Chatter has begun about a possible easing of sanctions on Russia in the event of “progress” on a ceasefire in Ukraine.
But Garry Kasparov, the Russian political activist and former grand chessmaster is convinced scaling back Western sanctions would only serve to embolden the country’s leader, President Vladimir Putin — in Ukraine and elsewhere.
At a panel hosted by Reuters in New York on Tuesday, Kasparov used a line from the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones” to illustrate Putin’s position. He said Putin believes he has a trump card — “winter is coming,” and Europe needs oil.
Putin’s message to Russian elites affected by the tensions with the West has been to convince them sanctions will eventually be lifted.
“What’s critical now is whether the sanctions, European sanctions, will stay in place,” Kasparov said Tuesday morning on a panel hosted by Reuters and moderated by the news agency’s editor-at-large, Sir Harold Evans.
“Because the winter is crucial. Putin’s message to those elites and to Europe comes from ‘Game of Thrones’: ‘Winter is coming,'” Kasparov explained.