Garry Kasparov rose to fame as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985, and after 20 years as the world’s top-ranked player, shifted his focus to human rights in 2005. Since then, he has become internationally recognized as a pro-democracy activist in Russia, frequently speaking out against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Real News From TheBlaze Thursday, Kapsparov explained how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have been accelerated by the Olympics, describing the games as like a “drug for dictators.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits city facilities in Sochi, Russia, Friday, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits city facilities in Sochi, Russia, Friday, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

“Everyone believed — and some of the papers here, even the Wall Street Journal — talked about a ‘thaw’ [in international relations] during the Olympics. To the contrary! The two weeks during the Olympics were the worst during Putin’s rule.”

Kasparov said that as the world’s attention was focused on the Olympics, Putin “put people in jail; there was the end of the big trial against pro-democracy activists; they attacked the free press,” and Russian forces also invaded Ukraine.

“I think Putin wanted to use [the] Olympic Games as a cover-up for his final attack on anything that is left in Russia, or in Ukraine, [that] could challenge his power,” Kasparov summarized.

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