Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: "If a governor is working for his own benefit, then retribution will definitely overtake him"

In 2011, the first president of Kalmykia, the sixth president of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, spoke about what retired heads of regions are doing. He lamented the fact that the Council of Wise Men had not yet been created in Russia. He explained why he had never been a politician and did not close himself up "in the shell of political image". He also stressed that the governors are honest in their work, but it is very difficult for them not to conflict with the law.


- Kirsan Nikolayevich, what do the heads of the regions do after the resignation? What do you personally do besides chess? And may I ask you if it is difficult for the resigned regions’ leaders to go back to ordinary life? 

- Chess comes first. The Olympic movement and business projects are not that important. You know, when I left the post of President of Kalmykia, I was looking for a vacation, at least for a month. The fact is that my presidential timeline didn’t provide time for rest. For eighteen years, I have not been on vacation since 1993. I even never went to the doctor. Just recently, I had to go on a business trip to Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay or Chile. It turns out that I have not had a single day off, even one hour, since I left the presidency. That is my rhythm of life.
- Is there a chance for an ex-head of the region to remain in big politics after leaving his post? And in what capacity will he remain in politics:  a “quiet” senator in the Federation Council or, for example, a head of the political party?
- Of course, the strong regional leaders’ potential should be used. Take for example Shaimiev, Rakhimov, Fedorov and Rossel. It is impossible not to use their experience and influence. In this sense, I am interested in the experience of Japan, where the “Council of Wise Men” consisting of public and political figures was created. I think it would be useful for the Russians to learn from such experience and to pay more attention to such experienced people.
- Do you have the desire to return to big politics and, if so, what political force would you like to rely on? Who would you like to become your ally?
- You know, I have never been in politics, or rather I was not a politician. Although back in 1990 I was the youngest member of the USSR Supreme Soviet, I did not consider myself a politician. I am too forthright for this. I made a number of extraordinary statements from the need to introduce a confederative principle in the structure of our state to my meetings with Vanga, Bobby Fischer and aliens. If I were a politician, I would not have made such statements...
The higher a politician gets, the less sincere he becomes. And this is true not only for Russia. As the head of FIDE, I met with the heads of various states at least two or three times a week. And I can conclude: the higher a person climbs the career ladder, the more he is locked in the shell of his own image.
I managed to avoid this; therefore, I did not become a politician in the classical understanding of this term. I just always said what I thought and acted as I saw fit. Therefore, I do not need political forces. The form of my activity is changing, but not the essence.
- Recently, the dismissal of some governors from their posts was accompanied by corruption scandals. Is it possible for a governor to work today without conflict with the law, or is the system built so that such conflicts cannot be avoided?
- It is very difficult, especially if governor is working for his own or his household benefit, never mention his friends from the dacha cooperative. Retribution will definitely overtake such regional leader. I cannot imagine a wife of the mayor of New York, London, Paris, Ulan Bator, Seoul or Tokyo, who would be the first in the Forbes list. This would be the greatest scandal! She may be a super talented like Bill Gates, but then her husband will not be a leader of such a rank. This is a conflict of interest!
- Chess teaches logic, abstract thinking and taking well-calculated risks. Which of these qualities is needed most by the head of the region? What have you used most?
- I think, most important is abstract thinking. It is needed to speculatively see the model of the project that you are going to implement. And, of course, the ability to calculate. You just need to predict the situation for five to ten moves ahead.

Interviewed by Sergey Prudnikov, "Club of the Regions"