FC Uralan played for five seasons in the Russian championship: 1998 - 2000 and 2002 - 2003. Its highest achievement was the seventh place in the championship and the semi-finals of the Russian Cup-2000. The main hero of Uralan has always been President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. In parallel with his activities at the club, he was the head of Kalmykia, and he had grandiose plans for Uralan. After the championship of Uralan in the first league in 1997, he arranged a holiday at the city square, handed over the keys to brand new cars to all the footballers. And after "Uralan" beat "Spartak" (1:0) on its own stadium in 1998, it gained two players - midfielder Alexander Ignatiev and goalkeeper Andrey Samorukov. 

14 04 22Once again taking the presidency, Florencio Campomanes faced unsolvable problems. There was no money for the men's and women's qualifying rounds, FIDE was on the verge of bankruptcy. The opposition demanded Campo's resignation, and in 1995 he abruptly relinquished the presidency in favour of the still unknown Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. The 1996 Congress confirmed the powers of a prominent businessman and the President of Kalmykia.

The next elections were scheduled for 1998, but Ilyumzhinov's opponent Bashar Kuatli resigned claiming in the press that he feared for his life. Meanwhile, the new president launched knockout tournaments, attracted serious money to chess and made attempts to unite the chess world. 


Brezhnev spent most of his time at his dacha in Zarechye, and Lama – the name of the cat – settled with him. It was given a separate room.
Leonid Brezhnev first became acquainted with the cat's prophetic abilities on January 22, 1969, when the country was celebrating the return of three Russian cosmonauts to Earth. Cars with heroes and members of the government were greeted by jubilant Muscovites. As soon as the government ‘Chayka’ approached the Borovitsky Gate, a man fired. He confused cosmonaut Georgy Beregovoy with the head of the Soviet state.
As a result, the astronaut was injured. Brezhnev, however, remained unharmed. Strange thing was that all that morning the fluffy security guard did not leave his master for a split second so that eventually they had to lock him up. Then Brezhnev remembered the strange way Lama acted. There were many such cases when the cat literally saved the Secretary General.
In March 1982, Leonid Brezhnev went on a trip to Uzbekistan. The visit’s schedule was tight, and the security team decided to exclude a visit to some aircraft plant. But Brezhnev suddenly balked. The head of security, Ryabenko, said Lama was also against it - the cat made a real riot in the residence, but this only made Brezhnev to insist on his decision. With a minimum number of guards, the delegation arrived at the plant. In the assembly shop, the rafters that supported the nearly finished aircraft suddenly creaked.

Every head of state has an army of guards, tested and trained. But in the history of the CPSU, there was a very unexpected bodyguard.

As you know, during the Cold War, India was a close partner of the USSR. A Soviet delegation arrived in a friendly country in early 1969. A luxurious reception awaited them. The ambassador to Delhi, Mikhail Pegov, presented local politicians and artists to Brezhnev. The diplomat introduced the Secretary General to the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama looked into the eyes of Brezhnev and did not unclench his handshake for several minutes. “You suffered a heart attack 13 years ago,” he said. “And you are also in danger in the near future.” Brezhnev was startled. Indeed, he had a heart attack in the past, but he tried to laugh it off. Then the Dalai Lama asked permission to present a special amulet to the leader of the USSR. “You should feed it raw meat and never part with it. Think of it as a talisman."

I was a sure candidate for the gold medal. In these circumstances to have provoked the teachers would have been suicidal. l couldn't rid myself of a vile and cowardly thought: "why should I stick my neck out when the others keep silent?.."

Russians love  abusive  hand-signs.  There's  the collectivist upbringing for you! You are  nothing,  a  nobody , while your collective is the important force. So don't stick your neck out, be like everybody else, a small cog in the wheel. And if baseness is universal then it cannot be called base at all, and you're better off not worrying about it. I,  like  everyone  else, have no mind of my own; ours are collective brains, the brains of a herd. And indeed, why should I behave  in  a  responsible manner? If you are caught in a gang fight you will be jai led for ten years, but if you act like a coward along with everyone else then it is no big deal! No one will arrest you because you have broken no law. Even if you have held your tongue, what does i t matter? The whole country has been  silent  for  seventy  yea rs and it still manages to survive.
It is true, that these cowardly thoughts did occur to me. But then one day my true, inner self suddenly  awoke, rose up and rebelled . To hell with the gold medal! Damn these people! Enough is enough! I am sick and tired of it all!
I spoke out at a class meeting. I exposed the whole corrupt system, revealing bow the teachers systematically doctored our results, improving the grades of the children of prominent local Party officials. The senior school teachers immediately ganged together in defense of their "honor". Immediately me and my family came under heavy artillery fire; there was friction at my father's workplace, and my mother's bosses began to quibble with her work. And my fellow-pupils were summoned to the teachers' room, one by one, where they were brain washed.

On TV, Brezhnev kisses foreigners every day. The big shots openly steal and then  go on binges  at  their  Party dachas, and the entire population gets drunk year after year. The  level  of morality in the nation has dropped to zero.

Socialism has reached a pea k of idiocy. At night the whole of Elista sit glued to their short-wave radios listening  hard  to "The Voice of America'', "Radio Liberty", and the BBC through the KG B jamming signals and the static. We are a nation in search of spiritual and moral values. And  then suddenly...   The   unrest   in   Czechoslovakia.   To   the accompaniment of the song: "Do the Russians Want a War?" Soviet tanks squash the residents of Prague. Dubchek has been put under arrest. And in Moscow, people demonstrating against the invasion of Czechoslovakia are beaten-up.  Now it is an internecine scuffle.
Twenty-five years on and our citizens' blood will be  shed again, outside the walls of the White House. As yet  no  one knows about it. The country shudders  and  awakens  for  a moment. Quite a number of youngsters join the  hippie movement. They sedate themselves with drugs, and abandon society for the wilderness of the taiga where they set up communes. The intelligentsia crusades to rediscover  God  or goes  underground  and  begins  the   so-called   dissident movement. The men who will throw themselves in the path of tanks i n down town Moscow during the ill-named coup of 1991 have already been born.
My sensitive child's ears feed on  scraps  of  adult conversation . I can see and sense the discrepancy between how the grown-ups think and what they actually do. So I can't help asking myself a lot of questions. Nobody, however, wants to give me answers. "Ask your questions, boys, go on, ask your questions , and you fellows give straight answers," goes the
song by the famous singer Bulat Okudzhava . The husky voice of Vladimir Vysotsky is heard from the windows of every communal flat in our strangled, crippled Russia: "Will you heat up the steam-bath, dear. I've been out of touch with the wide world for quite some time." How ill-fated you are, Russia! "Where are you racing off to, Rus? Give me an answer! No answer".

I remember walking down the corridors of the institute's hostel. I had just been released and was feeling happy and affectionate, enjoying the sweet air of freedom.

- "Hi, Igor!" I shouted gaily at a young man with indifferent ice-cold eyes.
"I don't know you, young man."
Doors, behind which l had always been welcomed, were suddenly slammed shut on me. A new stage in my life was beginning which spelled "estrangement". People who have been through this situation  will  know  how  acutely oversensitive one becomes. You detect the faintest glance or gesture behind your back. You sense instinctively, with every inch of your soul, how the conversation will flag the moment you approach a group of your friends. You are an untouchable, surrounded by a dead zone.
l entered the canteen, joined the queue and sensed their curious and alert glances in my skin. I turned to some guys who were sitting at one of the tables and they stopped talking right away. All of those munching and drinking people averted their eyes from me. To them I was an Afghan-Iranian spy and any association with me might hold grave consequences. I was branded with the mark of Cain.
And then I was invited to visit Lubyanka again. I felt a chill between my shoulder blades. The institute's hierarchy were already in the know. But the explanations which I gave in the rector's office and the Party bureau won me nothing. Indeed, how could anyone be bold enough to speak out against the all­ powerful KGB? I was kicked out of both the Party and the institute. My circle of friends dwindled before my very eyes. l was exiled from life and treated me as a thing of the past.
That's how it was. l lived through all that. However, not everyone turned their back on me. Some people remained friends with me and were not afraid. I bow down to them.

As a boy I really believed that everyone in the West dreamed of sneaking into the Soviet Union and blowing up a factory, poisoning our rivers and wells or derailing a train. That was what we had been taught since childhood.  This kind of

information was rammed into us via movies, books and newspaper articles. They taught us to hate those who lived a better, freer and more secure life, and they awakened in us a vicious, beastly envy. He who lives better than me is an enemy or a thief. That was how they distorted the slogan of equality and brotherhood. If I am a fool, then everyone has to be a fool. The intelligent are enemies. If I do not want to work then you must not work either. That is equality for you.
Several centuries ago the divided and suppressed people of Rus were united around a great religious idea which transfom1ed the nation into a great power. Hitler united Germany with the notion of national superiority and selfishness. However, as a popular saying goes, don't take pride in your strength, since there will always be someone stronger than you. What will unite us now? Envy? Our sense of superiority? These are wild and unruly forces which wi ll certainly ruin whoever nurtures and releases them.
Five years ago I did not torment myself with these questions. At the time they did not appear to me in all their gigantic enormity. Then I was only fumbling for the tiny broken links in the chain.
Questionings, questionings, questionings. The lieutenant literally sank his teeth into me. He demanded the addresses of my friends and acquaintances. He intimidated and threatened me. He was desperate to win another pip for his shoulder straps and build a big case around me! Who knows, maybe luck would come his way. After all, in the heat of the moment Kirsan might blurt something out which would help construct a sure-fire case and get him hooked. I was driven to distraction by his never-ending questions: "What?  Where? When?  And with whom?"

I never set out to become the most influential member of my class and to boss others around. Had I done so they wouldn't have hesitated to give me a good thrashing.  The

pupils in my class were too independent and wilful to tolerate any authority. Yet I think the boys were drawn to me because I arranged so many parties, dances and excursions. Simultaneously, my relationship with my peers suffered because l was an excellent pupil and kept winning numerous school prizes. I couldn't help feeling guilty about my friends. We would set out on excursions together, or play a game of football and then the next morning I might still get top marks for my work, while they would only do adequately, or even badly. I felt as though I had hoodwinked them in some way, or had acted dishonestly. So, when people praised me to the skies I really didn't know what to do. My school year was regarded as capable but unruly. And sometimes our shenanigans did indeed infuriate our teachers.
"Okay, we will see who is a hero during the exams!" the teachers would say, "just you wait!" However, foolhardy as we were, we did not pay the slightest attention to what they told us. As exam-time approached even the most reckless of us grew more docile and quiet. No one wanted to get into conflict with the teachers. Naturally we all wanted to finish school with a normal certificate which would make it possible for us to study at an institution of higher education. The pupils' activity levels had risen visibly. Everyone zealously tried to improve his or her marks, preparing diligently for lessons, and raising a hand whenever our teacher asked this or that question.
The corrupt system of the Brezhnev nomenclature had become firmly established throughout the country and, as a result, many of the teachers shamelessly boosted the marks of their, shall we say, proteges. People were used to this. Our school No 3 was nicknamed "the children's home" because the children of almost all the prominent ministers, secretaries and members of the city Party Committee and the regional Party Committee of Kalmykia studied here. Simultaneously, the teachers penalized students who had no Party big shots to protect them. It was unfair; but we all maintained a gloomy

In 1993, when I was elected president of Kalmykia, there was not a single church there - neither Buddhist nor Christian. There was one dilapidated house of worship in Elista, where Father Zosima (bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, archbishop of Solikamsk and Chusovskaya - Ed.) served.

At meetings with veterans, I remember what my grandmothers and grandfathers told me: “Please, don’t pay much attention to business but build at least a small Buddhist prayer house so that we can pray there, learn about weddings (usually Kalmyks go to church to find out which day is the best for the wedding) and burials.”
Here are my memories of Buddhism. When I was little, about five or six years old, as soon as my parents left for work, my grandmother would close the doors, curtain the windows, and take out such a small Buddha from the chest (which I remember smelled of mothballs); laid a rug, hung a Buddhist tank and lit a lamp. She prayed and made me pray.
When I asked her why we didn’t pray openly, why we didn’t go to church, she answered me, looking out the window: “You will grow up, build a church, and people will go there.” I fulfilled my grandmother's wish; I built the largest Buddhist temple in Europe: 64 meters high. In general, I built 46 Buddhist temples, prayer houses and stupas in Kalmykia.

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