young judges, who will be with
us for decades to come, rolling back regulations,
changing DOJ sentencing guidelines, et
cetera, et cetera. The other thing is,
watch out for speculation in the press on Russiagate. There is a lot we
don’t know, and there’s a lot of facts we don’t have. There’s a lot of theories. There’s a lot of
speculation, but there is a lot of things we don’t know. Here’s some questions
I’m personally asking, and trying to dig into. Was Trump a laundromat for
dirty Russian money in New York? If so, how did that work? How much money went
through his buildings? And are there corruption
charges to be made? How did the Russian government,
which used to barely understand the American
political system, gets so good at micro-targeting? How did they know what to do
with the trove of information they found when they stumbled
into the DCCC servers? This is the Democratic
Committee to elect Democrats to the House of Representatives. How did they know which
purple districts in Florida, for example, to target
and to keep Democrats from flipping them to blue? Did they have help from the
Trump campaign, somebody in the Republican Party, like
a local political operative, or did they just
do their homework? Did Trump obstruct
the investigation? And the most important
question, is did the Russians do such a good job
that they changed the outcome of the election? That question ultimately
is impossible to answer. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] GARRY KASPAROV: Good afternoon. Thank you very much
for inviting me here. Elizabeth just mentioned two
books that are available here, first is Winter Is Coming. It’s not about Game of Thrones. [LAUGHTER] It’s the subtitle,
tells you everything. It’s, Why Vladimir Putin and
the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped. That was released in 2015. And the last one this year
release, Deep Thinking. It’s quite ironic that while I
was on the book tour promoting Winter Is Coming,
everybody wanted to talk about IBM, Deep Blue,
and artificial intelligence. Now earlier is the book on
artificial intelligence, and I’m here at MIT
to talk about Putin. [LAUGHTER] For many years, starting from
2005 to earlier, it’s myself, my colleagues, including
great Boris Nemtsov, we kept warning the world that
Vladimir Putin was our problem, but eventually it would
be everybody’s problem. Just because we read
some history books, and we knew how it worked
with dictatorships– they start with making friends,
so increasing their power. And they end up, all of
them, by creating enemies, because they need
enemies to justify the endless stay in power. And I remember
that in May 2015, I was a guest on the
Bill Maher show in LA. And I tried to raise the
awareness about Putin’s threat to this country, and
to the free world. And Bill was very dismissive. He kept telling me that, ah
it’s none of our concern. And he ended up saying, wake me
up when he takes over Poland. I was jumped from my chair
saying, about 80 years ago the similar attitude
led to the greatest disaster in human history. Of course, after
elections 2016, Bill has changed his views, blaming
Putin for everything, including stealing elections. And I couldn’t help but teasing
him, putting on my Twitter that it seemed that Putin
decided to skip over Poland, and went straight to Wisconsin. [LAUGHTER] I’m addicted to numbers, and
just looked at some numbers, and found out that
yesterday Vladimir Putin has passed Brezhnev’s
records, 6,602 days in power. By the way, of course,
I counted the four years where his puppet was
sitting in the chair, but it’s quite amazing. So in the 21st century
we have someone who is in power for
18 years, and is going to stay there indefinitely. So the bad news, we don’t
know how long he will stay. The good news, he
also doesn’t know. And as I said he
knows instinctively– I don’t think he’s too smart,
and he read many books, but instinctively as someone
who is in power for so long, he knows that right now
there’s only one way for him to prove him being
worthy of power. It’s to demonstrate that
Russia is a besieged fortress. And he’s a white
knight defending Mother Russia against all evil. Russian television for years
is filled with America bashing. My mother, she turned 80. So she was born under Stalin. She still lives in Moscow. And she heard and
saw everything, all sorts of Soviet propaganda. And she keeps telling
me that it was never so bad, and so depressing,
because at least Soviet propaganda
tried to sell you, fake vision, but
still bright future. Somewhere in the distant future,
the communist brotherhood will all be good to each other. Putin’s propaganda is different. It’s more like cult of death. [LAUGHTER] It’s all about hatred. It’s all about wars. It’s about conflict. And there’s no bright future. He doesn’t care about it. So that’s why he needs enemies. And he’s, by the way, quite good
in creating them, because he knows it is important. And now I don’t
disagree with what I heard from Julia,
because she’s aiming at some of
the stories that are being inflated by the press. But I think it’s
important to look actually at certain facts or certain
omissions on Russian TV. It’s not just some
Putin’s cronies boasting that they elected Trump. But something just
for you to chew on, is that while Russian
TV is set 24/7– is filled with
anti-American propaganda. I never heard a single negative
word about Donald Trump. Blaming deep state,
CIA, NSA, you name it, not a single negative
word about Donald Trump. Maybe a coincidence, but
just another one for us to understand that there
were big expectations, maybe still some expectations. Though understand that Putin
was quite disappointed, because the result of
this election was not what he expected. I agree that I think Putin
didn’t have great expectations for Trump’s victory. Probably they were
looking for an argument against– weaken Hillary
Clinton administration. Blaming them for
rigged elections. And by the way,
it’s quite amazing when you follow
Trump’s campaign, you can always
see the connection between what he said,
and what was eventually invented by Kremlin boss,
and Kremlin propaganda. So rigged elections was
the sort of the biggest tag in the last couple of months. But he won, and then there
were other opportunities that Putin wanted to exploit. I agree, Putin hasn’t
invented Trump. KGB doesn’t invent their agents. They just look for them. They look for weak spots. And if you look for
KGB playbook, or just any playbook of
intelligence service, what are the top
priorities for looking for a potential weak spot? Women, gambling, money, I think
this candidate fit all three. [LAUGHTER] Now again, I don’t know
whether it’s true or not, all these reports and we’ll
definitely find out more. I think the Kremlin-gate
will not go away. But again, it’s
important to actually see certain connections
and obviously Trump was an ideal
candidate that could be a counterpart in
completing the grand bargain. Which was Putin’s
dream, because he just realized that it’s not enough
just to control everything in Russia. It’s not enough
to just influence the so-called near abroad,
neighboring countries. After his invasion of
Ukraine, which I have to say I predicted after his invasion
of the Republic of Georgia in 2008, not because I had a
magic crystal in front of me, but because I looked at the map. Putin realized that he
would need something– some kind of bargaining chips to
negotiate with the free world. So he went to Syria. That was a big hope that he
could actually bring Americans down to the negotiating
table, that could offset his actions in Ukraine. And of course, he’s stepped up
his attacks about democracies. He did it in the
neighboring countries, and then he moved beyond the
perimeter of the former Soviet Union. His interference in
American election was not just an
isolated accident. He has been trying to do
it all over the place. You just look at almost every
election, every referendum in Europe, and
you can definitely find out that Putin
had an interest, and he was not shy of trying
to exercise his influence. And yet, just a long
streak of successes when you look at Brexit, and the
referendum in Holland in 2016 about affiliation
of European Union was Ukraine,
elections in Bulgaria, in Moldova, referendum in Italy. So there’s a pretty
good record, and Putin realized that while Russia today
is a pale shadow economically, militarily of the Soviet Union. He controls enough
money, probably more than any other individual in
the history of human race– so to buy favors,
and to run what they call hybrid wars
to weaken the opponents. He’s pretty good in
clandestine operations, because let’s not forget
he’s not a military dictator. He’s a KGB guy. And he plays his game. I actually agree with
Julia’s words about Putin not being a good chess player,
because I’m sick and tired of hearing, oh Putin play
chess, and Obama play checkers. I feel that I have to defend
the integrity of my game. [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] And the reason,
on a serious note, the reason why dictators don’t
play chess is quite simple, chess is the 100%
transparent game. You can see all the resources
that your opponent can use against you, though you
don’t know that his or her intentions, but it’s open. Dictators hate transparency. They don’t want to operate
in this environment. So that’s why I always think
that Putin like a poker player, because in poker, you can
win having a weak hand. If you’re ready to bluff,
and raise the stakes, and if you’re just a good
reader of opponent’s mind– and let’s give him credit,
he’s a good KGB agent– and you know that
opponent if you raise the stakes
too high opponent will fold his or her cards. So Putin keeps playing
this political casino, and so far at a
certain point, he thought that he was
doing it quite well. And also, the chess analogy just
doesn’t work, because chances are just two to a game. And here we come to a
very important point about the nature of
Putin’s dictatorship. It’s not an ideological
dictatorship. It’s a one man
dictatorship, which is the most unstable, and
dangerous form of governance, because it depends of
the image of one man. And then they possess the
body image of one man. When we look back to the
Soviet Union, and Brezhnev, Khrushchev, and Gorbachev,
it was collective leadership, like in China today. I’m not saying anything nice
about this form of government, but if you have a bunch of
Mafiosos sitting in one room, they try to negotiate. It’s not good,
but you can expect them to be balanced,
because they always look for some kind of compromise. One man dictatorship,
Hitler, Stalin, Mao, it’s all about
one man, and Putin knows that he must look strong. Let me emphasize, look strong. And how he can look strong? Economy is crippled. The oil will never go
back to $100 a barrel. So we will be running
out of funds eventually, and he has to create
some kind of environment where he can thrive. What is this? Chaos. And he’s quite good
in creating that. And he must defy the strongest
opponents to look strong, himself. What is the strongest
power in the world? The United States. So that’s why defying
US presidents, whether it was Obama, or just
now Trump administration, it’s a very important
element of Putin’s game. And we just sometimes
underestimate this is the PR game
which Putin plays. And again, I have to give
him credit for using this. And most of these things are
for domestic consumption. You remember when
Putin’s all of a sudden decided to go to General
Assembly of United Nations in New York in 2015? I remember that this was
just a couple of days, or just a day after
the announcement, I got a call from
Wall Street Journal to ask me to write an
editorial about Putin’s visit. I said, OK fine,
I can do tomorrow. Said, but no, no, no, but
he’s coming few days later. But I know the outcome, yes. Why should I wait? It’s not about Putin’s speech. It’s about the way he
will present himself. And the most important moment– that there was not him
speaking at the assembly. He didn’t care about it. It was a meeting with
Obama, do you remember that? The moment when they met,
and Obama tried to reach out, and Putin just took a
few moments, just as some kind of hesitance and then
he managed to shake his hand. I bet you he spent hours
in front of the mirror practicing that, because
it was very important– a very important element
of propaganda in Moscow. What is shown to the
ordinary Russians? United Nations in
New York, Putin had no choice but to go
to the belly of the beast to meet Obama, and he didn’t
want to shake his hand, but he did. Next day, Russia place bomb,
American battle position Syria. That tells you everything. This is the story. Putin is very good in
controlling this narrative. Maybe it’s his team,
it doesn’t matter, but he understands the
power of this presentation. That’s how it works
in Russia today. If you can follow
Russian talk shows, they talk about everything. Actually it’s probably
opposite to America. Here we can hardly find news
about the rest of the world. In Russia you can hardly
find news about Russia. [LAUGHTER] It’s about everything. It’s about Ukraine,
Baltic Group, [INAUDIBLE] states, Syria, America,
not about Russia. Because there’s nothing
to say about it. And Putin keeps pushing
this narratives. Now going back to
Trump election is that I have been writing
about Trump’s danger from the very beginning
of his campaign. I couldn’t agree with
Julia more that it’s an American phenomenon. So again, Putin just
utilized this opportunity that was given to him. And I think now again when we
look at all these stories– so I think I was correct
saying at one point that Trump inner circle had
more Russian connections than Aeroflot. [LAUGHTER] But again, the good news is that
Trump looks like an autocrat. He talks autocrat. He walks like autocrat. He wish being Vladimir Putin. But he cannot act like
autocrat, Because unlike Russia, America’s democracy
is quite resilient. But what I found out here
is that the many things that were taken for granted
that just based on some sort of a code of honor. Because it never happened
before so we assume it’s not going to happen now. As the two terms
of presidency, just follow the
Washington’s tradition. And after FDR they came
up with an amendment. So Trump actually capitalized
on all these little cracks in the system. Everybody believes their taxes. So what? Show me the piece of paper. I’m not violating the law. That’s, by the way, classical
trick of every would be dictator. So they always look for
an opportunity, just not to violate the law
instantly, and always just try to capitalize just by
building brick by brick their own rule that
could eventually overturn the rule of law. Putin was good at that,
and luckily Trump tried, but I think it failed. We’ll, again,
we’ll find out more about his clandestine
connections, and his inner circle being
engaged with their counterparts in Russia. But what’s important
is that we really could see that his power is limited. And I was quite pleased to
see that US Congress limited his ability to interfere with
foreign policy, especially in Russia, by passing the
bill almost unanimously on Russian sanctions. I think I tweeted
next day saying, it’s not magnificent seven,
saying that seven people just were against it, so three in
the house two in the Senate, one in the White House,
and one in Kremlin. [LAUGHTER] And regarding Putin,
he will keep pushing, looking for these weak spots. And speaking about, by the way,
the Russian word kompromat, that now just made its
way to English language. Yes I thought I’d state– we can look at the
linguistic contribution of different Russian leaders
into foreign languages, Khrushchev, Sputnik, Gorbachev,
Perestroika, Putin, kompromat. [LAUGHTER] Yeah, and as I said,
it’s a mafia rule. That’s why I always encourage
people to read Mario Puzo’s Godfather, because
it tells you more about Putin’s Russia than any
other professional research. And Putin recognizes that
as long as he looks strong, nobody will challenge him. Again, it’s psychological. So even if we look
back to Nazi Germany, the size of attempt on
Hitler was made after D-Day, after the invasion, the opening
of the second front, when the generals realized
the war was over. We haven’t reached this point,
and Putin is quite agile to make sure that he always
creates new opportunities. I believe that the current
crisis with North Korea is man-made crisis. Because I wouldn’t
believe for a second that a wretched country with no
economy, and almost no signs, in less than two
years could walk from very primitive nuclear
technology to the H-bomb, and a missile that could
reach the United States. Again, create more
problems, create chaos, and Putin is pretty good. He always looks at the
map for an opportunity. And again, compromised or
not, it’s going back to Trump. In this case, I think we
should assume the worst. It will be safer. You know just again– of course, people
say, you’re Russian, you’re full of conspiracy. Yes, I am. Yes. [LAUGHTER] As I said in my book, in Deep
Thinking, yes I’m a sore loser. Yeah, just you better
confess your sins. Just people used to
trust you– that is I understand my shortcomings,
but in this case there’s so much at stake that I
would rather assume the worst. And again, there’s so many
elements in this picture that while I don’t
have any information outside of the public domain,
where I could read it, and just collect it as you do,
they’re certain things that tell me that the story’s just– it’s a long way down the bottom,
to the bottom of the well, where we’ll find the truth. And for instance, let’s take
this infamous call of Michael Flynn to Russian
Ambassador on December 29, after Obama announced his
decision to seize properties and also to send off certified
Russian spies disguised as diplomats. Typically, during the
Cold War, the response of the other side was simple
and straightforward, the same, mirror. And by the way, nobody
would say anything, because that was a
practice for decades. And Lavrov– let’s just follow
this just almost by hour. Lavrov said Russia
would do that. Then all of a sudden,
Vladimir Putin has overruled Lavrov, saying no,
no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, why don’t we do that. So let’s invite the
kids of these diplomats to Christmas tree
party in the Kremlin. [LAUGHTER] So what’s happened? Again, dictator cannot
afford to look weak. That’s a sign of
weakness not to respond. And by the way, after recent
events, I mean Russia just– Putin was not shy
to send off 750. OK, many of them were actually
Russians working there, but he could reduce American
diplomatic presence in Russia to bare bones. Again, the problem was not
of reducing American presence there. I think the problem was that
he got a call from Washington, Russian Ambassador, informing
him about conversation with Michael Flynn. Now, I don’t know if Donald
Trump knew about Michael Flynn calling Ambassador Kislyak. It doesn’t matter. What is important
is they trusted that Michael Flynn could speak
on behalf of Donald Trump, promising that
they would go back and just restore Russian
diplomatic presence. And it could undermine their
efforts to improve relations. So, it means to me, and
there’s only one explanation, they have been working
with Michael Flynn. They trusted him. And they believed
that Trump would follow Flynn’s recommendations. There’s no other explanation. Again, we were lucky. It was recorded, and it
ended up with Flynn just being fired in disgrace. And the grand bargain
that has been– I believe, that
has been prepared– I think Putin had dream
of doing in Yalta. I imagine it’s how it is
to sell to Donald Trump. In Yalta, Putin
will be like Stalin, you’ll be like FDR, grand
bargain, dividing the world. Who cares about all these,
Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria. We’re here big guys,
making big deals. We decide the
future of the world. Can you sell it Trump? Something tells me you can. And now just
finishing my remarks, I think I could end up
actually praising Donald Trump for winning election. Because for many years I
heard here in this country, and in Europe, it’s
not our problem. It’s your problem
Russia, Korea, China. It’s not a big deal. It’s not going to happen here. Are you sure? Are you sure that democracy,
and freedom is not one generation away
from extinction? Are you sure that
you are not living in the threat of a
would-be dictator stealing power, and
just imposing his rule? Again, American democracy
proves to be resilient. But, it’s very important
to remember that nothing is carved in stone. And what Trump victory did for
this country and for the world, it was a wake up call. It’s very important. People are getting engaged. And by the way, the good
news from the other side of Atlantic, it basically
destroyed European alt-right. Well, just a look at the
results of the elections after Trump’s victory. They all went down hill. Those that were on
the rise, almost, you know, celebrating
their imminent victory, like Marine Le Pen in France. You can’t find them anymore. And by the way French election
was another interesting story, because Putin had smart bets. They were are the four leading
candidates, Macron, Fillon, Le Pen, and Melenchon,
Putin was bidding on three. You know, just three,
so this is a best bet. Far left radical
Melenchon, Fillon, who was just in his
pocket, as Sarkozy. So and, of course, Marine
Le Pen, overly supported. And they lost! My reaction was that
it seems Putin run out of his Trump cards. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] Yeah. And just to give another proof
of importance of participation of the public, of our active
engagement in politics, just another look at another
European country, Holland. I just mentioned in 2016 in
March there was a referendum. That was imposed obviously
by an outside force, because who cares in Holland
about affiliation agreement with Ukraine. But in European Union,
you need consensus. So that’s why there
was one country where there was a powerful political
force, Geert Wilders, another alt right movement,
that all of a sudden decided to push the
referendum idea. They won. 62% of the voters
voted against it. It ended up that the government
decided to ratify it anyway, but still it was a big victory. And of course it was
trumpeted by Putin as the will of Europeans
just to go against to impose affiliation
with Ukraine. Next year, everybody
expected Geert Wilders to win the elections. OK, in Holland, there are
many political parties. So he couldn’t win
outright majority, but everybody thought he would
be it would be leading party. Mm-hmm. He was the– I think there
was a fourth or the fifth with meager 14%. What was the difference? Simple. In 2016, 32% of
Dutch voters voted came to the polling stations. In 2017, 81%. So that’s the big
lesson, and that’s why I still have hope in
representative democracy. And I believe that no matter
how intricate is a conspiracy created by KGB– so we still should win. [APPLAUSE] CAROL SAIVETZ: Yeah,
whatever, I don’t know. So when Elizabeth
and I were trying to structure our conversation
we decided that each of us would throw out one
question to our speakers, and then we would open up the
conversation to the audience. And there are mics in
both aisles so please– and make sure you
ask a question, and don’t give a speech. So the two of you
don’t really disagree. I think there’s a tremendous
amount of overlap, but it brings me really
to two questions. The first is, so what is
Vladimir Putin doing now? Donald Trump was elected. Maybe that’s good. Maybe that’s bad. But the backlash against what we
know about Russian interference has certainly made it harder
to craft that grand bargain, as one of you referred to it. So that’s, where do
you see Russian policy towards the United States
going in the next year or so. The second question,
that it raises with me is, where are Putin’s
vulnerabilities? There’s been some speculation
among some Russian language pundits et cetera, to say, well
Putin’s really not as strong. And the system’s
really not as strong as everybody seems
to think it is. Where are his vulnerabilities? So I’d throw that
out to both of you. JULIA IOFFE: I think
Putin’s main vulnerability is that he’s mortal. And he’s going to
die at some point. And as Garry pointed out that
is the main– when you built a highly personalized
micromanaged system, your mortality is your
main vulnerability. This is the core
of the instability of the Russian regime. I think it is a regime
that is both fundamentally strong, and fundamentally weak. It is weak because everything– how do I describe– it’s
a very inefficient way to govern when you have a guy
at the top giving a signal. And then you have this bloated
bureaucracy between him, and that signal trickling down
each step, and at each step people try to interpret what’s
going on, what he wanted, how do we over fulfill
our assignment. So my favorite
example of this was when he was running
for president in 2012, and in the midst of massive
pro-democracy protests, and there was a fear
inside the Kremlin that Putin would be
forced into a runoff. But you can’t look weak. A national leader doesn’t
have to go to a second round, he wins out right. So that was the signal given,
Putin has to win outright. Deliver 51%, 52%, make it look
legit, and we can all move on. So the signal was
given, and trickled down the bureaucratic pyramid, and on
election night it sped up 64%. And Putin receiving the
results standing on Red Square cried, because the people
overcame the State Department, CIA sponsored– a legend– this is what
Russian state media claimed. This wasn’t actually true– overcame that this
fifth column rising up to defeat him, and deliver
this spectacular result. He is a pretty informationally
isolated president. It is a system where
people at the top drink their own Kool-Aid which
makes them very vulnerable. At the same time, they
control the levers of power, and the incentive structure. And so you still
have a court system, a police system that is
deeply loyal, because they get fed by the system. And he still has a
monopoly on violence and is trying to show
that all the time. But I think– I was just in Moscow
in the spring, and the worry wasn’t– so Russia
has presidential elections coming up in 2018, and
it’s a foregone conclusion to everybody that Putin is going
to– right now he’s being coy, and he’s like, I don’t
know if I’m going to run. And everybody knows he’s going
to run, he’s going to win, and he’s going to
get another six year term, which is up in 2024 at
that point he’ll be in his 70s. Now 60% of Russian men
don’t live past 60. He’s turning 65 in October. And as I mentioned, he’s mortal. And so there’s a
lot of speculation, and nervousness in
the system in Russia right now about what
happens in 2024. Do we do something
with the Constitution so that he can come back
for another six year term, but he’s going to die anyway. And what if he dies? Who takes over? And can he even have
an exit strategy? Can he can he have
a successor he can trust who will
guarantee his safety, and all of his ill gotten gains? He tried that with
Dmitry Medvedev in 2008. In Putin’s mind he failed. He allowed the
invasion of Libya, and the horrible
execution of Gaddafi. This was a video– I don’t know, the video
went all over the world, and Putin was obsessed with it. He couldn’t stop
watching it, because I think he personally
related to Gaddafi’s fate, and is afraid of that. So he moved Medvedev
aside, and came back. So if you feel that you
can’t hand the system over to anybody. You can’t trust anybody. After that, he started
filling gubernatorial slots with his former
cooks and bodyguards. That’s a problem. That’s not a stable system. And that’s a very
long winded answer. GARRY KASPAROV: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. We’re all mortal,
including dictators. The difference is they could
be mortal all of a sudden, and Putin knows that. And I don’t think that 2024
is a big problem for Putin, or for others in Russia. They understand that
things happen earlier, because it’s a big
mistake to look at potential change
in Russia based on the so-called
electoral calendar. It’s just a day for Putin
to reappoint himself. Things will happen
all of a sudden, because the elite will
lose faith in Putin. Now what is Putin’s strengths? Simple. He was a protector
of their interests. He allowed them to
steal in Russia, and to park their money
elsewhere, not in China, not in Iran, not in Venezuela. But in Cote d’Azur, in
Mumbai, in Spain, in Italy, and in this country. By the way, I’ll be I’ll
be very curious to find out how much money was laundered
through certain real estate empires. Because we know from–
again– from old books that real estate was
always a most perfect way of laundering money,
not only for Putin, just for any other dictators
and thugs around the world. And that’s why Putin
has been fighting, and the entire Russian
machine, KGB, foreign office fought Magnitsky law. The law actually aimed at–
some people say, oh just second they will search here
Russian bureaucrats. Putin knows it doesn’t matter. The mafia boss, the
capo di tutti capi must offer protection to
every thug in his gang, to every hitman. Because this is the way it
works, full loyalty in exchange for full protection. If he’s not there to protect
their interests abroad, why they should be
loyal to him there. And I think that is if Congress
actually will push this– the full implementation of
new sanctions, that Trump unwillingly signed, which
involves a full disclosure of these assets, and I
believe America Intelligence had pretty good idea, where
this money is being poured. Was in next 180 days,
this is the biggest issue, because as long as the Russian
oligarch– some of them are just stuck in Russia,
because they couldn’t get a visa, but their families,
their wives, the children can run their empires from
outside, inconvenience. Nobody’s challenging brutal
dictator out of inconvenience. But if their multi-billion
fortunes are in danger, we should see if they
will be still loyal to Putin or to their money. So there are many ways to
make Putin not just look weak, but actually to demonstrate this
weakness that will be apparent. JULIA IOFFE: That’s
another point, by the way, another example– Garry’s completely right–
of how the system is weak. When all of your
elites, when none of their wives,
or their children live, or grow up, or go
to school, or get treated by local doctors, when
they all live abroad– and when I was in
Russia in the spring, I talked to a high ranking
member of Putin’s party and all he could talk about was
how horrible life was in Paris. That’s a problem. [LAUGHTER] Like even in the Soviet
Union, the elites lived in the Soviet Union. GARRY KASPAROV: Or
in Eastern Bloc, you know they go to the
resorts, Eastern Bloc. JULIA IOFFE: Right,
but they lived at home. GARRY KASPAROV: Yes, yes, yes. JULIA IOFFE: They
were tied to the fate of the country in a way
that Putin’s elite is not. GARRY KASPAROV: Yeah. JULIA IOFFE: They’ve
already jumped ship. GARRY KASPAROV: So, that’s why
my guess is that Putin will continue playing these
geopolitical poker by raising the stakes. A North Korean nuclear
crisis is a typical example. He would like to
find anyway to divert the attention of
Americans and Europeans and while creating
crisis to present himself as a peacemaker. So given nuclear
technology with one hand, and waving the olive
branch with another one. So that’s the game. It’s a simple game. You say, oh it’s primitive. Yes, but it did work. It did work for
him, and he thinks that this is the best
game that he can play. And unfortunately when
you look at the world map, there’s too many places where
he can continue this game by creating more problems, and
inflating the old conflicts that were somehow pacified. JULIA IOFFE: But I
think that’s the key, that it’s not that complicated. You know, the Russians
have this self-serving saying that you can’t understand
Russia with your mind. You can only feel it. It’s crap. Of course you can understand it. It’s pretty simple. It’s pretty primitive. And by over
intellectualizing it, and over analyzing
it, and seeing all these things
that aren’t there, we trip over our own feet. When, in fact, it’s pretty easy. Putin creates
conflicts, and problems so that we can go to
him to solve them. He doesn’t care about North
Korea, or Iran, or Syria. He just wants us to
talk to him as an equal. CAROL SAIVETZ: Right. JULIA IOFFE: That’s it. GARRY KASPAROV:
Absolutely, because that makes him look strong. ELIZABETH WOOD: Let me
also ask a quick question. Both of you have talked about
the PR game, the ways in which Putin makes things look,
and I’m curious what you think about his relationship
to other dictators, the ways that certain
machismo that he uses is also now being used by
Erdogan, by other leaders. It seems to be there’s kind
of a plague of let me show– and my favorite
current Putin quote, I’m curious whether
you have a comment on, is when he said of
Trump, he’s not my bride, and likewise I am neither his
bride nor his bridegroom– [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] And if you think
about it that this is the classic Russian way of
saying, in fact I am his groom, and he is the bride. It’s the belittling
of the opponent. But I’m curious
about that machismo, and the way it has shown up– it’s shown up in different
variations in Berlusconi, in the Bulgarian Premier,
and polish leaders, and Erdogan I
think in some ways. So I’m just curious if you have
a comment on that certain style of dictatorship. JULIA IOFFE: Yeah. It’s very– it’s kind
of the adolescent dream of masculinity. And in that I don’t think you
need a pee pee tape to explain why Trump is so drawn to Putin. I think it’s the same
reason that Putin likes Mike Tyson and Steven Seagal. It’s kind of an adolescent
understanding of what a man is, and what masculine
strength looks like. And Putin has, I think,
a very similar goal. And as Garry said, he would
love to run America the way that Putin runs Russia. GARRY KASPAROV: Yeah,
I think it’s not just about spreading
the un-free world. So by the way, when
you look at the last, I think, 10 or 11 years the
reports of Freedom House– it’s the number of people
living in the free world has been steadily declining. It’s amazing. 25 years of the end of
the Cold War we just– JULIA IOFFE: We reproduce
more slowly also. GARRY KASPAROV: But
I’m talking about– it’s about some
countries, like Turkey. 15 years ago many of
us was expected Turkey eventually to become
member of European Union. Now it’s much closer to Russia. It’s amazing. Who could have imagined
that a native country would be buying Russian technology,
military technology. I think for Putin,
every dictator it’s another bargaining chip. I think his
relations with Assad, it was a clear demonstration. Did he care about
Russia military base? Yes– or Naval base. Did he care about
military contract? Yes. But the most important thing was
that Obama said Assad must go. Putin said, ah-ah. JULIA IOFFE: Right,
that’s right. GARRY KASPAROV: One is
Obama, one is Assad. It’s again– it’s a
projection of strengths. And Putin is a great
master of doing this, and Syria was a clear
example, message to everybody. That’s why I think
Kim Jong-un now is so arrogant, because Putin
already proved, you stick with me, I’ll not let you down. JULIA IOFFE: And I don’t think–
it’s about that, but it’s also, I think, about a response to
American democracy promotion, and policy of regime. Putin to some extent is
fighting the last war, that his war with George W Bush,
and democracy promotion, regime change– Assad was also about
drawing a line in the sand. And equating himself with Assad
saying you cannot say which leader stays and which leader
goes, the people decide, i.e. the dictator decides
if he stays or go. And when Putin talks about
national sovereignty, he means that it is
the inalienable right of the dictator
to do whatever he wants with his
people, his subjects, inside his own borders. And he will send
planes, and tanks, and commandos to defend every
dictator’s right to do that, because he wants to defend
his own right to do that. The reason he was obsessed
with the way Gaddafi died is he fears that he
could die that way. The reason he watched Saddam
Hussein’s execution on repeat was he was afraid that
he would be put on trial, and executed the same way. So it’s personal to him. ELIZABETH WOOD: OK. You want? Go. GARRY KASPAROV: Yes,
it is personal to him. But, I think we
also should remember that all of his decisions,
sending troops, giving orders to sort of cross borders,
and carpet bombed innocent civilians, they have
to be put in action by generals, and by the officers. And while Putin– you
may call him a kamikaze, because he has no where to go. Political death for him means
physical death, he knows that. So he will stay in Kremlin. He’s stuck there till
the end of his life. But I’m not sure that
many of his generals or colonels or majors– they have the same– the same attitude. I’m not sure it’s
a good example. But remember that
is the state– so what happened when Erdogan
decided to shoot Russian plane. How many times did Russia
violate Turkish airspace afterwards? Zero. It’s good for Putin
to shout, but then you have to give an order
for somebody to do it, and to risk their own lives. And it seems to me that
will be very little appetite in Russian
Navy, or in Russian Army just to take this chance. So why did Putin stop
his invasion of Ukraine? Not because he has
changed his mind. He, by the way, that
was a moment then when he had to cut his losses. Because after an
exaction of Crimea, that went smoothly, which I
believe it was due to the fact that he has been
preparing for a long time. So he promised to take over 10– 10 Ukrainian regions– [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] All way from Lugansk to Odessa. He ended up with half
of the two regions. Why he decided to
cut his losses, because he just realized that
he made a blunder by expecting Russian speaking Ukrainians to
embrace his invasion troops. To the country– the majority– I would say with overwhelming
majority of Russian speaking Ukrainians, ethnic Russians
joined the Ukrainian army to defend against the invasion. And Putin realized
that the cost– the body backs that will be
sent back to Russia is too high. And again he’s a KGB dictator. He always looks
for maximum effect to be achieved with
minimal sacrifices. So he is quite good
at measuring what he can invest in
human lives, and money to achieve his results. And he stopped, wisely,
recognizing that the war was not as popular as he thought. And it will be too costly. JULIA IOFFE: And he didn’t
expect the Ukrainian Army to fight as well as they did. He thought he would just sweep
right on through to Odessa. And he didn’t expect it
to be as bloody as it was. The other reason about
the other dictators, he doesn’t necessarily need
Orban in Hungary, or Erdogan, he did really great
with Schroeder when he was in Germany,
and Berlusconi in Italy. GARRY KASPAROV: And Sarkozy. JULIA IOFFE: With Sarkozy. With Berlusconi, who taught
him all about the wonders of plastic surgery [LAUGHTER] I’m not kidding. And this is why Putin also
saw potential in Trump. He does well with
people who are like him, who are absolutely
cynical, un-ideological and are willing to bargain. And I think that all of these
leaders share that trait. CAROL SAIVETZ: Great. ELIZABETH WOOD: OK, let’s
open it up for the floor. Why don’t we start with
this gentleman here. AUDIENCE: Question
for Ms. Ioffe, do you think the US has ever
interfered in domestic Russian, or even Soviet politics? Mr. Kasparov, do you
think the US should interfere going forwards
given the threat of Putin? JULIA IOFFE: I think that’s a– thank you for a question. It’s a very good one. From the Russian
perspective, they’re just giving as good as they’ve
gotten from the Americans. So from the Russian perspective,
things like the National Endowment for Democracy,
George Soros’ Open Society, all these NGOs, like Golos that
count ballots to make sure there is no voter fraud. That this is America influencing
Russian domestic politics, which is why one of the first
things that the Kremlin did after Putin came back to
the presidency in 2012, was cut off the flow
of American government, and European government
funds to these NGOs, because they see
them as interfering in Russian elections. GARRY KASPAROV: And let’s– JULIA IOFFE: I’m just giving– I’m not saying that
was actually how. I’m giving you the Russian– GARRY KASPAROV: You said
three times, you said Russian. And I strongly disagree. Kremlin. JULIA IOFFE: OK. GARRY KASPAROV:
I’m also Russian, and we didn’t believe
America was interfering. I didn’t know about
America, CIA, NSA, you name it trying to
actually foster our movement. We walked on the Moscow streets,
and sent people to the streets. There were peaceful
rallies, by the way, not a glimpse of violence,
not a single broken window. So the all the violence
came from the riot police. And it was our
domestic movement. And, of course, in
Putin’s eyes any kind of support of human
rights organizations, or others like Golos,
that was interference. With By the way,
they had nothing to do with our movement. When you look at the
political movement, it was not connected to these
human rights organizations. So that’s why all we did there
was based on the local support that we could get. And to the contrary,
by the way, I can tell you that
one of the reasons that we couldn’t rally
enough people in 2006, 2007, because Putin played
this brilliant game. Garry Kasparov, Boris Nemtsov,
you name it, many of us said Putin was already on
the way of dictatorship. Really. And then all Russians could see
a TV picture, Putin presiding over G8, with Bush 43,
with I think it was still Blair, Merkel already, Chirac– so how can you trust these guys
who are just crying in a desert that Putin could
be dictator, when he was chairing the meeting of
the leading Democratic nations. So Putin knew how
to play this game. So as long as it
fit his agenda, he was very friendly with
Americans, with Europeans, and as Julia pointed out, he
was never shy of buying favors. And I think the infiltration
of Russian influence through these kind of
clandestine operations was never as powerful,
even at the probably height of the years of [INAUDIBLE] CAROL SAIVETZ: All right. ELIZABETH WOOD: So we’re
getting lots of questions. Let’s take two on this
side, and then I’ll take two on that side. Keep them short. AUDIENCE: I was going
to ask another question, but I think I’ll
follow up on that one. The United States is not
just interfered in Russia. It’s been interfering in the
inner affairs of countries around the world
for decades, going back at least to the overthrow
of the democratic government of Mosaddegh in Iran, the next
year, Arbenz in Guatemala, multiple attempts to
assassinate Castro– CAROL SAIVETZ: Let’s– AUDIENCE: Assassination by– CAROL SAIVETZ:
What’s the question? We got a lot of people. AUDIENCE: Yeah,
you’re right we can go on all night about the
United States interference in other countries’ affairs. So what’s the real problem here? Is it that one country
interferes– allegedly interferes in another
country’s elections, or inner domestic
affairs, or is it the one country interferes in
American domestic electoral affairs? JULIA IOFFE: So it sounds like
the premise of your question, though, is that
electoral interference in another country’s elections
is a bad thing, right? AUDIENCE: No, my premise is my
question is double standards, hypocrisy, and can one nation
that’s always interfering in another country’s–
interferes, criticize, when they themselves are
interfered with allegedly, I will stress allegedly. In other words, what goes
around comes around, doesn’t it? CAROL SAIVETZ: OK, next
question on this side please. Because we’re going
to do two a time. AUDIENCE: So– GARRY KASPAROV: Is
it left unanswered? ELIZABETH WOOD: No, no. You guys have time to
answer both his question and the next one, because we
won’t hear all the questions. That’s the idea anyway. AUDIENCE: OK, so working
under the premise that Putin is a domestic
and global problem. I find that waiting
for Putin’s death is an unsatisfying
solution, and I find that prying
away the oligarchs is an insufficient solution. So how does the civil
society in Russia, and the Russian
people– how do they move forward in the presence
and absence of Putin? ELIZABETH WOOD:
OK, so if you could both questions if you want. GARRY KASPAROV: You know
first of all I strongly reject, denounce any
moral equivalence between the free world and
communist dictatorships. [APPLAUSE] It’s appalling to hear the
statements of people grew up in the free world, and they
don’t know what IS KGB, or maybe know from the books. One of the reasons
I never criticized American invasion of Iraq,
which I think was a mistake– but I believe, for
me, it was impossible since it toppled a dictator. As someone who grew up
in the Soviet Union, in the communist
dictatorship, I couldn’t criticize any action that led
to the end of dictatorship. Though understanding that
many bad things could happen afterwards, but
still there’s always choice of awfulness or evil. And talking about this
America interference in other countries in the world,
is looking over the big debate. But let me tell
you one thing, when you look at the political
map 40 years ago– just look again,
have a hard look, and you find out that
every so-called right wing dictatorship, whether it’s
Chile, Colombia, Spain, Portugal, Taiwan, South
Korea has been peacefully– South Africa– transformed into
market economy and democracy. Not a single
communist dictatorship has been peacefully
transformed in a market economy and democracy. People are still
suffering there. So that’s why I think it’s
just the whole idea of just, oh we can compare
Putin’s actions, or Saddam Hussein’s actions
with actions of US presidents, for me, it’s preposterous. [APPLAUSE] CAROL SAIVETZ: You
wanna say anything? JULIA IOFFE: (LAUGHS) I’ll
answer the other question. I think that this is– you’ve hit on a
very big problem. Russian civil society
is kind of on the run, and pushed under ground. And that’s not a good thing,
because it is hard for it to gather strength. And it’s also– radicalizes
the civil society. You saw that, for example,
in Russia leading up to– in the years between
1905 and 1917, when a more peaceful
moderate revolution failed, and the state reacted
with more, and more harsh draconian measures. Both sides, both
the people in power, and the people out of
power in the streets, became radicalized,
and you get 1917. The other issue is the issue
of so-called collective Putin. In the US we fall into
the trap of thinking that if we decapitate these
regimes that the next day they will all become democracies. Democracy is really hard work. It takes generations
of education, and vigilance, and
civic activism. And if for generations,
you have been at the point of a
gun or a bayonet, have been taught to be
passive, and to not question authority, and to not stick
your neck out, and to not risk things. It’s going to be hard, even if
the guy at the top is removed, or his inner circle is removed. You still have
143 million people who have been conditioned for
generations to be undemocratic. So just removing these guys,
and waiting for Putin to die, you’re right, is
not the solution. I keep it coming
back to something that one of Putin’s
advisers once said to me. And this is what happens
when you, I think or what could happen
when you’re waiting just to pry the elite off of
Putin, or to splinter them. He said, look, when
the system falls– he, by the way, helped Putin get
elected his first time in 2000. He said when this system falls,
it’s going to fall in one day. But the system that replaces
it will be exactly the same. And that’s the danger. GARRY KASPAROV: Just
make a comment as this– I’m not sure that
we should by theory of genetic determination. Those nations– JULIA IOFFE: It’s not genetic. It’s educational and societal. GARRY KASPAROV:
Educational, maybe. Maybe. But we have other examples of
the 20th century that tell you it’s not that complete. I agree there’s a danger. I believe unless Russia
goes through the process of reconciliation
with it’s past. Unless we go through
our own Nuremberg, condemning the
crimes of communism, and banning KGB, and having
the proper illustration. So nothing will happen. So it’s very
important to do what’s happened in similar
situations in other countries. Of course, the magnitude is
much bigger, because as I– or maybe it’s not doable. But I just mentioned, let’s look
at the Korean green peninsula. It’s the same nation. In 1953, they were divided
after the end of the war. And they were just the same
people brothers and sisters, the same GDP. The only difference was that one
was controlled by communists, another one was under
American patronage. Now you have two Koreas
that are just far apart. They’re just like two
different solar systems. One is just the biggest
Gulag in the world, another one is probably most
efficient market economy, and very strong democracy, where
presidents being impeached, and the head of the largest
corporation imprisoned. And it’s the same people. So I think it’s just,
again, it takes time, but it’s not the
end of the world. So and I believe that Russia
had more democratic traditions than could undone Korea in 1953. And while a lot of
Russians will live, by the way, outside of
Russia– now when I think there’s a chance. There’s a fair chance. There’s no guarantee
that we can just go back to [INAUDIBLE] civilizations JULIA IOFFE: I’m not
saying there’s zero chance. But I think to follow
your analogy with Korea, I keep looking at North
Korea and thinking, OK, let’s say we
take out Kim Jong-un. And get rid of this regime. It’s going to be an
unbelievable task to rehabilitate
these people that have lived under this
regime for generations. And you look at Eastern Europe
and it was a foreign occupation in Eastern Europe. They had Soviet power for much
less time than the Russians, and they’re still much, much
better than the Russians. They’re doing much
better, but they’re still dealing with these ghosts,
and these problems that they learn– GARRY KASPAROV: So what? JULIA IOFFE: I’m not
saying it’s predetermined, but it’s a problem. GARRY KASPAROV: We– no. JULIA IOFFE: You agree
that it’s a problem. GARRY KASPAROV: It is a problem,
but you have 20 people just living in the largest
communist country in the world. So yes, there are problems of
integrating in normal life. But it’s not a reason to
say you shouldn’t do that. JULIA IOFFE: I didn’t
say it was a reason. GARRY KASPAROV: Sooner
you remove Kim Jung-un out of power, better the chances
that you can save millions of these lives That
otherwise will be sacrificed for these paranoid dreams. JULIA IOFFE: I’m not saying
you should or shouldn’t, I’m just outlining the
array of problems. I’m a journalist. I’m not a policy person. CAROL SAIVETZ: OK. JULIA IOFFE: Yeah. GARRY KASPAROV:
I’m a human being. CAROL SAIVETZ: Two questions
from this side, please. AUDIENCE: So piggybacking
off of this question of what is to be done, I
think a lot of observers of the American election,
and specifically the Democratic primary,
observed that in the US we seem to have a lack
of a unified left, or even a lack of a
unified opposition. And then that was
especially visible during the general election. So over the last 10
years, we’ve seen Navalny, we’ve seen Yabloko, we’ve seen
the Progress Party in Russia, we’ve seen your
presidential campaign, and it doesn’t seem like
we’re that far removed from what the situation was 10
years ago in Russia in terms of who’s in power. So what I’m curious
about is whether you see a future for a unified
Russian left, or at least the unified Russian
opposition, and whether or not you think that’s even relevant
to standing against Putin. CAROL SAIVETZ: Next question. GARRY KASPAROV: Well, OK, fine. CAROL SAIVETZ: We should do
two at a time because we have– AUDIENCE: Hi, I have a
different type of question. So Ms. Ioffe mentioned that we
should view American election result as a combination
of several factors, which includes influence
of Russia, and also the role of American people. So my question is like– I’m very curious to
know what’s your take on the role of social
media, which has presumably acted as a catalyst in
spreading misinformation, and also from now on how should
people take social media, and what’s the role of– how should people deal with
social media and misinformation that goes around? GARRY KASPAROV: I
think it’s asking the same question
about– time and again– about what opposition
Russia can do. It ignores the fact that
Russia is the one man dictatorship that openly
embraces fascist ideology. Anything that happens in
Russia is on Kremlin’s control. If any opposition
action takes place, it’s because Kremlin believes
that it’s probably– serves its purpose for some reasons. So there’s no way that you
can go back to 2007, 2008, or even 2011, 2012 when we had
massive rallies in the streets. It’s over. They destroyed it completely,
and they control it. So the only way for things
to change in Russia, as was in the Soviet Union,
is for regime to be weak. And we’re talking about a
geopolitical disaster, which doesn’t mean it’s end of war. So I remember that the– in my opinion, one of
the most important events that led to the collapse
of the Soviet Union was the Soviet loss of
the war in Afghanistan. Just remember, in
February in 1989, the Soviet troops
withdrew from Afghanistan. By the way, it
was not a stampede as Americans from Saigon. The war technically was not
lost, because the Soviets could keep Najibullah regime,
the pro-Soviet regime for another three years there. I think 2 1/2 years. So again, technically
speaking, you know they left
Afghanistan with honors. But psychologically
to watch Soviet troops crossing the border going
back had a huge effect in Eastern Europe, in the
Baltic, then republics, and across the Soviet Union. And by then the
year– that year 1989, the Eastern Europe was gone. In less than three years,
the Soviet Union was gone. Again, it’s all about people
believing that empire, the dictatorship is weak. And as long as it looks
strong, nothing will happen. But if they realize that
regime is no longer as strong as it used to be,
they’ll fill the streets. The reason people are not
there, because they’re afraid. It was, oh you know there
were only 5,000 people marching in Moscow. Look, here in New
York or in Paris, you have million people, yes. But here police protects you. That’s a difference. And I was always
amazed to see thousands of people rallying
in Moscow streets, knowing that they
could be beaten. They could be arrested,
and even worse. But now, you cannot blame them
for not doing that, because– JULIA IOFFE: But,
they are doing it. They are doing it. GARRY KASPAROV: No, no, no, no. Again, it’s nothing that
can compare to 2011. So that maybe a few
thousand here and there are still insist– it’s quite heroic efforts,
but they are too minor, and Kremlin totally controls
the situation in Moscow, and elsewhere. JULIA IOFFE: I would argue
they’re more widespread though. And in 2011, it was just
Moscow and St. Petersburg. Now they’re in over
90 cities in Russia. They’re still small. They’re under– they’re
very vulnerable, et cetera. GARRY KASPAROV: Because
they have generation. And that bring us back to next
question about social medias. Unlike China, Putin
doesn’t boast firewalls, but the Russian
Criminal Court has a new article almost every day. Punishing people for even
re-posting some what Kremlin believes anti-government
rants, or even– JULIA IOFFE: Liking. GARRY KASPAROV: Well, yes. Even pictures. So and the role of
social media, as I say, it’s there, so it’s
a most powerful tool. And it’s quite an irony that
Putin, and other regimes– dictators in the world– they know how to utilize
the tools embedded in the free world to
undermine the very foundation of democracy. What an irony. JULIA IOFFE: Yeah,
I– oh, go ahead. CAROL SAIVETZ: Two questions
on this side, please. AUDIENCE: In Russia there’s
a part to the Right of United Russia, and their
ultra-nationalist like Aleksandr Dugin,
the fascist guy, who wrote Foundations
of Geopolitics. So do you view
these people who– they want to expand the Russian
empire, take over Latvia and so on, as the sort of
irrelevant fringe or are they people who were behind Putin
animating his policies. So should we basically ignore
the ultra-nationalist Russian right, or should we
pay attention to them, and what is their connection
to this entire situation? CAROL SAIVETZ: Next question. Trying to accommodate as
many people as possible. We’re at the end of our time. So– AUDIENCE: Just a quick– I think it’s hard to ascertain
the validity of polls or elections out
of Russia, and I’m just curious is Putin
truly that popular with the average Russian? Whether or not it’s because
he’s strong, and promotes a strong Russia,
but is he truly– have a significant portion,
over 50% of the population? And second part,
which might sound like a little bit
of a joke, but I think it speaks to the context
of Putin’s objectiveness. Do you think Putin
truly believes that he is capable
of scoring five goals against international
caliber hockey players? [LAUGHTER] Do you think he
really believes that? You know that was him. JULIA IOFFE: No, he doesn’t. I’ve heard people have seen him. When he invited
then-secretary Kerry to play hockey against him. He then made jokes that
people let him score goals. About his popularity
in the polls, that’s a very good question. And the polls, in
short, are not accurate. Russian pollsters complain
of very low answer rates on polls, and that it’s
a self-select accrues. So, if you don’t
agree, you’re going to not want to
stick your neck out, and talk to people
you don’t know about how you don’t like Putin. And if you do agree,
if you like him you’re happy to
share your opinion. So that skews things. Also because there’s been
no alternatives to Putin for so long, he’s popular just
because he lacks alternatives. So it’s, a kind of,
very passive popularity. After the Crimean bump, which
was a very active popularity. As for the young man who
asked about the right wing, I think we do. Great question. I think we do need to
pay attention to it. Putin is not an ideological guy. He will use whatever ideology
he needs to further his goals. He has a utilitarian
approach to ideology. So for a while
Dugin was in favor, during the invasion of
Ukraine, for example, during this kind of amping
up of Russian nationalism and jingoism at home. He has since been sidelined. He has been fired
from several, jobs, and is kind of back
on the margins again. So if it serves his
goals, he’ll use it. And as soon as he feels it
doesn’t serve his goals, he’ll find a new ideology. GARRY KASPAROV:
Yes, you’re right. He’s been fired, because
he was not radical enough. [LAUGHTER] I remember we had this
debate 10 years ago. It was some of the other
liberals in Russia saying, oh Putin was our only hope
to prevent Russian fascism. My argument was, and
many from all sides was, Putin would end up as
embracing this ideology, because that would happen
with every dictator. And yes, just the simple,
straightforward use of Dugin, not enough. When you look at the current
situation with Russia, it’s those people
are that much worse. The worst kind of
reactionary that comes from the Orthodox Church. People who are actually
burning cinemas, because they showed the
movie about Tsar Nicholas. By the way, shows– produced by a very
pro-Putin producer. JULIA IOFFE: Right. GARRY KASPAROV: Somebody who
signed a letter to supporting annexation of Crimea. The state paid for this movie. But again, it’s what’s
happening within the regime. It’s like a negative
genetic selection. It just, if it goes
down the ladder. So, and Dugin is
not radical enough. That’s again, that’s
happening in every regime. So that’s why, again, I wouldn’t
say that Dugin is a problem. The problem is Putin. The problem is the regime will
use whatever is available. And at the end of day, it will
use the worst that it can find, because by trying to keep this
anti-American, anti-western, anti-liberal hysteria,
they have to look for– they have to go just
to the very bottom, searching for the bottom. ELIZABETH WOOD: So,
6:30, what should we do? We should end? CAROL SAIVETZ: Yeah. So– GARRY KASPAROV: By the way,
about Putin’s popularity, if you have one restaurant
in town, sorry, one dish. It’s popular by
definition, especially if every other restaurant being
open is burned to the ground. [LAUGHTER] CAROL SAIVETZ: So I
apologize to the people who did not get a chance
to ask their questions. I think we all have to
thank our speakers today. Thank you all for coming. [APPLAUSE] JULIA IOFFE: Good job.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “Starr Forum: The Trump-Putin Phenomenon

  1. trump is just the out pouring of the unhappy de functionalist normal joe , due to the uber rich tech geeks, online shopping, and the ultra capitals shitt comes out of USA they hates taxes schools, regulations, law environment (unless it sits them ), but wants a huge army /police / prison ! similar to weimer Germany but without the highways and volkswagen and public services. any how same same but different … USA ws never democratic, born on lies and fake news

  2. from the domestic point of view there's absolutely no sense in craving for regime change in Russia, because it will forever remain undemocratic and socially backward anyway under whatever new and improved regime, undemocratic due to either authoritarianism or chaos
    these are two main modes Russia exists in underlain by the backbone of Russian life, all pervasive corruption

  3. first Kasparov disagrees with genetic predisposition of Russian population to dictatorship, then he refers to negative genetic selection

  4. and it's still tiresome to see so many comments like "Russian/Jewish Trolls" or "fake news" , which is just another way of cliche answers to something people can't understand and Thus try to dismiss. especially ON This Channel they Seem to be somewhat out of place

  5. it's so enjoyable to watch a typical Russian intellectual political discussion BTW Garry and Julie With the freely flowing emotions combined With the Well articulated logical arguments
    and I personally share Garry's views 90%

  6. You do not need CIA to understand that Putin used Trump card very well.He did all what he can to let that clown be president to make america prestige goes under feet and the stupid american nationalist swallowed .Also Israel Saudia Arabia UAE backed Trump for their own reasons.But God has other plans ,The start of the american decline, America for years interfered everywhere today the opposite happened, Putin can never be a world leader but he is clever enough to topple america hegemony

  7. Ioffe is pretty, but she jumps to conclusions. Intell Agencies are wrong all the time, she uses it like fact (a rubber crutch). The adjectives Ioffe uses … sheesh. Putin is a mastermind, America's greatest enemy … and her comment about Trump's Slavic wives ? Slovenia is between italy and Croatia. Ivana Trump is Czech. Hillary Clinton wanted a no-fly-zone, which means war with Russia, over Syria, for israel. Of course they would prefer Hillary go home an knit, maybe make Bill a sandwich. Hillary is the most rabid war hawk to ever seek the presidency – she lied to Putin about the no-fly-zone in Libya (when she killed Gadaffi). A documentary to keep this collusion story going should be interesting because it can be taken apart (and it will be).

  8. Gary Kasparov is making much more money he could ever imagine from chess. I would like to know the source of the money he collects. That will make anybody stop listening to this idiot. At least the girl looks nice and sexy to watch, no matter what she says.

  9. Anyone who actually believes this "Russian collusion" story is brain dead with no antenna for the truth. You are getting fed the Deep State / Private Central Banker line by these people. Don't be painfully square. X out like I did and tell YouTube you ain't interested in their establishment lies.

  10. Wow she hates Trump. Name calling. Very unprofessional. Slaming electoral college as vulnerable to corruption. Ignorant. Needs to listen to Scalia who actually knows something. Shallow presentation.

  11. Assange and Putin have done less harm to America than this pIece of worthless propaganda trash. After a trial by jury, this miserable , sell-out to America, this tresonist would never see the sun again, life without parole . She just blamed the Synagogue shootings on Trump. She's part of the western media driving America toward civil war. Unite and destroy the real enemy, imprison HER and her kind. Then get her and her kinds owners

  12. Beware of screenname on this and other JEWISH PEOPLE ARE THE MOST OPPRESSED PEOPLE IN THE WORLD VIDEO. There is a silent, sweeping, tricky little sniveling act hiding in the shadows and growing rapidly across America. Of this who don't know, Israel's leaders are murderous psychopaths that have burning phosphorous dropped on Palestinian school houses and almost daily, A Palestinian child is shot in the head. Last year, a female in the Israeli Parliament applauded how a teenage Palestinian boy was burned alive and she said in public that every Palestinian man, woman and child should be killed. But the Palestinians are the terrorists, right? Again, for this who don't know, it's illegal to have doubts or ask questions about the holocaust in 16 Zionist-controlled countries. (Mostly Europe). Well, baby steps towards telling the truth about Israel are happening in the USA? Watch this. How many people received bombs? 10? But, when it came to George Soros, the media laughingly tried to say that the motive was anti-semetic. Hey!!! That's a serious stretch we need to watch for. Voltaire said, to find out who is truly in charge, find out who you can't criticize. Listen, you will NEVER hear a politician, or a media personality , (except that hottie on RT) ever say anything. Bad about Israel. They end up dead. Ask Michael Hastings. Well, after they could not get America's attention with one bomb going to one liberal Jew, then there was that horrible massacre of the Jews at the Tree of Life in PA.

    Anyway, here's a new truck that the NSA or Homeland Security can abuse on you. I was critical of this Ihoffe woman. I listened to her for 30 seconds on another video and she told 5 lies in 30 seconds. I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA NOR REASON TO BELIEVE SHE WAS A JEW. NONE? Does Ihoffe sound Jewish to you. ???? Ok, here is what is happening in Europe and starting to happen now. You make a comment or expose yourself as being critical of Israel or a media that lies regarding Israel and.Syria and they do this. They wait until you make you comment and then they say "WHY ARE YOU CALLING FOR VIOLENCE AGAINST JEWS?" so you comment back WHERE DID YOU GET THAT I WAS PROMOTING VIOLENCE? And they. Reply YOU ARE BELLOWING VIOLENT RHETORIC. And then after about five of these, THEY EDIT WHAT YOU SAID TO BE BOTH ANTIsemetic and violent. So, if you are going to remain free and criticize Israel until they kill you. Prolong your freedom by having a professional install a mirroring hard drive and this thingy that shows any and all REAL activity that happen on your PC. Also, join BDS which is Boycott, Divest and network with others who want the leaders of Israel held responsible. Even know, I have someone finding out who this person is, etc. watch for trends … this anti Semite thing is going Nazi…

  13. Ioffe is NOT Jewish, not that it’s matters . Are you anti-Semite? I’m denouncing Ioffe for irresponsibly in journalism. How do you get anti Semitic violence out of that ? Let me guess. Tell the truth, now. You’re a trump supporter. Right? Just a truthful yes or no if you’re capable of truth. Many are not

  14. In other words, Julia Ioffe agrees there is no evidence whatsoever that Trump colluded with Russia to "hack the election."

  15. Gary Gasparov..
    Although I am writing almost a year and a half after your presentation, thank you for your insight into the Putin's "must hold that strong man position" per dictator's persona in order to be perceived as strong. Also, only move he had to make is to create chaos. Well, 2018 midterm elections, showed Americans realizing how fragile their democracy could be. Again, thank you. Enjoyed your perceptive evaluation.

  16. This gig preceded Helsinki, which was a medium game changer. But so was election 2018. Nevertheless the battle line twist the fossil powers and the rest of the world is drawn and one nation state after another is losing a huge share of it's democracy and rule of law to right wing insurgency and a fixed worker sympathy for it. Spain just succumbed to a neo-franco trend.

  17. Gary needs to read Chomsky about. Iraq not to mention the early days of the CIA in Iran and Guatemala. The Kremlin in our political system is absolutely part blowback just as Islamic jihad is a reaction to US hegemony. It is disappointing to here both Gary and Julia flounder in their political and historical misconceptions. Yet overall they both shine in their grasp of the Chump for Putin fact.

  18. 1 hr 11 min. THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE!!!!

    ……. please listen to Mr. Kasparof. He is really very knowledgeable & smart guy. If you listen to him, you might learn something useful.

  19. 1:12:00
    That answer makes the male speaker extremely untrustworthy. He reminds me of Sociopaths throughout the speech but especially on 1:12:00
    I would love to hear the woman answer the same question but she apparently dodged it – smartly.

    As an outsider watching this not knowing much about Russia, both are definitely holding quite the grudge.

  20. I was impressed with Julia loffe in the series “the Putin files” series. So, I followed her here. A history major, it all makes sense! She tries to see Putin through his eyes by building up a character assessment, moving him along from childhood to where he is now. She has a lot of charm and a folksy manner of expression herself. She has won me over; here she is in company with some brilliant people.

  21. Julia Ioffe although beautiful girl but does not know that she will be accountable before God and Jesus Christ for her blantant lies about Russia and Putin the most clean spirit in the whole world who protects only real high moral civilisation in the Earth against stupid Szaros subversion in the whole world and evil satanic new world order that died together with the death of David Rockefeller and executed GW Bush both enemies of mankind and Hungarian devil George Sarosz is waiting for corporal punishment for his high treason against USA together with false presiden Barack Soetoro Obama Nigerian national biggest liar in the worl d.
    rporal punishment . Only most stupid white people of the world are comming against Russian only high moral civilisation

  22. Western civilization is very stupid warmongers dekadent spreading stupid inhuman culture psychopats of mainstream are destroying USA with satanic death culture of Hollywood.Stupidity of weastern rulers of deep state and shadow government is unlimited. Hitler was funded by Rockefellers Wartburg and Swartz. Western civilization is comitting suicide living against laws of God .US propaganda is very stupid nobody believes you satanic liars destroying all states in Afrika Iraq Lybia Czech republic Slovakia Poland Hungary US advisors under the leaders of stupid subversion of George Sarosz by cupon privatisation destroyed industry in Czechoslovakia Poland Hungary and imposed on us most stupid fascist European union destroying all eastern countries as Czechoslovakia Poland Hungary Greece destroying suverenity of states by most evil and stupid NWO.God will destroy all those warmongers like Emanuel Mikron.

  23. Just look at Uranium one pizzagate Bill Clinton bodycount Benghazi . West is very primitive comparing to Russia India China Iran Bielarus Latvia Lituania Poland Czech Republic and Slovakia because west. have psychopats in shadow government and deep state satanists not believing God. but working against Gods law. Russia is always victorious because they esteem God by whole the Russian nation is not denying the Gods Power opposite as westerners so come tu Russia and try to persude russians to vote that Jorge Sarosz will be Russian president.

  24. This forum is worthless because truth cannot be supressed liars go to hell and Julia Ioffe will be weeping at Gods judgements because she is blantant liar and she is producing lies knowingly because of salary and she is preparing for herself very bad karma and Gods judgement will touch her in very near future and after awaiting eternity in hell.

  25. These two speakers(Loffe, Kasparov) are a huge disappointment and waste of time. Loffe's erudite thinking about dealing with Putin? "He's going to die someday?" Kasparov is a sycophant to old cold war thinking. Sadly these speakers are juvenile in their presentations and myopic Putin haters. Besides these speakers naive biases, I learned nothing of import. Objectivity anyone? I expected more from their supposed experience in Russia.

  26. The analytical intellectuals like this woman are being monitored at all levels because they represent the greatest threat to the consolidation of power by the various autocratic tyrants like Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Vladimir Putin of Russia. Jamaal Khashoggi was going to orchestrate an international army of journalists and/or activists to counter the power plans of MBS. The cellphone surveillance tool of Pegasus is alleged to have empowered the TIGER SQUAD to kill Khashoggi.

  27. The Electoral College system provides the achilles heel by which we were used this time round. But the entire ball of wax that represents our political/cultural process is responsible for our current situation. The blow back from our recent government shut down will have unintended consequences of potentially beneficial qualities. Kasparov brings out many important points here. He is an insider who can give us great insights. Tyrants thrive in chaos. Trump deliberately orchestrated chaos by the shutdown but it ended up backfiring on him. Putin will also have social dynamics backfire on him.

  28. Donald Trump became Santa Claus to Putin. But the political upheaval generated by Trump's most recent political miscalculation will rub off greatly on Putin. Everyone is starting to look at things more closely now.

  29. "…people at the top drink their own kool aid…" That applies to the Trump people and to the Putin people as well as to all the other autocratic leaders and their inner circles around the world.

  30. Yes she knows a lot and Yet i will not sit through this as she will not mentions the US- Sanctions on russia with a single sentence. she never has, it was always Putins fault the economy went pearshaped.

  31. Mr. Kasparov is wrong. Putin is strong but the True Power is in hands of small elite and Putin is allowed to front as official window dress for this clique, he´s a cross to take your nails so to say, much like our "leaders". Real power is nowhere to been seen. More True Power-less Publicity; of the most powerful we will never ever hear or see no sign. I find it highly suspicious from the World Class Chess Champion to miss this fact and bladder out His usual Nonsense.

  32. I too came across this while searching for information about Julia Ioffe. – All I can say is, MM! – Is She not the essence gorges – class & intelligence – M M M M M. 🙂

  33. Julia stated that the Russians didn't make tens of millions of voters say Trump is still better than Hillary, despite all the negatives about trump they were presented with. I WHOLE HEARTEDLY DISAGREE.

    Bullsh*t!
    Putin's cyber campaign was heavily geared toward wiping out Hillary's once stellar reputation, along with building up Trumps jaded reputation. (And all you Trump lovers- just let go of Benghazi- A tempest in a teapot.
    The Secretary of State is responsible for foreign relations & policy. It wasn't her job to assess security of every U.S. Embassy in the world. It was somebody's job-yes. And the buck stops with HRC, but HRC never boasted about "grabbing p*ssy" or cheating tens of thousands of people with his fake "Trump University". Or welching on contractors and subcontractors. Even screwing over immigrants who busted hump for $4.00 an hour. Now it's being revealed how he employs a whole town of illegal Costa Ricans for less than$10 an hour to keep up his golf courses. TRUMP IS A CRIMINAL! Karma may not be instant Donald- but it's gonna catch up with you, Look in your rear-view mirror Bud- Yep-That's a real Patriot you see! That IS Bob Mueller. He has your number. And it's almost time to pay the piper. And Pooty?- guess what Comrade? Sanctions are coming to an Oligarch near you soon. A New Congress is in town, and they don't like the smell emanating from the White House.

    Trump IS & always has been: A CONMAN, a Grifter, A Tax cheat. A Racist, a misogynist. (An abundance of Hard evidence proving this). He & his father (The Nazi from Queens), have cheated the U.S. Government, New York City, countless contractors, employees and suppliers. All the while, with his grubby little hand in Big Daddy's pocket. Had Daddy not siphoned off hundreds of millions to keep Liddle Donnie's charade going, Trump would have ended up a Bowery bum. Instead-he is tearing everything good about America to shreds. It was just reported Trump charged his inaugural committee $175,000 per day for Trump Hotel facilities.
    Impeach this A-hole NOW! and take that loser Pence with him. I long to see the day when the whole clan are wearing orange jumpsuits. David PECKER(-head), of AMI (Nat'l Enquirer) produced glossy picture books of Trump & now the killer prince of Saudi Arabia. Unless the DOJ asserts it's independence from Trump, Pecker will go scot free for his black-mailing & extorting ways. So what can we expect from AMI next? A glossy picture book on Erdogan? Netanyahu? The Filipino dictator?
    America needs a reality check.

  34. I lean towards Julia Ioffe's views. Her skeptical analysis provides a trustworthy approach to understanding Putin and his motives. I agree that Putin did not create the 2016 American election outcome on his own. Americans helped measurably. It was a perfect storm of being fed up with the status quo, and entrenched ignorance and arrogance of both the richest and poorest of the american people. Now this has been exposed, it unfortunately, can be more easily be exploited. Trump will fall on his own sword eventually, as he can't fool all of the people, all of the time. In the meantime, let's hope Americans begin to realize the flaws in their democracy: The undemocratic Electoral College. The representative distortion of Rep-By-Pop by the Senate. The tools a President may abuse to bypass normal checks and balances of Congress. The incredible corruption exacerbated by the Citizens United ruling. The bastardization of democratic fairness caused by Congress's Hastert rule.

    The US democracy has become controlled by rich, old white men and Congress does not represent in anyway, the demographic makeup of America. Until these inequities are repaired, the flaws in American democracy will always be exploited to the detriment of its citizens. Those old men do not represent their constituents first. First, they're in it for themselves. There will be a reckoning.

  35. A chess player , why suprises? He thinks professionaly about strategy , it's a pure thing , in law , generals , captains at sea , engeneers , the skeleton is logic , the resolution s are flesh an bone , hung on later.

  36. I found Ms. Ioffe's presentation to build mini-straw men and then knock them down. I mean that she characterizes some one or some topic in a way that is misleading or exaggerated at best, false at worst, and then "exposes" or disparages what she's deceptively built up. For example, she characterizes what some politicians and journalists have written regarding the extent of influence of Russian cyber attacks in favor of Trump, against Clinton. She then lists many factors other than Russian interference which influenced the outcome of the elections. But of course, nobody has ever said that Russian interference is what made Clinton lose/ Trump win. IN fact, for months, it was disputed on all sides, our intel folks, the press, whether Russian interference had any effect at all. Clapper eventually came out and said he felt it must have had an effect, i.e., part of what made her lose. He has never said opposite, and indeed, he insists along with most journalists that Clinton did an awful lot to lose the election. This is explicitly stated by most hournalists who say, Trump did not win, rather Clinton lost Ms Ioffe completely ignores this, uses a straw man characterization of the press as if they were saying the entire results were due to Russia.
    At some points, I honestly cannot tell what exactly she's saying. For example, in her vignette about Cohen contacting Putin's associate directly, trying to contact Putin, I guess, is she being sarcastic in giving us the Sanders-Ivanka analogy? Is she saying it did not happen? Again, I find her disparaging other writers who may not have had the life or reporting experience that she's had to be really in poor taste. If one has spent ten years living among tribes of gorillas, one sure would know more about gorilla culture than those who have not. But she's downright snotty and disdainful in her tone of superiority.

  37. G Kasparov and J Ioffe, what do they know about Russian politics? Gk lost to a computer playing chess. I mean he was pretty good but obviously not smart enough to just unplug the machine.

  38. 14 year old girl reads some fantasy narrative put out by the same retards that lost Clinton the election. Sure, Putin is an asshole despot murderous dictator
    but your cleavage-based post-facto spin is not funny enough to watch all the way through. Oh, hello from the future, Mueller's in and there was no collusion.

  39. The Republicans have been on their knees for so long they have lost the ability to stand fully erect with any kind of respectable righteousness as American leaders.The WH has turned into a Jim Jones cult fest, awaiting the trump-infused kool aide drip…lol yuk!. We need a full lobotomy of the cabinet to remove all memory of this stain from modern history. What a disaster. What a stain to our name, to our overall brand as a country and the entirety of the establishment.

  40. It would be great to watch them react toThe Mueller Report and also to AG Barr. Their views on Hilary Clinton and the Obama administration’s handling of the election would be interesting as well.

  41. Putin sucks at Judo! He lied and staged all his assassinations to get sympathy from dumb, docile Russians and scare off the smart ones. His policies have had opposite impacts across the world… America is simply too fat and lazy for a civil war it could never work and the KGB of all people should have known this. They know to promote communism in meditation communities. But they have no idea that the CIA's real secret plan was to install fast food restaurants all over America. It makes most too fat to revolt. And I don't know if Russia has McDonalds or Burger King but if there aren't enough stores which I suspect there isn't then the population will surely revolt against Putin.

  42. Comments turned off , have a civel fight , if necessary: yell , but move twords a resolution , work , if you want to change my mind , show me , share your reality , your view , be clear , be short an concise , be human , let's find a way out of this hole.

  43. an hour and a half talk and none speak about Netanyahu role in Trump-Putin phenomenon shows who is in control of MIT generated narratives.

  44. Now, April 2018, she turns out to be exactly correct. That’s because she understands Russia and the way the American press creates the narrative

  45. Julia is just AMAZING,the interview by dateline,I believe, is where I first listened to her and wow Amazing,I hope to see her for many years to come. She was made for TV reporting👍

  46. Would love to hear her latest take on things. I also would love to know how long Trump has been successfully funding his buildings and being financially involved with Russian oligarchs.

  47. Julia is really good, but Kasparov is stupid, my God he is blind…… God knows who he is working for….. but his analyses is just total mess……. nothing to do with reality

  48. Kaos is Order not yet deciphered. Perhaps the Russian , American " alliance " can be understood
    in Rev 17 : 1 – 18 . The Beast has the Mouth of Lion , the feet of a bear Rev 13 : 1 – 3 …. as of
    May 1 , 2003 POTUS 43 GWBUSH guilty of the great Transgression , self DIEFIED BLASPHEMY
    The Curse of the whole earth!! All made possible by the human sacrifice of Sept. 11 , 2001
    Rev 11 : 13 , 14 . The Feet of da Bear is clearly Russia and Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin …

  49. Boo Hoo hildabeast had her election bash stolen. AFTER she blew 10 million for fireworks. Its ok. Take some more money from the democrat base to pay for it

  50. I notice in these comments many thoroughly Anglo names, followed by dismissive or insulting remarks, filled with mistakes in English which no native speaker would make, especially mishandling of articles (a, the, an). Draw your own conclusions.

  51. такой красивий дэвушка и такой джинсы туда сюда носит
    "ужас.. "
    Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

  52. Yes, the United States government talks about what an incredible threat Iran is. Meanwhile, Iran is surrounded by American military bases and we are in the Waters just off of their country. Who is really threatening who here? Furthermore, America is going out of its way to make Russia out to be the bogeyman in order to create another cold war. Hey America, what’s the one thing that America still manufactures? That’s right, armaments and to sell armaments you need wars. Just look at the atrocities we committed in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. She talks about a document that was created by the national security agency, CIA and the FBI and we are supposed to believe this BS. What was the rhetoric from these agencies before we invaded Iraq (both times) or before we invaded Vietnam? If she is such a great student of history, why doesn’t she go back and discuss all of the Russian propaganda the United States perpetuated during the Cold War and how it compares to what was actually the truth? Oh no, you will need to go do that yourself!Same old BS. Sorry America, the elite are stealing from you every time they decide to go to war in some foreign country. Just take a look at our deteriorating infrastructure which was rated a D+ and the ungodly cost of healthcare in the United States. Also, all of our regulatory agencies have been captured by industry and these corporate crooks are feeding on the American public at our expense. Of course, the agencies that are supposed to protect us don’t fund properly the investigative/enforcement departments of their respective agencies (just like the investigative sections of media have been significantly downsized) However, your government wants to distract you with fear so they may carry out these disastrous agendas. Wake the f**k-up America! How many times does your government need to lie to you before you call bullshit? For all you guys know, this woman could easily be working for the CIA. Do you guys have any idea how many people work for the CIA? There’s a great video on YouTube when the director of the CIA was actually being questioned by the Senate intelligence committee on their influences in media.

    Oh my God, she states that they (the Russians) made us look bad when Russia brought Hillary Clinton’s shameful behavior to light and the DNC’s corruption behavior which likely cost Bernie the Democratic nomination. I’m sorry, the US, Hillary and the DNC own what happened in the last election that and the fact that Russia brought it out, should not be held against them! Bottom line with the spin, Hillary Clinton was responsible for losing the 2016 election. Yes, the same old Hillary Clinton who went out of her way to character assassinate women/young women who were taken advantage of by her husband. Yes people, she was the enforcer and she always knew of Bill’s escapades and covered up for him (she is a sick woman). American’s think they know so much and the facts of history makes it very clear, Americans really know very little! God save us all!

  53. Maybe they did maybe they didn't. But does US exceptionalism extend to it being the only country that can do that?

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/07/the-us-has-a-long-history-of-election-meddling/565538/

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