Steps of the Steppe Tiger

To read about the rich in Russia, where children and the elderly are starving, is truly unpleasant. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is a very wealthy man but unlike our country's overindulged scoundrels or pious moneybags, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is different. We publish this essay because he is an extraordinary individual.
All top scum united around Yeltsin in the autumn 1993. Despite what he had to lose, the only one to stand alone and to challenge him was Ilyumzhinov. While the regime was arranging the slaughter in the centre of Moscow, Ilyumzhinov risked everything to save the law system of the state. On October 4th, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of Kalmykia, went under flying bullets to rescue the besieged in the House of the Soviets. He was not risking his money or his real estate, he was risking his life.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. He used to say that he was not a democrat or a communist, he was a capitalist. However, he also said that he would undertake the preservation of Lenin's body, the enemy of capitalism, if Yeltsin threw it out of the mausoleum.
Not only did Ilyumzhinov receive Saddam Hussein's statues as a gift but also he is a friend to the ideological enemies of the Iraqi leader. He is steeped in the boiler of a vile commercial vehicle but believes that the cleansing of the soul is the main thing.
We do not know the essence of Ilyumzhinov. We state only the facts of his life and invite the reader to draw his own conclusions. Let us get acquainted with this unknown man, the man for a new era who is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
Some compare Ilyumzhinov with Genghis Khan, others call him a regional princeling and there are those who believe he is "Mafiosi". So who is he?
Ilyumzhinov is the richest politician in Russia today. The income tax alone, paid for by him, in full, amounted to 2,008,714,000 rubles. It was more than the annual income of Nemtsov, Boris Yeltsin, Chubais, Mintimer Shaimiev put together where the revenues of the country correspond to the president’s income. Just last year, the federal budget of Russia received about 500 billion rubles. Almost as much to the pension, fund. In1996 Ilyumzhinov earned 5,799,057,394 rubles
Meanwhile, the basis of his success as a true Buddhist is his attitude to his spiritual values. There are five churches of various denominations in the small country of Kalmykia, (population 320,000). Ilyumzhinov has donated about 20 million his own dollars to these churches.
He knows that "the world is cruel and harsh and the laws that govern us are imperfect and crude. Citizens need repentance today, since only mass spiritual purification will revive us for future life." He never forgets to follow the saying: "Trust in God and help yourself."
Kirsan was born on April 5th in 1962, the year of the Fire Tiger that denominates the peak of confrontation between the black and white forces. His father, an employee of the City Party Committee, believed that his son looked like his uncle, a hero of the Civil War, and wanted to call him Kirsan. Kirsan's mother, a hereditary veterinarian, thought that he was the image of her father and saw that the only name for him was Badma.
As a result, the birth certificate showed Kirsan; while at home and on the streets, everyone called him Badma. As a child, he climbed fire escapes, fought one on one, never lied or broke a promise and played chess with his grandfather who told him stories about his great-grandfathers, the Don Cossacks.
In 1813, one of them, a member of three cavalry regiments, took Paris. It was a striking spectacle for the French. Instead of the Russian Cavalry, there was a cavalcade of narrow eyed camel riders with their high fur hats entering the city a brisk pace. The curious from all over France came to view them. Among them was Honore de Balzac, who wrote the essay "The Kalmyks in Paris," and Alexandre Dumas was so carried away by the victories of the steppe horsemen, that he came to Kalmykia and wrote a book about it.
According to Nikolai Ilyumzhinov, Kirsan's father, his son excelled at chess, and at age of 10, he was elected the captain of the school team that traveled to competitions from town to town. In high school, he was a secretary of the school Komsomol committee and the head of the group "Vega". At that time, he learned to eloquently express his thoughts, to sing, dance and play the guitar.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov graduated school with excellent exam results. He decided to work as a mechanic in a factory and then serve in the army before going to Moscow Institute of International Relations and to the most prestigious at that time: the Japanese language class, where his brother Vyacheslav was a student. Later he passed exams brilliantly and studied easily. He was a member of the institute's party bureau, playing chess with the foreign ambassadors.
Obviously, he has always had a certain charisma. His smile along with the utmost sincerity charmed everyone who met him.
They say that in a short time of studying at the university he became friends with the son of Babrak Karmal and with the grandchildren of Brezhnev and Gromyko.
Kirsan, like a sponge, absorbed the customs and laws of the system, made his conclusions and never missed an opportunity to acquire the necessary connections. Like going to the countryside with people whom the institute professor had, for months, tried to get an appointment to see.
However, during his fifth year of study he paid a high price for his social success. His best friends photographed Kirsan with a background of empty bottles and foreign cars and wrote a denunciation to the KGB. The university believes that Ilyumzhinov was lucky. Perestroika had started.
Kirsan won in competitive tests for the position of manager in the Russian branch of the Japanese company, "Rainbow Face", leaving behind more than 24 competitors. He absorbed the nuances of the Japanese management system very quickly. He began to earn his first money. In 1989, he was earning $5,000 per month plus a percentage of each transaction. After a while, using his university connections in the CIS and abroad, he increased it to $10,000. He was also engaged in risky banking and stock exchange operations, investing his personal funds. He never lost. Relying on intuition and knowledge of the business, he accumulated big profits.
After his arrival to his parents’ home in Elista in 1989, Kirsan finally conquered his classmate, the beautiful Danara. That same year a son was born to the young couple. The family had lived in an ordinary five-storey building but it was not long before Ilyumzhinov built a mansion at the behest of his mother, Rimma Sergeevna. Kirsan and Danara were a happy family. "We never had a single quarrel in eight years,” he said.
It would be untrue to say that Kirsan was a man of an ascetic nature. He likes beautiful women, interesting people and original things, luxury cars and rich interiors. He lives in a big way, eating at Moscow's best restaurants with friends and contacts. He arranges big national holidays in Elista and presents horses to the guests of honour.
At this moment, there is a presidential stable in the Republic where you can see Kalmykia's best stallions. They belong to the Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti, King Hussein of Jordan, Boris Yeltsin, the Minister of Health Tatyana Dmitrieva and the chairman of the tax inspectorate of Russia, Alexander Pochinok.
The favorite horse of the President of Kalmykia is a three-year-old chestnut stallion, Gambit, of the Budennovskaya breed. It lives at the racetrack of Elista where Kirsan Nikolayevich comes periodically to improve his riding skills and to learn endurance in the long distance hurdle races.
Kirsan gifts not only horses, but also cars, apartments, houses, cottages and gets real pleasure from it. He has several luxurious mansions, acquired with his own money, in Moscow.
One of them is his Moscow office, designed for business meetings or conducting important negotiations. It was built according to his own design, within a year, from a long-abandoned, fire-damaged kindergarten with peeling walls and without doors or a roof, into a work of contemporary architecture. Its design boldly combines European style with the unique charm of the East.
Sometimes friends and acquaintances of Kirsan, along with members of his team, stay there for a number of days. Other times he receives his honoured guests in other residences, both in Moscow and Elista. Kirsan lives in his country house with a tennis court and swimming pool in the summer. He moves to a beautiful mansion in the heart of Moscow in winter. He likes to visit his large and comfortable villa when he goes abroad.
Two of his working offices in Elista and Moscow are full of souvenirs. There are presents from the Dalai Lama and the Pope, symbolizing the meeting between the host and the celebrities of the age or well-known politicians. The pen, which Ilyumzhinov uses, also a note of interest, cost $ 40,000. It is made in the form of a racing car.
Kirsan’s special passion are cars. He has about 50 of them. His favorite is a black "Rolls-Royce". Ilyumzhinov had it made to order in the small English town of Crewe.  Together with the delivery, fees and other overhead expenses he paid $600,000. During the purchase, he heard the phrase: "You do not buy a car - you buy a way of life." All together Kirsan has six such cars for personal use. Three are overseas, and three are here in Russia. Apart from him, only four or five people have such cars in the country.
Meanwhile, the plane "Yak-40" is the main means of long distance transport for Ilyumzhinov. It is believed that it was built with the personal money of the President. Two aircraft cabins, located to the left of the ladder, can accommodate 12 people. The two-hour flight from Moscow to Elista costs him 40 million rubles.
Businessmen from Kalmykia persuaded Kirsan to run for election for the Supreme Council. 21 people participated in the struggle for the mandate. Among them were many well-known persons from all over Kalmykia. Kirsan, at the moment, had already lived in Elista for 10 years, and was considered in that environment as a stranger. However, he and his aides were sincerely convinced of the need for reforms in the Republic of Kalmykia. And the people believed them. So, Ilyumzhinov became a deputy of the Russian Federation in the Manychskij constituency in 1990.
At that time, he was not only interested in a political career. He organized his business, namely the corporation "SUN” that eventually made his basic capital. The shareholders were Boris Belyayev, Minister of Textile Industry, Valery Ryazanskiy, CEO of the Izmailovo hotel complex, Nicholas Solodnikov, director of Mosoblavtotrans, Valentin Tsoi, MP, the head of the group "Expo", the newspaper "Izvestia" and many others. Following the Japanese system, he began cautiously, step by step, to expand the corporation's activity.
Its rating was excellent because of its style of work and huge income. Six months later, it was well known to Western partners who provided large loans. Proposals for the creation of subsidiaries fell in abundance. They did everything to generate revenue.
Kirsan said that he remembered how they created Exchange "Russian Paper", organized the exhibition and the sale of paintings by artists and financed the movie making industry. However, the basic income was generated by the resale of computers. For the most part, it was used to finance the social needs of employees.
Meanwhile, things did not always going well. They found a solid buyer in the West for one of the technologies but the research institute did not have enough money for its completion. So Kirsan Ilyumzhinov invested almost all his money- so confident was he in the success of the project. He was waiting for the results for a month, then two, then half a year. However, he waited in vain. The funds had been wasted. The company was on the brink of financial disaster. In order to avoid default and survive they got a loan with huge interest and with great difficulty from a Western concern. Eventually they succeeded. Solid contracts with German, Korean and Japanese businesses followed.
A source from the security forces said that the revenues of the company and its employees caused envy and confusion. The company has repeatedly been subjected to inspection checks. However, the desire to find any violation ended at a blank.
There are persistent rumors that the company was able to get loans for the purchase of wool. The loans were prepared by Vladimir Babichev, a former employee of the Kalmyk district party committee and who now is the head of the Russian government staff, which enjoys the patronage of Ilyumzhinov.
When he was asked how he managed to become such a rich man, Ilyumzhinov says: "Many are wrong in thinking that anyone can become a businessman. Business is a way of thinking, a state of mind, a talent and an incredible power. To earn money you have to be obsessed, as nothing comes from nothing. "
In 1993, little Kalmykia was overwhelmed with the local political battles. Basically, the struggle in the Republic was concentrated between the executive and the legislature institutions. There were 40 ministries, 130 deputies of the Supreme Council and the Army of Apparatchiks for 300,000 people living in this tiny region.
As a way to overcome the political crisis, there arose a need for presidential elections. The presidential race was attended by three prominent figures, namely General Ochirov, the chairman of the Association of Farmers, Bambaev and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who got more than 60% of votes of electorship.
After being inaugurated as the President of Kalmykia, Ilyumzhinov offered the deputies of the Supreme Soviets to keep all that they had prior to the expiration of terms of office. And he added some funds himself as an incentive. Finally, he got what he wanted. On April 30th 1993, a new supreme authority was legalized - the Parliament, instead of The Supreme Soviets- consisted of the 25 people who voted for it anonymously.

Likewise, it became possible to liquidate the multi-party system. Kirsan spoke with each party leader individually. He offered them to re-register as the commercial enterprises. He promised to help with the start-up capital and loans. Almost everyone agreed except for the Communists. Then Kirsan started formation of his team. Mainly, from those people with whom he studied at the school and college. His closest aides today are his brother Vyacheslav, a graduate of the Institute of International Relations, Sanal Kugultinov, the nephew of Kirsan spiritual mentor, the national poet of Kalmykia David Kugultinov and Aleksey Kucherenko, who graduated from the Institute of International Relations, a few years earlier.
It is said that Kirsan forget about the friendship and family relations when it comes to work. The harsh discipline and unconditional fulfilment of the orders reign in the team. Keeping one's word. Man, once violated it is automatically moved to the wayside, and can no longer use Kirsan trust.
Ilyumzhinov openly opposed the President of Russia after the release of Yeltsin's decree №1400, referring to the fact that the mentality of the Russian people is somewhat different from that of the Kalmyk, and to dissolve the Russian Armed Forces is in any case impossible. He harangued the President at various meetings held on the 27th and 30th September 1993, for his wrong policies.
Realizing that no one took him seriously as a member of the parliament, he moved to the besieged "White House” along with Ruslan Aushev. Never having been in battle, it was frightening for the young politician, carrying a white flag, walking under a hail of bullets and to hear the radio intercepts "As for the president of Kalmykia, shoot him dead." However, according to eyewitnesses, he behaved with honour and dignity.
Today Kirsan honourably keeps his position on the presidential labour front. Kalmykia is one of the most crisis-affected regions of the country. It owns nothing apart from wool and its prospective reserves of natural resources. This year, for one ruble of local budget there are two rubles coming from Federal subsidies. However, according to Alexei Zhuravlev, an expert of Territorial Administration for the President of Russia, under Ilyumzhinov income rose for the local citizens of Kalmykia. Currently, the minimal cost of living in the country is 306,000 rubles. The per capita income is 325,000 rubles.
People set aside their wages for the purchase of prestigious items. "It is no accident," says Alexey Zhuravlev, "that the Republic overtook Russia in the number of cars bought by the public."
Today the President of Kalmykia is committed to ensuring that the Republic makes it possible to earn a living. He stresses: "I am not a Democrat or a Communist. I am Capitalist." He created the corporation "Kalmykia" with the Charter capital of $1 billion to accomplish the ​​capitalization of the Republic. The right to use the proven oil reserves in Kalmykia was transferred to the corporation as the Charter capital. Ilyumzhinov registered the corporation abroad under State guarantees and began to take foreign loans, investing them into the economy of Kalmykia. According to one of his team members, Yuri Boldyrev, the biggest factory for the primary processing of leather and fur, "Arschi", was built in the North Caucasus. To date, European and Russian designers recognise this enterprise for their stylish, beautiful and inexpensive clothing. Later “Kalmryba” was created to avoid valuable species of fish being taken out of the country. After that the state company "Kalmyk Oil" was formed and aimed at the construction of the pipeline "Tengiz - Novorossiysk" to Novorossiysk oil refinery in the near future. The corporation has invested 3.2 billion rubles in profitable projects within one year.
However, of greatest importance has been the agreement with one of the most prominent corporations in the world - "American Telephone and Telegraph" on the construction of the network of telecommunications and the development of international satellite communications in the republic.
According to the draft, when the region will be enjoying a cellular telephone system for 146,000 numbers, every herder will have a mobile phone. Everyone in Kalmykia will be able to use the world network of information services. Kalmykia will be linked to the whole civilized world into a single system not only by phone but by computer connection as well.
According to the press secretary of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Mr. Kucherenko, the basis for the construction of the corporation was established on the principles of state capitalism by the Korean billionaire, Chung Ju Yung, the head of "Hyundai" and long-term friend of Kirsan. Following his basic model, successfully applied in Singapore, Japan and South Korea, Ilyumzhinov has turned the republic into an offshore zone.
In recent years, Kalmykia developed a number of unprecedented Russian practice laws. The banking law now has closed coded accounts, an absolutely unthinkable phenomenon for Russia. That is, either the tax inspector or FSB officer will ever know the account holder.
There will be no violation of the legislation since the secrecy of deposits is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution. The Federal Code also does not mention this. The bankers referred to this law as revolutionary. Anonymity encourages entrepreneurs who are in the "shadow" to the offshore zone of Kalmykia, And despite the calls from Moscow and other cities with requests to provide information on certain companies, no such information has been provided for four years.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov considered it necessary to set the Republic free to such a level that it became widely known to the international community to invest in its development. His election as President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) was a clever chess “knight's move” that helped to implement the ambitious dreams of Kirsan. "Now everyone knows about a country called Kalmykia which has a great economic future," the president repeats at every opportunity.
Elected by two-thirds of those present in November 1995, he suggested radical changes to the working of FIDE in the December. To serve chess championships around the world he intends to hold tournaments every year from 20th December to 10th January as per the the Olympic system, with classical time control. Their participants, the champions of countries and organisations would be selected by their rate as grandmasters.  FIDE intends to raise a $5 million fund for their awards. The largest prize pool in the history of chess.
It is worth mentioning that regardless of his ranking, each participant will receive an award. In mid-December 1998, the next championship will be held, the first half of which will be in Groningen, the second, semifinals and finals, in Elista, the capital of Kalmykia. It is expected to be visited by 100 players from 60 countries.
Perhaps among them will be Bobby Fischer, the famous chess player, who became a friend and associate of the President now that Kirsan Nikolayevich has restored FIDE's integrity. He refunded Fisher $100,000 from his personal savings for the debt owed to Fisher for his book by the publishing house "Physical Culture and Sport" that had never been paid.
Currently Elista is in full swing preparing for this grand event. The construction of houses and various chalets, including the residential complex, lies in an area of 32,000 sq. metres. 81 buildings are in varying degrees of readiness with more than 25 already completed by over 400 builders who work daily at the construction sites. Works on the foundations of the Social and Administrative center, "Chess City Hall" have already been started. In addition, the local Olympic Games are being held in schools where chess has the same academic value as physics and mathematics.
From where does Kirsan Ilyumzhinov take money to prepare for the 33th World Chess Olympiad and all the objects that will be completed by September 1998? He says, "We have to rearrange the work of FIDE and to earn such respect that there will be a queue of companies and corporations with sponsorship proposals standing behind our doors. And we will chose whether to accept them or not. After my election, I received congratulations from corporations and banks with turnovers of billions. They support me because of my personal connections."

Nikolay Anisin
Tina Morozova
1st of December 1997