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.

An excerpt from an archival interview with the first President of Kalmykia Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who shared his memories of working with Vladimir Putin, appeared on the web. He named the main quality of the President of Russia, which is the desire to get to the bottom of everything. Because of this, the politician admitted, one agreement had to be rephrased twice.

Two years ago, the President of the World Chess Federation, the former head of the Republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, gave an interview to Evgeny Dodolev. Ilyumzhinov, among other things, spoke about his acquaintance with Vladimir Putin in the late 1990s, when the latter was not yet president of Russia.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made an appeal for a humanitarian revolution and announced that he was ready to become one of its active participants. Ilyumzhinov believes that "it is doubtful that the West will share with us truly advanced technologies today, and not scientific and technical second-hand". However, modernization is not limited to solving the problem of "catching up with the West" - the society must be ready for this.

In his opinion, the humanitarian environment in Russia has been destroyed over the past 20 years. Therefore, he proposed to create a humanitarian branch of the Skolkovo innovation centre in Kalmykia. It is assumed that "several hundred leading humanities scientists, whose enormous potential has not been adequately demanded in recent years and even decades" can work happily in new infrastructure, life, aura and atmosphere.
“I think it is our steppe, which is conducive to contemplation and reflection, remote from industrial sweatshops, ecologically clean and ontologically calm is most suitable for bringing together leading Russian philosophers and thinkers.

In May 2002, an event took place in Prague that many dreamed of but did not want to say so. The chess world has been united, and the title of world chess champion was the prerogative and even the property of FIDE. Then again, as in the good old days, one person will become the world chess champion, and he will be considered the best chess player on the planet. And all this happened at the chess summit, where the world's strongest chess players and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov gathered.

Following the summit, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov gave a long interview, an excerpt of which we present to the readers' attention.
- What would you highlight as the main decisions made at the summit in Prague?
- Perhaps the most important decision taken on May 6 at the council of leading grandmasters and chess players headed by Bessel Kok was the signing of an agreement in which two fundamental principles were fixed: 1. FIDE is the only organization representing the interests of chess players in the Olympic and sports movement;
2. FIDE is the official owner of the world champion title. Now, I hope, there will be no collisions like they were among Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov. Now the highest title is the property of FIDE, and only FIDE determines when and where the World Championships will be held.

 

Ilyumzhinov's attitude to money is surprisingly easy: you have it, it’s ok, you lose it, it’s all right. With the same amazing ease, he solves questions of his own safety: he always travels abroad without a bodyguard, and in Russia he goes everywhere alone, and loves to walk at night.

- Why shall I be afraid? I am a believer, - explains Ilyumzhinov. - What is destined is destined! No matter how they guarded Olof Palme or Rajiv Gandhi, nothing helped them. Now modern technology is such that if you are a target, no security will save you! Of course, I try not to go to places where bricks may fall on my head. Both in business and in politics I prefer to leave if I feel that I annoy someone. The earth is round and there is enough space for everyone!
Ilyumzhinov often travels in the Moscow metro. One day he saw two men there, and one says:
- Oh, look, It’s Kirsan!

 

- Much has been written about your acquaintance with Vanga. What do you know about your future?

- A lot. They often speculate on Vanga. I don't want to brag, but I was one of those with whom she spent a much time. Vanga did not speak directly about the future, only figuratively. I asked: "How do you like Kalmykia?" She replied: “I see an oasis. A blooming garden…". I was amazed to hear that because we had a semi-desert. Then she added: “Look for water. Water is more valuable than gold. "
How did she know that we have imported water from Dagestan? She did not study geography, did not know how to write. She has been blind since the age of 14. She was born in Macedonia and did not travel further than Bulgaria.
- Did everything that she had predicted come true?
- Nine out of ten predictions. In April 1995, Boyka Tsvetkova calls me. She asks: “Are you all right? Aunt has repeated several times that she saw two Kirsans. I took a plane and flew to Vanga. We had dinner; all her relatives were sitting around. Suddenly she pointed at me: "So thin, small, but occupies two chairs ...". And a few months later I was elected FIDE President.
- So, what fate did she predict for you next?
- I can't tell. Thought is material.
- Do you remember Vanga's phone number?

 

- I know the number of Tsvetkova. Then there were no mobiles, she brought an ordinary phone to Vanga. There is my photo on the first floor of the house-museum of Vanga. The stationary phone on which she spoke.
I came to Vanga a month before her death, in 1996. It was hot, I wanted to drink. I didn’t say anything to her and then I hear: “Why are you suffering? Have some water!" I poured it from a pitcher. "I know you are in a hurry," said Vanga. Indeed, I was in a hurry to Zurich. “Okay, fly. I'm going to die here. But you will remember me. Take the cup you drank from." I put it in my bag. "Won't you drink with me?" I took a second cup. "Where are you going to pour the water?" Taking the pitcher, I realized: this was our last meeting.

24.12.2010

 

 

 

- Much has been written about your acquaintance with Vanga. What do you know about your future?

- A lot. They often speculate on Vanga. I don't want to brag, but I was one of those with whom she spent a much time. Vanga did not speak directly about the future, only figuratively. I asked: "How do you like Kalmykia?" She replied: “I see an oasis. A blooming garden…". I was amazed to hear that because we had a semi-desert. Then she added: “Look for water. Water is more valuable than gold. "
How did she know that we have imported water from Dagestan? She did not study geography, did not know how to write. She has been blind since the age of 14. She was born in Macedonia and did not travel further than Bulgaria.
- Did everything that she had predicted come true?
- Nine out of ten predictions. In April 1995, Boyka Tsvetkova calls me. She asks: “Are you all right? Aunt has repeated several times that she saw two Kirsans. I took a plane and flew to Vanga. We had dinner; all her relatives were sitting around. Suddenly she pointed at me: "So thin, small, but occupies two chairs ...". And a few months later I was elected FIDE President.
- So, what fate did she predict for you next?

According to Ilyumzhinov, Vanga herself predicted this post. Going to an emergency FIDE meeting in Paris in 1995, he did not apply for the presidency. Florencio Campomanes, who was then at the head of the federation, simply invited the president of Kalmykia to be present at the meeting. His presence stretched for almost a quarter of a century. Almost all the delegates of the General Assembly voted for the candidacy of Ilyumzhinov.

The young businessperson became known in the chess world back in 1990, when he bought the Korloff crown from Garry Kasparov, which the latter won in a duel against Anatoly Karpov. Kasparov put up his crown for sale to help the Armenian refugees, and then Ilyumzhinov came to the rescue.
The first President of Kalmykia planned to raise the rating of his region by proposing to hold the 1998 Chess Olympiad in Elista and setting a record prize fund of the tournament - 100 thousand dollars. Since then, the status of the Russian chess capital has been entrenched in Elista for many years.

On June 1, the world celebrates Children's Day. We called Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and asked him to share his thoughts about this holiday. This is what he told us: “Children are the most precious thing we have; we live for them. Children are our future".

First President of Kalmykia, sixth FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov wished children and their parents happiness, health and peace. But he noted that love for children as any other love should be manifested not in words, but in actions, in deeds.
We publish an excerpt from the interview that Kirsan Nikolayevich gave in 2007, at the traditional VII international chess tournament in Kazakhstan.
- I am especially pleased to thank those people who work with children. Children do not have to become great champions later, such as Garry Kasparov, Robert Fischer or Nona Gaprindashvili, but practicing this sport helps people to become learned and purposeful.

12 years ago, we introduced chess lessons in schools of our republic. Now one hundred percent of children play it. Some have become masters, grandmasters and champions of Europe and the world. Most importantly, children have become more disciplined and learn better. In schools where chess is taught well, academic performance in all subjects has increased two to three times. Our Kalmyk children have already become winners of many international school Olympiads: in mathematics, biology, physics, literature and other sciences. That is, chess really reveals the intellectual abilities of our children.
In April 1993, one of the first decrees that I signed concerned exactly the support of chess in the republic. Later, at FIDE, we created the Chess in Schools programme.
At the first stage, the task was the most mundane: to teach children to play chess. And it was not a compulsory programme, but an optional one. But when school principals saw that in schools where chess was taught, even if it was optional, academic performance increased sharply and the number of children being brought to the police decreased, they also joined our programme.

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