Kasparov accused of promoting extremism in radio broadcast

CHESS grandmaster Garry Kasparov now faces investigation by the Russian intelligence service, the FSB, for promoting "extremism" in a radio interview just before his arrest at a bloody weekend democracy protest in Moscow.

Although pictures and reports from the weekend clampdown by police on marchers in two Russian cities made headlines across the world, it was barely mentioned in much of the national media in Russia itself.

Instead, pictures of pro-Kremlin supporters at a separate rally in Moscow dominated the news agenda. The arrests were mentioned in reports, though the most vivid and detailed articles generally appeared on the internet.

The successors to the KGB confirmed last night it would be scrutinising an interview by Mr Kasparov on Moscow's Echo Mosky radio station, which it believes incited "extremism".

The FSB demanded the station must hand over transcripts from an interview with Mr Kasparov earlier this month to promote the weekend rallies, arguing that this could amount to support for extremist activity.

The former chess player, who still ranks as the world's number one, was led away in handcuffs before even making it to the start of Saturday's march.

One of the few hints from Russian authorities of a possible over-reaction came from the St Petersburg governor, Valentina Matviyenko, who has ordered a review into the police behaviour, to assess if riot police exceeded their orders.

The crackdown in Russia's second city was even more severe than in Moscow, claimed some Russian reporters, who have followed rallies organised by the "Other Russia" movement to protest against the Kremlin.

"The suppression of the opposition demonstrators by police has never been more harsh," said Kommersant newspaper, which claimed two of its reporters were hit with police truncheons, along with protesters.

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