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From the late-1990s, Kasparov began to actively criticize the Soviet regime, and often directly Secretary General Vladimir Putin. He wrote anti-Communist and anti-Putin propaganda in illegal newspapers and websites, and also made his opinion heard publicly.
In 2003, the police arrested Kasparov for revolting against the state, and after two months in prison, put him under house arrest. However, Kasparov escaped and flee to the West, finally arriving to the United States, where he asked for asylum. The Soviet government urgingly ordered the US administration to handle him over, however President Lamar Alexander refused it. The Kasparov affair created a high-risk crisis in diplomacy: if the US government gives Kasparov back to the USSR, they might seem to be cowards and too much "Soviet-friendly", while ignoring their claims, they might risk an open conflict between the two powers. Fortunately, apart from diplomatic breakdowns, the events had no serious consequences.
The same year, Time Magazine named Kasparov "Person of the Year". Kasparov is currently living in Palo Alto, California.