Russia as Aggressor: the view of Andrei Illarionov
Like Kasparov, Andrei Illarionov is highly critical of the current regime in Russia. A libertarian who served as an economic advisor of President Putin until 2005, Illarionov has strongly condemned Russia's intervention in Georgia and resigned in protest from his government position. He has also argued that Georgia is winning the battle of ideas due to its commitment to democracy and free market ideals. On his personal blog he writes,
"Sometimes I am reproached for giving too much attention to Georgia. I don't think so. As a matter of fact, I am convinced that I don't give enough attention to Georgia.
Because the topics that are often times superficially referred to as 'Georgian' are in reality not only Georgian, but to no lesser extent 'Russian'.
Because what is happening in Georgia is oftentimes the most visible and convincing alternative to what is happening in our own country.
Because what is happening in Georgia today gives us, Russians, invaluable lessons and perhaps can show us what our 'tomorrow' or maybe 'the day after tomorrow' may be like."
In a recent essay published in the book "The Guns of August 2008 Russia's War in Georgia" he writes that "… the Russian leadership had in fact taken very important decisions that made war between Russia and Georgia inevitable much earlier between September 1999 and June 2003." The war, in his view, was part of the execution of a "Grand Plan" that had existed for years.
Andrei Illarionov has authored several book chapters and published extensively in a number of Western journals including the Journal of Democracy.