• This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," December 8, 2007.

    PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Garry Kasparov in the match of his life. The former world champion is taking on the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin and he will tell us why.

    Plus, Fred Thompson has his flat tax. Mike Huckabee has his fair tax. But who has got the better idea is? What are the other presidential hopefuls proposing? Our panel breaks down the candidates tax planes after these headlines.


    GIGOT: Welcome to the JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT: I'm Paul Gigot. Though he retired from professional chess in 2005, world champion Garry Kasparov finds himself in the match of his life with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In September, Kasparov was chosen and by a coalition of Russian opposition parties to be its nominee for president this spring in an election that is widely expected to see victory for the Kremlin backed candidate. I recently sat down with Kasparov and asked him why he was making the run.


    GARRY KASPAROV, CHESS CHAMPION AND RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: It is making a statement. It is very important that the Russian people to see that there is an alternative even though we know this election even cannot be called an election. It is faked. Staged to cover up the police state built by Putin and his cronies.

    But we have to use every opportunity to carry our message and to tell the Russian public and tell the rest of the world we are there and it is not as simple as Putin wants to pretend.

    GIGOT: Now, you have described Putin's regime as a government as authoritarian but also more specifically as a mafia kind of regime. What do you mean by that?

    KASPAROV: It means that the state industries, the businesses, they are under the control of groups that are loyal to Putin. Loyalty is number one priority for making appointments or eliminating people from the top positions.

    Also, it works in the interest of the very few as we say in Russia, all state profits are privatized and state expenses are nationalized.

    And this regime has allergy (ph) for blocks (ph). It is like mafia style capitalism. When every element, including foreign policy is turned into the bargaining chips to satisfy the interests of the ruling elite.

    GIGOT: How are you going to get your message out? Because most of the airwaves media, TV and radio, is controlled by the government now. How do you reach the public?

    KASPAROV: We have Internet which is spreading. It is 17 million or 18 million people who are already following the Internet although not more than 10 percent using it for politics.

    But also I think the spread of information depends on the willingness of the general public to receive the information. I feel that a lot of people in my country now want to hear answers to the questions they are asking every day. Why at the time of this enormous economic prosperity, 85 percent of Russians, roughly 85 percent of Russians cannot see benefits?

    GIGOT: But the opinion polls that we see suggest that Putin is actually very popular. How do you explain that?

    KASPAROV: Opinion polls in a police state, in a country where fear is spreading rapidly and also Kremlin has tight control of media cannot be trusted. Putin was never part of any political debate. You cannot confront him publicly. And I think that the whole construction, it is like a Kremlin propaganda balloon will disappear if we have two weeks on public illusion (ph).

    GIGOT: Putin had promised to step down after two years as president.

    KASPAROV: Did he? Dealing with Putin you have to read carefully what he said. Because Putin never made two year promises. He indicated.

    GIGOT: But let me put it this way. The Constitution says he should step down.