Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: "We are doomed to success"

The sixth president of FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is considered "a master of making brilliant game-changing moves in politics, an excellent negotiator and an authoritative mediator in many sensitive issues of international relations." After he left the post of head of Kalmykia, his name appears in the media with enviable periodicity because of his business activities.

- Is there a difference between how business is conducted in Russia, Europe and Asia? 

- Each country has its own peculiarities depending on religious traditions or politics. However, business is business everywhere. Since the times of a primitive society, there are laws of commodity-market relations: buy cheap and sell high. The formulas are the same: commodity-money-commodity or money-commodity-money. 
Moreover, people are the same everywhere, and relations between them are similar. If a state or entrepreneur has an intention to make a profit, then it does not matter if the country is a federal republic, a monarchy, or is ruled by a military regime. Any country is interested in increasing the tax base and creating new jobs. The main thing is the ability to negotiate. 
- In Buryatia, you visited the residence of Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov. What did you feel when you contemplated his incorruptible body? 
- I felt what a student feels when he comes to the Great Teacher. In general, the high level of spirituality of the Buryat people is worthy of admiration. I am happy that Buryatia was able to keep itself as the centre of Buddhism in Russia. Kalmykia, unfortunately, suffered another fate: during the years of Soviet power, everything that pertained to religion was destroyed here. Not even a single khurul survived in Kalmyk soil. We had to rebuild the temples, and the first of them, Sakusn-Sume, was built in 1996. Now there are about 30 churches, including Orthodox, in our republic. Spirituality is reborn, which means we are doomed to success. 
- It is known that you spend much time on religious issues, such as attempts to organize arrival of the 14th Dalai Lama in Russia. 
-I really appreciate the trust that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has in me. But, unfortunately, the political interests of China in this matter prevail over the spiritual needs of the Buddhists of Russia. I am acquainted with His Holiness since 1990. I helped organize the first visit of the spiritual leader of all Buddhists in the world to Kalmykia in the summer of 1991. Then he again visited our republic in 1996 and 2011. And I believe that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama will again visit our country. 
I try to provide all possible assistance to both Buddhist and Christian denominations. For example, at the request of Patriarch Alexei II, I allocated $ 5 million for reconstruction of the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. Recently, they asked me to support the building of a Buddhist temple in Nepal. Our students studying in the monasteries of India often call and ask for help in solving their problems. I understand how important spiritual development is for all of us, so I try to help as much as I can. 
- You visit many countries. What cuisine do you prefer? 
- I like pasta with canned meat and scrambled eggs with onions – that’s what I used to eat in my student years. I travel a lot. I visit about three countries a week, so I try to choose neutral dishes. In general, I am indifferent to food. 
- You move around the world so much that we are compelled to ask you: “how long does your working day last”? 
- It's hard to say. I sleep about 3-4 hours. This habit formed in the college when I studied Japanese. We had to cram round the clock to learn 80 thousand hieroglyphs. I got used to go to bed at 2-3 o'clock in the morning and get up for classes at seven. By the way, this habit helps in work and especially with frequent time zone changes. However, it is more difficult to adjust to sudden change of temperature. The year before last, I was in Kenya, where it was +45 degrees, and then I urgently needed to fly to Naryan-Mar, where the air temperature dropped to 38-40 degrees below zero.
- Do you play sports? 
- Of course, (smiles) I play chess.