100 Questions to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

The columnist of the "Peasant Woman" magazine met with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov- the President of Kalmykia and the International Chess Federation (FIDE). They had conversation about all the relevant issues, from politics and chess to Lamaism and UFOs.

1. What is it like to be the first and exclusive?
The vocation.

2. What is more attractive to you: to be the Presented of Kalmykia or FIDE?
To be Kirsan. Everybody knows me as Mr. Kirsan. The sheiks, chess players and the waiters in Moscow or New York.

3. Is it easier to become a millionaire or to remain in power for many years?
It is easier to become and remain Kirsan. To be myself.
4. Is your decree allowing polygamy the real one of or the fiction?
I had a press conference and was asked: "What is the population of Kalmykia? ». I replied: “300000”. "And what is its’ area?" “76000 sq. km”. “And how do you deal with the demographic issue of so small population living in such a big area”? I joked about allowing the polygamy.
5. Was the becoming the Chess Champion of Kalmykia your first achievement in life?
My main achievement was becoming the Champion of the Republic among adults and thus proving than I was the smartest one in Kalmykia being 14 years old. I'm proud of that. Before that I was the winner of all cities and republics’ Olympiads in mathematics, chemistry and literature. In 1979 I became the winner of the All-Union Pushkin knowledge competition. It happened 180 years since the birth of Pushkin.
6. What is your favourite watch brand?
It is Sarkar now. My most memorable watch is ‘Raketa’ that my grandfather presented to me when I graduated from the high school with the gold medal.
7. Would Lamist Vatican be built in your lifetime?
It is in Elista already. Such sacred teachers as Ole Nydahl carry out their teachings in the capital of Kalmykia. We have built the largest Buddhist temple in Europe and the highest Buddha statue.
8. How many meters is its’ height?
12 meters 75 centimetres. These days we are going to set the 16-meter high Maitreya Buddha statue. The Buddha of the Future.
9. Did you try the crown of the World Chess Champion on in front of the mirror?
It weighs seven and a half kilograms. Thus, it is not so easy to try on. There are 1018 black and white diamonds. It is hard and made of the malachite. It was nice to hold it in the Savoy Hotel in Zurich when Garik Kasparov brought it from Paris.
10. Do you have a collection of pictures?
I do not collect anything. Nor pictures, neither diamonds. We were friends with Ilya Glazunov and often chatted. Many people gift me the pictures. I in return present them to schools and museums. The Dalai Lama gave me the thangka, which he brought from China in 1959 when the Chinese occupied Tibet. The traces of fire are visible on it. Thus, I'm not a collector. I take the life as it is.
11. Guru Bhagwan Osho Rajneesh was known to have had the collection of 99 Rolls Royce. How many cars of this favourite among the enlightened and spiritual people brand are in your collection?
I had six Rolls-Royces. I have presented a few to some people.
12. Is the Chess City in Kalmykia more important than Disneyland?
Definitely, it is. Chess gives the city the opportunity to join what is truly beautiful. Chess is the science, art and sports. The Disneyland is just the entertainment.
13. Wikipedia says that the planet number 5570 is named in your honour, is that true?
The astronomers from the Crimean Observatory wanted to name a star in honour of the president of Kalmykia - Kirsan in 1994. However, it was rejected by the New York Astronomical Union, which has existed over 100 years, explaining that cosmos bodies cannot be called after the politicians’ names. Moreover, I was elected president of FIDE and the Americans gave their permission in 1995. There are no planets and stars called even after Kennedy. I am the only politician whose name was used to call a small planet.
14. What is the most beautiful language of those that you know being a polyglot?
Russian has the seven colours of the rainbow. The Japanese defines forty colours.
Japanese owing to its precisions, clarity and consistency is the best.
15. Do you make decisions basing on astrology, tarot cards or some other magical rites?
One must believe in himself and believe in his mind. I do not deny that I have many friends who are fortune-tellers, magicians and astrologers. They make charts and predictions for me every day and month. This is much positive. But I'm guided by my intuition. I tell fortunes by the cards and beans. As a chess player, I have to calculate every step not for two moves ahead but for ten and fifteen at once. In addition to the intuition one needs the clear calculation.
16. Is your right cerebral hemisphere dominant over the left?
My two hemispheres are fighting each other since the childhood. The right hemisphere calls for the movie. The left offers to read a textbook. This is my main struggle and anguish. Making choice between the pleasure and business.
17. Does occultism play a big role in your life? Do you often meet psychic or the prophets?
Quite often. We are not alone in the universe and everything is interconnected. There are people who see the human aura. We see only the skin but they see the yellow, red and green glow... We are transferring into some universe and our universe is transferring into another and so on. Starting with the gypsy fortune-tellers, I absorb the energy of non-standard people like a sponge.
18. Do you believe in UFOs?
As per official USA records, NASA registers the average of about 4,000 contacts. I believe in the flying saucers and saw them. I have seen them several times. For the first time I saw them when I was about 9 or 10 years old when the sun was setting at about 7 or 8 p.m.  There was a large plate hovering over the edge of town at the height lesser than an average helicopter’s. Twenty boys watched it with me. Cows were grazing nearby; we were playing at the field. And then that miracle happened. The dogs flattened back their ears in fear and were trying to dig themselves into the ground to escape the ultrasound, which came from a flying saucer, while we watched it with our mouths gaped.
19. What supports your vitality and what do you need in your life?
I am able not to eat for days. I am attached to nothing. Not to things. Not to life. Not to doping. I feel fine if there is some alcohol or a woman around. If not, I don’t mind. If I have my own plane, well, I will use it; if not, I will fly in an economy class. If my car was delayed I will use the underground. I am high because of it; I fell happy that I am free from the conventions of being a president. I can wear a watch for a million dollars or may not wear it at all.
20. Why the XIV Dalai Lama has not yet moved to you, despite you have officially given him the political asylum?
Russian Foreign Ministry does not give the visa, even the transit one. It’s remarkable. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and he is not it the list of Interpol. That madness is happening due to the fear of spoiling the relations with the Chinese. We do not ask a neighbour who may we invite to tea or ask Ukrainians whether it is possible to let Paul McCartney sing in the Red Square to disrupt the sleep of nearby Lenin. Insanity.
21. Who is closer to you- Kasparov or Karpov?
Bobby Fischer. I paid him the debt of the Soviet Union- $ 100,000 for his book published in the Soviet Union. With my own money. I did it in his apartment in Budapest. I told him that I owe everything to the Soviet Union, including the upbringing and education. Therefore, the debt of the USSR is my debt. United States gave him 10 years and the millions of dollars in fines because Fisher torn the American flag and called them the terrorists and aggressors after the aggression against Yugoslavia. Each country has its attitude to the Great Recluse.
22. Apart from chess, what other non-traditional school subjects are required for young Kalmyks? Could it be the horse riding?
Owing to chess the students’ progress has improved by 40 percent. Recently 960,000 graduates of the whole Russia have passed the exams. Kalmykia was in the first place according to the number of scored points. It outmatched the Moscow and St. Petersburg schools. This is the achievement of chess.
23. Do you remember the meeting with Pope John Paul II?
We have been friends since December 1993. He was a chess player. I presented him the chess set, he set the pieces and said: "Young man, please solve the chess task ‘checkmate in two moves’ ". I could not. It turned out that in Krakow, when he lived there, the ‘Krakow truth’ paper published the chess etudes compiled by the priest Wojtyla every Saturday. He was the FIDE master in chess.
24. Your biography is called ‘`The President`s Crown of Thorns’." The title is pompous and positions you as the Messiah ...
I just wrote about my thoughts and feelings. I do not have the great aspirations.
25. What ties you with the Bulgarian clairvoyant Vanga?
The Grandma Vanga rarely met anyone, however, we had dinners together and met and spoke dozens of times. I often asked her: "How do you know the past?" She replied: "I do not know." She was just a conductor.
26. Do you get tired of answering the same questions?
No. I am being entertained by journalists. In Ukraine, a pretty journalist asked me out of the blue: "Would you really shelter the Lenin Mausoleum in Kalmykia if they decide to remove it from the Red Square?" I answered: "Yes, I just received the telegram from the Swiss Union of Communists who is willing to provide the financial support for this matter."
27. If you had an opportunity would you shelter all the monuments destroyed during the revolutions and coups in Kalmykia, making the museum of the defeated shrines?
Yes. There is the monument of our Tsar Alexander in Paris. The Soldier-Liberator monument is in Berlin. Lenin is placed together with Buddha at the square in Elista. And everyone gets along fine.
28. Which are the most beautiful girls?
The main thing they should be beautiful. The Japanese, Kalmyks and Swede. It's like a being in a certain mood to drive a car. In the morning I prefer Mercedes and BMW in the evening. Some likes ‘Zaporozhets’ (cheap Russian car,-Ed.).
29. Your attitude towards money?
They must be treated well and with care.
30. Who inspires you the most?
All is momentary. We sit with you. I'm resting. You inspire me. Soon I will go home. Drink some tea. The tea inspires.
31. What is your favourite drink?
Kalmyk salted tea. The tiled pressed tea is brewed in the three-litre pot. Then you add milk and simmer it. After that add salt and oil. After you mix it 108 times with ladle you would get the tea of teas! However, Pushkin did not like it but Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov did. Anna Smirnova, his grandmother, was the Kalmyk.
32. Do you consider yourself as the talented Renaissance man?
Of course, not, although I was the excellent student with the top marks in the school. However, it always seemed to me that in studies, sports, business and politics there are people who are more talented than me. I'm always dissatisfied with myself. Thus, I want to be better and be able to catch up on everything. 100 or150 years of our lives mean nothing. Before our times people lived at least 80,000 years. We are working out our existence on the Earth.
33. What is the meaning of the name of Kirsan?
In the Tibet language it means the Gold. The Grandma Vanga used to call me ‘the small piece of gold’.
34. Are people of Asia and Europe different?
We all are Eurasians. "I was born in the camp of nomads practicing Buddhism”, - wrote Velimir Khlebnikov. This was our Kalmyk avant-garde poet. He called himself a Mongol. He was born in Kalmykia and became the master of the Russian Futurism. In 1993, I put a monument in the desert to the Chairman of the globe, the King of Time- Velimir Khlebnikov. We publish his books, hold international conferences, celebrate his birthdays and made his Museum.
35. For how many years Kalmykia was the part of Russia?
Khlebnikov wrote about Kalmykia: "India, China, Russia and Europe are all mixed up here." He called Kalmyks "the fragments of East and West." We came to Russia from Inner Mongolia 400 years ago.
36. Artemy Troitsky called you ‘the continental Japanese’. Is this the right term?
Absolutely true and original.
37. Are you a dreamer?
I'm a dreamer. I love to dream about the temples. When I was born there was not a single temple in Kalmykia. And now there are 45. Who could think that the Kalmyk boy, the son of a shepherd, would suddenly become the President of FIDE?
38. What the President is dreaming of today?
I work twenty-five hours. My dreams concern Kuwait and Lukoil. I have signed the agreement on the building of some of the largest gas processing plants in Europe. I want to rebuild the airport. I want to start to build the railway line connecting Elista, Astrakhan and Volgograd. The port should be built on the Caspian Sea.
39. What childhood dream you have not yet implemented?
Become an astronaut and a tankman.
40.  Is the healthy lifestyle the policy of the state or yours’ personally?
It is the Government policy. The smoking in the public place is fined 500 roubles.
41. Are you in the favour of the Kalmyk Khanate or the Russian Empire?
I agree to be Kalmyk Khan if there would be the Russian Empire.
42. In your opinion, when and after what events the world started to talk about Kalmykia?
In 1993 I firmly said: "I can live without Kalmykia. Kalmykia cannot live without me". Let the world talk about Kirsan. Then the world would talk about Kalmykia. And so it happened.
43. Is there in Kalmykia the censorship of erotica, porn and selling the men's magazines?
There are the Playboy, Penthouse on sale. If something is beautiful it should exist.
44. Please call the names of some of the great Kalmyk who influenced the history of the world, except you?
David Kugultinov, Vladimir Lenin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Fedor Plevako.
45. Do you dream the prophetic dreams, and if so, on which day?
After I meditate.
46. Is there a war you would have supported or the peace for the sake of which you would unleash the war?
Any violence is unnatural in Cosmos. I propose the politics to settle their disputes with each other at the chessboard.
47. What kind of vacation you love most?
To sleep.
48. Do you spend more time watching TV or Internet?
I don’t know how to use the internet. I know just TV.
49. What mobile phone do you use?
The Nokia only.
50. In what cities of the world you have your houses or apartments?
I used to have houses in Los Angeles and Lausanne ... Currently I have sold everything and invested the money in the temples. Every temple that I built is my home.
51. Would you easily transfer all your authorities and positions to God after His coming to the Earth?
I would give everything to the Buddha of Love.
52. What kind of clothes are in your wardrobe?
I wear the training suits at home and at work.
53. Do you prefer hot or cold weapons?
They always gift me the sabres and rifles at my birthdays. I give away all these to my assistants. I don’t like either.
54. What is the name of the modern movie that you like?
When I eat, I watch TV series ‘Cursed Paradise’.
55. Please tell us about few meetings of the President with the ordinary people?
Once I entered the underground passage. A president in the underground is like a movie star. Two men came running to me and said that they had been arguing if it was me or not. I said, of course it’s me. Then they started to claim that any Chinese can call himself Kirsan and asked for the proof. I laughed and showed them a paper signed by Putin. They were stunned.
Another day I used the taxi. When it was time to pay- 300 or 500 roubles, I found only dollars in my pocket. I gave the driver 100 dollar and asked if it was enough. Then he noticed that he had taken me to the embassy of Kalmykia and said: "Now I know who you are! Kirsan, put your signature on it otherwise no one would believe". That is how he got such an artefact.
56. If you ever decide to go to a monastery, what religious denomination it would belong to?
I want to go to a Catholic one. I was very close to Pope John Paul II. I spent three days in the monastery in Assisi and I had peace of mind and felt well there.
57. Please describe in short the first decade of the current century.
The vibration. It’s like a plane that shakes in turbulence. Today the whole world shakes. There is the vibration of the society, minds, economy... We will come to the negative or positive denominator in the ten’s decade. However currently it is shaking up to the limit.
58. What is your favourite anecdote?
It is about me. There was a drought In Kalmykia. The elders sent the President Kirsan to the clouds of God to ask Him to turn on the tap and give water to the Earth. Kirsan came and asked God. God sat and kept silent. They sent him for the second time and the same thing happened. Then the elders decided to send the Vice President Bogdanov. He went and succeeded.  God got up, turned on the tap and the rain poured over Kalmykia.  Bogdanov asked: "Lord, why did you choose me, the Vice President, but not the President?" God said to him: "You see, with Kirsan it is dangerous to leave the throne because he would immediately take it."
59. What is your favourite dish that you would like to be spread all over the world?
The pasta with stewed meat.
60. What smell does fascinate you?
The wormwood of the steppe. I like the smell of the sea. Maybe I would like the smell of Mars where everything is burned.
61. Do you feel a strong difference between what you are now and 14 years old boy that you have been once?
I am what I am always.
62. How many secrets do you have? Is there the exact number?
Of course, I have a few. Even now, there’s one secret owing to you. I'm sitting and giving the interview while I need to come down and talk with the guests from the Vietnamese embassy. It's the secret and that’s why it was uncomfortable for me to tell you about it.
63. Do you have something that you want to tell but the journalists have never asked?
I'm afraid there is nothing that wasn’t written about me considering the fact that they wrote about Kirsan Ilyumzhinov opening a restaurant that serves the fried cockroaches.
64. What do you stand for- the sun or the moon?
For the sun: it is the pot-bellied Japanese; for the moon:  the Soviet country.
65. What kind of animal do you consider yourself?
I was born in the Year of the Tiger, from the cat breed.
66. What is the trait in people that is the most attractive to you?
The compassion, of course.
67. What is your favourite era in Earth's history?
I have had 69 rebirths. I lived in the times of the Inquisition. However, today and now I feel most comfortable.
68. How to distinguish the holy man from a madman?
By miracles.
69. Has the President the right to be lazy?
No. Although I am very lazy.
70. Are you working without holidays and weekends?
After I graduated MGIMO in 1989, I have been working without holidays and weekends. On every 1st of January I am at work at 9 am. I'm at work on my birthday, the 5th of April, when I go to the remote villages and work there.
71. Is it easier to govern in the modern world today than in the Middle Ages or in the Ancient World?
It is equally difficult.
72. Has your most dangerous game been played?
The game goes on since I was born playing with death.
73. Is the power able to spoil a man?
The people spoil themselves. They come up with some conventions. They consider it undignified to eat at McDonalds. They would rather go to some ‘Pushkin’ (the posh restaurant in Moscow,-Ed.). Why limit yourself?
74. What kind of the hair colour of the girls you like the most?
The beautiful one. I do not understand why blondes dye their hair to become brunettes and otherwise.
75. When did you surprise yourself for the last time?
When I managed to drag the company ‘Lukoil’ to the Republic of Kalmykia.
76. What is your favourite restaurant in Moscow or in the world?
Wherever they cook pasta with the canned meat.
77. What was your most expensive lunch?
I once ordered a $ 1,000 omelette with onions for myself and friends. They treated it as a special order.
78. Your reaction to the execution of Saddam Hussein shown on television?
Loathing. You cannot do it this way. I talked to him for hours. Night and day. We were friends. This campaign of intimidation is the American barbarism.
79. Who do you think is the most well-known prisoner of conscience in the world?
The last Panchen Lama who was taken from Tibet when he was nine years old. The Chinese are keeping him in prison for 10 years.
80. Can politics be a pure thing instead of being the dirty one?
It must strive to be such. The aspiration is important, even if you would never achieve the goal.
81. What did you see in the clouds last time?
The Mother of the Lord.
82. How did it happen?
I believe in phantoms. I have a photo in Elista. We flew in an airplane carrying the relics of St. Panteleimon. Then the monks decided to take pictures out the window. When later we looked at the photos we saw the Virgin Mary bending over a cloud.
83. Is there a sense in a religious book becoming the law instead of the constitution like the Koran in the countries practicing fundamentalism?
Kalmykia has abolished the Constitution. In 1994 the ‘Steppe Code’ was introduced, which has the 144th article with the words:" crouching at the feet of the Great Buddha "... I especially note the 10th article:" All the residents of the Republic of Kalmykia are responsible for everything that happens on the Earth. "
84. Could the religion be defined as the global politics and business, affecting not only this life but all the past and future ones?
The absolute is unique. The politic is the big business. Moreover, the religion is the quadruple of the politics and business.
85. What are the main imports of Kalmykia?
The electricity. Ours is the only region in the south of Russia, which doesn’t produce the electricity.
86. What are the main exports of Kalmykia?
The electricity. We are building the power station. After five years it would produce 1,000 megawatts, while 100 megawatts is sufficient for our Republic.
87. Are you are the honest president because you do not hide the fact that you are rich?
Everyone knows in the country that the God Almighty helps me to build everything - from the temple to the theatre.
88. Who in your opinion represents the Russian culture in the world?
Pushkin. The messenger from outer space.
89. Did you ever have bad habits?
I smoked for two years. Gave up in the first form in the school. I smoked a lot from five to seven years old.
90. How to become the king from a pawn in Kalmykia?
By playing chess.
91. Why is a queen piece more mobile than a king?
Because it is a queen.
92. What new rule would you add to a game of chess?
To play to the last pawn.
93. What is the national idea of Kalmykia?
As Dalai Lama says: "no matter how many temples you build in the world, what matter is to build a temple in the heart of every man."
94. Why do you think that the laws of chess are fairer than the laws or politics or the world?
Because chess is the concentrated image of the universe. Think over the following: chess is everywhere. Including the Mayas, Japanese and India. It is black and white. Good and evil. Life and death. Man and woman. 64 cells. The DNA is made up of 64 ‘bricks’".
95. It seems that the International Olympic Committee recognized FIDE as the only sports federation representing the interests of the chess players in the beginning of the Millennium?
Yes, and from that time he Champion Crown and the World Champion are the essential property of FIDE. We have the complete monopoly on chess in the world.
96. FIDE carries out the movement called ‘Chess in School’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger and anti-drug agencies throughout the world. Please tell us about the programme ‘Chess against drugs?’
There is no chess playing addict. And there is no doping among players. If there were a pill to become a smart all pharmacies would be filled with the buyers. When we signed the agreement with the Federal Drug Control Service last year I had a wonderful conversation with one of its’ leaders. He said to me: "Thank you, Kirsan for chess. You know, I was recently invited to the festival ‘Rock Against Drugs’ in St. Petersburg. It was absurd. All the musicians were stoned. The entire crowd was under the influence of the ecstasy”. It is absolutely ridiculous to put the club culture, which provokes addiction, at the service of the fight against drugs. The chess tournaments for children are totally different matter.
97. If you had the phone number of God what would you say to him?
Give me wisdom to wait for love while being good.
98. How do you calm yourself when you are anxious?
I imagine myself. After that- my home. Then the street where I was at the moment. Next- the surrounding area. City. I rise above. I can see Russia. Then the whole continent. Further-the Earth. I look at the solar system from the planet Sirius. And then I realize: "Everything is so beautiful. What is there to worry about?" And the problem disappears.
99. What are you going to do after you finish this interview?
I'm going to meet with the Vietnamese ambassador and the president of Vietnam Company "PetroVietnam" to discuss the agreement on the construction of the plant for the production of the ammonia in Kalmykia, which we have to sign in the presence of Medvedev. After that I will meet with the Americans concerning the power station. And then will be another meeting after which I will fly to Elista.
100. Which presidential decree would make people happy?
The one I have not yet written.