Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: "Chess has always been associated with politics"

September 28th FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was the guest of the "Debriefing" program on the radio station "Echo of Moscow". We offer text transcription of the program.

Vorobyova. What was the most difficult decision you had to make in your life?

Ilyumzhinov. I made such decisions for many times. For example, every time I was going to the polls. Since 1989 I took part in 15 elections. In 1993, when the workers of the plant "Zvezda", where I worked as a mechanic after graduating from high school, suddenly offered me to run for president of the Republic of Kalmykia.
I was 29 years old. How to make such a decision? I was thinking for a long time, then refused and left for Geneva. And then I found out from the newspapers that nevertheless my coworkers had nominated me. I had to choose: to agree or to disagree. And when I arrived in Elista (Kalmykia capital) I met my colleagues - workers, fitters, turners - and they said, "Kirsan, you built communism for yourself. Now we want you to do it for us."


Vorobyova. Communism? In 1993?..

Ilyumzhinov. We grew up in the Soviet era with the ideas of Marks and Lenin. At the time, Khrushchev promised to build a communist future. And I was just like the others: a 27-28 years old worker who worked in a factory, stood behind the machine as others but I was the one who suddenly bought a car and an apartment and a house abroad, so...

Felgenhauer. Tell us more. The refusal was your first decision. What influenced the change of your decision?

Ilyumzhinov. At home, by the way, my grandfather and my parents said, "Why? You are an ordinary worker but you leave Kalmykia for Moscow, then you go abroad. " Everybody in my family were against it. Close friends said, "Kirsan, why should you? You have respect. You have the money, you give the money to people and they all praise you. If you become a politician, the president - you will become the one to blame for bad sewers, roofs, for the bus which never comes in time. "
So I was thinking like, plus-minus, money-power, power-money. But after all, I was still young. I thought if I did something for myself, why not do it for others? So I tried. I agreed to run for president, but not immediately: I took a week or two to think it over.
I also worked as a manager of a Soviet-Japanese firm. Company's president said, "Don't even think about it." I think 90 out of 100 of my friends considered it a bad idea. I do not really know what prompted me, but perhaps it was some kind of inspiration.
Vorobyova. Those were not the first elections in your life.

Ilyumzhinov. The first I had when I was 27. In 1990 I was offered to run for the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. I have just finished MGIMO, in fact I was a student just yesterday and six months later my friends suddenly say: let's run. It was 1990, the Soviet Union still existed but there already were glasnost and perestroika. There were 21 candidates for that place. Among them - the People's Artists of Russia, Minister of Health, the secretary of the party and me, a 26-year-old boy who had just suddenly made a decision.
No one in Kalmykia actually knew me, because I left in 1980 just after I finished school. I served in the Soviet Army, studied at the Institute. I was away from Kalmykia for almost 8 years. And then I was suddenly nominated in the area with the highest competition level.
I thought a lot if I should go, or should I not, but on the other hand, I just wanted to try. I finished the elitist institute. I managed to make a million dollars in 1990 already. So I thought why not try to do something special. MGIMO which was always affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent its graduates to work to various missions abroad.
So I learned the Japanese language to go to Japa. It was necessary to make a decision: to take the diplomatic career ladder or do business. Well, the one who influenced my decision was a woman named Masha. She was a concierge in our dormitory on Novocheremushkinskaya.
I came home in the evening - she was reading "Moskovsky Komsomolets". And she said: "Oh! Kirsan, you learned Japanese! There is a contest announced for the position of a manager." I passed the exams. Out of a hundred applicants me Mr. Salatari chose me. I became a manager of the Soviet-Japanese company. Three months later I earned money.

Vorobyova. Did you then return to Masha to tell her that she had decided your fate?

Ilyumzhinov. Yes, she was my favorite ... She worked there for 30-40 years, she raised so many Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Presidents of different countries, as well as ambassadors. Irina Bokova from Bulgaria was living in that hostel, Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan.

Vorobyova. If we talk about the MGIMO, is that true that once you were flunked?

Ilyumzhinov. Yes, that unpleasant thing happened in 1987. Since then I never celebrate a birthday in advance. Few days before, on Saturday, my friend said, "Look, It's your birthday soon...". At the time the party has struggled against alcoholism following the decision of the Central Committee of the CPSU.
I was studying together with foreigners - Poles, Hungarians, Germans and the occasion was there: Saturday. All went to their embassies, grabbed some alcohol there and brought it to dormitory. It was going to be my last year in the Institute. The room was small, I lived together with an Afghan student. There was no room for everybody who came. I went back to Baba Masha and asked her for the keys for Lenin's room which turned out to be free. And imagine us drinking alcohol, eating pilaf in Lenin's room...
A day later the photos from our birthday party were on Lubyanka. I was invited there for a conversation and after that I was flunked for drinking alcohol in a public place... Another reason was that I was suspected to be an Afghan or an Indian spy, because I lived with an Afghan. I suffered for six months, I was also expelled from the party. But, thank God, I was restored by the Party Control Committee...

Vorobyova. You wrote the letter to the KGB and Gorbachev ...

Ilyumzhinov. Yes, I then wrote to Gorbachev and Cherbrikov, the chairman of the KGB: "Please understand. I'm not a spy, and not an alcoholic. "

Vorobyova. You decided to struggle.

Ilyumzhinov. I am grateful to Cherbrikov. Still, on the one hand, the system was rigidly totalitarian, but if you can fight the system... Although my parents and friends said: "How can you go against the KGB, against the Central Committee of the CPSU, against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?".
The dean of the Faculty of International Relations (he is the rector now) also told me, "Kirsan, it's difficult." They wanted to transfer me to MSU. But I decided: either sink or swim. I wrote a letter "from a former student of MGIMO" to the chairman of the KGB and the Secretary General of the Communist Party, and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze.
I struggled for a half a year. Then I was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, the KGB, they established a joint commission, and in the end, a 90-year-old grandmother who probably was the one who carried that log together with Lenin, said, "Not guilty." I was reinstated to the party, and the most important, to the dorm as well.

Felgenhauer. Kirsan Nikolayevich, you mentioned about the plant, about your colleagues. How did you become a fitter being a chess star at school age?

Ilyumzhinov. I was 17, I believe every young person should decide, not the parents or a computer.
I was a graduate of a high school №3. I finished school with a gold medal. I was the winner of the all-Union and republican Olympiads in physics, chemistry, biology, I even won the All-Union Pushkiniana. And as the winner of the All-Union Pushkiniana I was supposed to enter the Philological Faculty of Moscow State University, and the Institute of Literature of Maxim Gorky withouit exams. I was also the secretary of the Komsomol organization and when I was 15 I became the champion of Kalmykia in chess among adults.
So I finish school and think, where to go. After school I met Party secretary of the factory "Star". They were our bosses. "Kirsan, - he says - will you come to the factory? ". I said "Why?". And he said: "You came last year at the plant." We helped there, cleaned the territory. The director of the plant said that there was not enough workers. And I said, "Let us, Komsomol members, to help your factory." I really forgot about that conversation. And now Party secretary is asking me: "Are you coming?".
And I'm standing there completely stunned. I thought, I would go to Moscow ... At the time I filed the documents to the Military Institute of the Ministry of Defence to become an interpreter from the Japanese, and MGIMO. And here's my party secretary ... I came to the yard with friends of mine and talked to them. Everybody disagreed. Only two of us went to the factory. We were enrolled. A few months later I became the foreman of the Komsomol youth brigade. There was so much joy...
How did I make that decision? It is difficult, I could not sleep at night. So how? Friends have all entered the university. And when I have already started working at the factory I was stopped in the street by the headmistress of the school, she had a very strong impact on my education - so she looked at me almost in tears, "Kirsan, how come? We have invested so much in you. We gave you a gold medal and you just went to work at the plant. " Well, on the one hand, it's shameful, but on the other, someone has to work in the factory?

Vorobyova. So you became the President of the Republic of Kalmykia. Do you remember your first decisions as president?

Ilyumzhinov. Well, of course. One of the first decrees I signed was the law on the development of chess. Why? Because we had 98% of subsidies from Moscow. In 1993 all the taxes we collected in Kalmykia were 7 million. Rubles. This was $ 1 million 750 thousand. No money for wages, there was no production at all.
I came here and met with Gaidar. Yeltsin sent me to him. I asked for money investment to built a wool factory. He said: "Just look out the window. You see those miners from Kemerovo region? Do you have sheep? Well, eat your sheep”...

And so I thought, where to start? No one knows. So, we need to raise the image of the republic. How? Through sports - to attract investment. Well, something must be done. And the cheapest sport is chess. No stadiums, there is no need to build anything. And we took the program "Chess in Schools".
After that 100% of the children began to play chess, and many started to win competitions, we raised the world champion among children Sanan Sjugirov. And in terms of performance among the 93 regions of Russia Kalmykia was in the top five. So I started with this. And in six years we have listed over $ 650 million in the budget of the Russian Federation.

Felgenhauer. You many times resigned your government, nine, in my opinion. Tell me, were those decisions easy for you?

Ilyumzhinov. Very difficult. I worked hard. I never was on vacation even a single weekend. And I had requirements. My assistants got changed in half a year. We worked without Saturday and Sunday.
Why did the governments go? Recall, from 1993 to the year 2010 the country has changed, and its laws changed as well. By the way, we were the first in Russia who then adopted a code of turnover, and then on the basis of our law this code was adopted by the Civil Code. The same was with the institution of presidential envoys - the first time it was introduced in Kalmykia.
In 1994, I said that there should be one president in Russia so being the head of Kalmykia I refused to call myself "President". We canceled the declaration of the sovereignty and independence of Kalmykia. We canceled the law on citizenship of Kalmykia. I said that since we had no border, a central bank of Russia printed money for us, the government of Russian Federation was in fact our government - then why play paper sovereignties?
And all the time we were like a little bit ahead of all. The time change and sometimes you need a new team. Though I'm in a very good relationship with all the former prime ministers. All of them are in high positions now. Here in Moscow for example, Sengleev works as the executive director of the National Olympic Committee. Some are in the government of the Volgograd region. In many regions you can find those ministers, prime ministers, who have once worked with me. So, the school has not been in vain. And until now we support good relations.
It was difficult, of course, sometimes. Sometimes I thought until the morning, but then all the same... The worst thing for me in life is when a person is fired. Because people served faithfully, we tried doing something together. It's not their fault if they do not correspond to the time in which we operate.

Vorobyova. But not all of them were so faithful. There were corruption scandals in Kalmykia investigated by the commission from Moscow, with the dismissals, with incredible amounts of money that have been spent unproperly...

Ilyumzhinov. Prosecutor General's Office visited us 13 times, Audit Chamber - 11 times. We have tried to work together to help them. I, as head of the republic, was actually concerned, because we had not only local currency, but also federal which was almost a half of our budget. Of course, we had to investigate, it was necessary to punish the guilty. Complete transparency was needed there. Heads of areas were imprisoned, as well as the mayor of the city.
I remember the years 1994-95, one of the heads of districts has been in office, he came from a different area so I helped him with the flat. He also asked for help for his daughter who were Rostov University's student... And then comes the interior minister Baklanov and says: "We have data on this head of the district, that he asked for a bribe from some Korean to let him rent the land."
But I did not not believe this. Still he's the head of the district, a member of parliament. It was hard. But a few days later, he took a bribe and a video camera filmed it all. So he was brought to the office. He lowered his head and said: "You got me, take me to prison".

Vorobyova. And when they accused your advisor Sergei Vas'kin in the murder of the journalist Yudina, did you believe it?

Ilyumzhinov. It was also hard. When I was at lunch the same Minister of the Interior called and said that her husband called and told she has not come home, I asked - when? So she left in the evening and did not come for some reason. I asked why the whole day a man was at home – hecould apply to in the same evening or at least at night. But he applied at lunch time of the next day. I immediately ordered to raise everyone, contact the neighboring regions. There have been many abductions. Mainly in the neighboring republic ... The journalists were also kidnapped frequently.
Thanks to General Baklanov, a few hours later the crime was solved. There were people as related as not related to me, so I asked the Minister of Internal Affairs and wrote a letter to President of the Russian Federation to send the team from Moscow to investigate the case, and also the court should be in another region.

Vorobyova. You headed the republic for a long time so you gained quite a mass opposition. How did you react to this? Have you made decisions like "we won't respond here," or "we will lead a check here" or "close this newspaper?"

Ilyumzhinov. By the way, I helped this paper, I actually opened it. It was published in 500 copies. The communists supported the Emergency Committee of the republic, and this newspaper supported it as well. And then the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, and the Commission on Information closed the newspapers that supported the revolt. There were a few dozens of newspapers in this list including "Sovetskaya Kalmykia."
Those journalists, including Yudina, came to me and gave me their letter to Yeltsin. So I started with my native republic, since I was  a member of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Kalmykia. I met the staff of this newspaper.
Many, probably 90% of the staff of this newspaper are still working... 

Felgenhauer. Only the head of the republic has always remained in place.

Ilyumzhinov. Why? I'm not stuck to the seat. I have several times appealed to leave: am I Brezhnev to sit all all the time? 

Felgenhauer. Was it important for that the elections were not uncontested?

Ilyumzhinov. We've always had competitive elections. In 2002, if you remember, I didn't win in the first round. We had a two-round election just like in the Irkutsk region today. I opposed the businessman from Moscow Baatr Shondzhiev. And when I ran for the Council of the Federation, there were a lot of people competing.
Felgenhauer. So you need to be opposed?

Ilyumzhinov. In 1993 for example I was nominated into the presidency of Kalmykia, the first time. My opponent was a Hero of the Soviet Union, the famous General Ochirov - the hero of the Afghan war. The third candidate was the 1st Secretary of the Kalmyk regional party. Well-known and respected people from the Alley of Heroes competed for this post, but suddenly some boy came from Moscow. The elections were open and honest. All of the power of the administration worked for my opponents. So when I came to the regions the clubs were closed for me...

Felgenhauer. So you were a kind of opposition.

Ilyumzhinov. Yes, and I went from house to house.

Vorobyova. Continuing the theme of the election, I would like to ask you about your decision in 1994, when the Steppe Code was accepted. Prosecutor General's Office then said that it was not consistent with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, it also said that the candidates for deputies of Kalmykia introduced property qualifications, required election deposit of 100 times the minimum wage, and a third of MPs - 9 persons - appointed by the president directly. Somehow it does not fit with the fact that ...

Ilyumzhinov. Why? The constitutional reform overdued at the time. We were a small republic: 300 thousand, 130 deputies. At the same time they were district heads and directors of state farms. For such a small republic it was a cumbersome parliament. Now cities and regions that have million populations have only several dozen deputies.
Second: it was impossible to cancel the declaration of sovereignty and independence without a constitutional reform, citizenship law and other acts of the Republic of Kalmykia. Then the experts worked in our committee. I invited experts from the Parliament of Russia, from the General Prosecutor's Office. We decided together.
There were 189 articles In the old Constitution of Kalmykia. Most of constitutions of the former socialist republics and autonomous regions were written as a blueprint. There were only a few dozen articles in our basic law, the Code of Steppenwolf. I suggested to state in one line in the basic law of Kalmykia that we would support all the laws of international law and the Russian Federation.
Why Steppe Code was named so? Still, we are a national republic. In 1640, 8 years before the adoption by the Council Code of Russia, great Khans took Steppe Code for Kalmykia. However, the prosecutor's office all the time asked us to change the name, so then we finished with: "Steppe Code (Basic Law)."
Next was a commission, headed by the minister for nationalities and regions Abdulatipov Ramazan, who is now the head of Dagestan - he studied the code and have not found a single item that is contrary to the Constitution. I told him if he finds one he can refer to the Constitutional Court, and we will solve everything. So the Steppe Code was adopted by the administration of the Russian president and the Constitutional Court.
As for 9 out of 27 deputies - we just had to keep the balance of our multinational Republic which hosted about 90 nationalities.
We offered to public organizations and national communities such as Kazakh or Dagestan fraternity and others to give a representative of each, and competition itself was held inside those civil society organizations and national committees. So 9 seats were evenly distributed. So they were distributed by a council of elders and a public council, not me. I did not decide who should be a member.

Felgenhauer. How independent were you making decisions as the head of the republic?

Ilyumzhinov. I could only affect the national budget and republican laws. About 70% of power belonged to territorial administrations or federal structures. Even more: I could not remove the director of a small seed farm. There was a warehouse. He was always drinking. And the head of the district complained to me. I could do nothing because it was a federal structure... Quite an obvious example.
The head of the republic should be responsible for everything. Sometimes you hold a government meeting, but they do not come, they don't even send their alternates. And you have to complain, to call to ministers in Moscow and say, "Why aren't you coming?". Noone watches him to come or not next time...

Vorobyova. Tell me, have you played chess with many presidents already?

Ilyumzhinov. With many. I played with ones who can actually play.

Vorobyova. Have you played with the president of Russia?

Ilyumzhinov. No. Boris Yeltsin loved chess. Vladimir Vladimirovich, Dmitry Anatolyevich visited us recently, when we conducted the Women's World Championship in Sochi. We even played together with Medvedev agains Vasya robot. He has almost won. The robot itself took a minute to think, then it gave us 10 minutes but almost won. So I had to turn it off.

Vorobyova. So you played chess with Yeltsin?

Ilyumzhinov. No. But with his light hand I became the president of FIDE, because the Russian Chess Federation was against me. November 24th 95-year Florencio Campomanes, 5th FIDE President, proposed my candidacy in Paris at the General Assembly. I decided to consult, then called Shamil Tarpishchev, who headed the committee for the sport.
Shamil said: "No, this is not of my expertise. Call Andrey Makarov. " Makarov is now the chairman of the budget committee of the State Duma, then he headed the chess federation. But the chess federation was strongly influenced by Garry Kasparov. Makarov said: "Ask Kasparov."
I called Kasparov. Clara Shagenovna picked up the phone, "So, Kirsan, we ate dumplings together... Why are you doing this to us now?". Garik picked it up: "Why do you go to the FIDE President?". I say, "Garik, but it's great! Never before a Russian was the president of FIDE. Imagine, together we can do a lot of things. "
Garik: "No, if you go to the FIDE, you let me down...." I say: "Let's unite together." And that's why Garik was against: he founded the professional association of players in USA in 1993, so he didn't want FIDE to exist anymore.
Then I phoned Viktor Ilyushin, he was a senior aide to Yeltsin. He says: "We must ask Boris - he's the only one instance." Boris asked me where I was and all... He said, "Well, it is necessary for Russia. Raise the flag of Russia. "
And then I went, perhaps, against thethe will of my friends, but I completed the request or the President of the Russian Federation. Then I came and presented a set of chess for Boris Nikolayevich. He sat down and said: "Well, I know how a horse moves." So we agreed to a draw.

Vorobyova. To be honest, people who do not know how to play chess, do they have any meaning in your life?

Ilyumzhinov. I visit a lot of countries. In the past year - 86. The year before, it was a record - 108 countries. The people I meet mostly aren't chess players.
Once a journalist for the BBC came to Einstein to take an interview. He said, "Wait Wait ..." - he was solving some chess problem. And the journalist asks: "How, Professor, do you find time for chess?" Einstein looked at him and said, "Young man, do you find the time to train the muscles of the body, hands, feet, and do not find time to train the muscles of the head. The only way to train the muscles of the head - a game of chess. "
Here, following the precepts of Einstein, I try to make many of my friends in the countries that I visit to play chess.

Vorobyova. Why did you play chess with Gaddafi?

Ilyumzhinov. We met and played with Gaddafi many times. In 2004, which was the year the World Cup was held in Tripoli, there were representatives of 56 countries, including players from the US, the UK, even Milov from Israel had to come. Gaddafi supported chess. We agreed to promote the program "Chess in Schools". We were talking with him quite often.
The last time we played was the last time when there was a rumor on BBC and CNN that he was killed, or that he gone crazy. At that time, NATO bombers were attacking Tripoli and other cities. June 12 I was at the Embassy of the Russian Federation. We were celebrating Independence Day of Russia with my fellow diplomats.
And then the phone rang. Mohammed, the eldest son of Gaddafi was calling. He led the Chess Federation, he also was the president of the Olympic Committee. He says: "Kirsan, we're close. We heard you are in the embassy. Come, my father wants to talk to you."
I came. He met me at the first floor. I asked him: "Look, they say you're crazy from the bombing. Do you still run the country? So show the world that you are playing a game of chess." He says, "Alright." 
They brought chess from another room. We played a party with him and it was shown on all TV channels of the world so everyone could see that Gaddafi is alive and has normal control over the situation. He wrote a letter to all heads of NATO states to stop their bombings, he wrote he wanted to reform the country and to hold the elections. I this letter passed to the NATO headquarters.

Vorobyova. Are these decisions - the policy itself for you?

Ilyumzhinov. When you turn 18, according to the Constitution, you can be elected, and you can elect anyone. So to the age of 18 we are actively involved in political life. Therefore, we are always in politics.
As for chess, it has always been associated with the policy. Recall the match Karpov - Korchnoi. Korchnoi was a dissident. And Kasparov was a child of perestroika. Or Spassky played with Fischer - whose system is better: an American or Soviet? America against the Soviet Union.

Felgenhauer. Do you take all your decisions as well as in chess - by calculating forward - or is it emotional?

Ilyumzhinov. I calculate everything. Thanks for the the army, I learned how to keep emotions in my own hands. The whole storm that goes inside. But, when I became the commander of the army branch, we ran under fire exercises - that's when you have to make decisions.
And when I was both deputy and the president, any decision I made, it was gained, and it is always on the basis: first think, then make a move. And it's better to think for five or six moves ahead. I must always calculate to survive and succeed in my political life.

Vorobyova. You realize that people will twist at the temple, linking the name of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov with a man who in all seriousness said to have been abducted by aliens? What is then the calculation? What are you hoping for?

Ilyumzhinov. I was thinking about it for six months, I analyzed the pros and cons. Here I am today, for the first time to announce that I have met with the aliens. We must, together, the three of us calculate the pros and cons. Here are some minuses: parents, relatives, the brothers say, "You're crazy. Everybody will laugh at us. " 
Second, my voters will all say "Who have we chose for ourselves? The one who meets the aliens." 
Third, chess players? 600 million people play chess. 186 countries have joined the World Chess Federation. It's not the most stupid of international organizations. Thay really have brains after all. Now look: I have won the elections twice against Karpov, Kasparov - they are not stupid at all... Thay are pretty smart I think.
By the way, Garry Kasparov used that during last year's election, he traveled around the country and said, "What do you want to vote? He's crazy, he meets the aliens. "
Just cons, I do not see the advantages. But I do not look like a madman. I began to analyze. Well, somebody has to make a move forward to cause the fire. I realized that everything is falling on me. What for? In order to prove that there is somebody else in the Universe, that we are not the most intelligent; that in addition to us, there are other intelligent beings. That's one idea.
And the second message - that we are not alone in the universe. Tsiolkovsky wrote a hundred years ago that our galaxy is teeming with different civilizations. So, we are not alone. Let people think about it.

Vorobyova. So you have not really seen any aliens, but you told about it in order to draw some attention to the theme?

Ilyumzhinov. That was some kind of PR activity. But what public relations is? I have enough of PR for myself. It was in the 97-year in September. How many years have passed?

Vorobyova. But you just keep repeating it ...

Ilyumzhinov. I'm not. You are asking. I wouldn't even recall it...

Vorobyova. So you met them or not?

Ilyumzhinov. Well, of course, I met them. If did not, I wouldn't tell that story.

Felgenhauer. Have you ever regret about your decision to tell it?

Ilyumzhinov. No. You know, at first it was difficult. When the NHK journalists from Japan came to me, they showed me American NASA statistics which is officially over 4 thousand UFOs every year.
We never argue, whether a person believes in Christ, or Buddha, or Magomed. It is a matter of faith. If you believe in Christ, Buddha or Mohammed, then why can not I believe in aliens?

Vorobyova. Why are you starring in the TV series?

Ilyumzhinov. Because I was asked by the producer as well as by the authors. I am one of the few who Baba Vanga met more than 40 times. We were friends with her. Elena Yakovleva starred as Vanga, and I was consulting.
Firstly, speech was wrong ... Baba Vanga spoke very abruptly, sharply... Many other things. On the other hand, I was pleased to plunge back into that atmosphere and to help guys with a movie. By the way, I received a fee for that. 687 rubles, or something. I even signed the statement.

Felgenhauer. Is there a decision you are not sure about?

Ilyumzhinov. Of course. Two weeks ago, the President of the Russian Chess Federation and FIDE Vice President Andrei Filatov suggested at the FIDE Congress, and his offer was later supported by many delegates, to nominate me for the presidency of FIFA. It is actually necessary for the development, popularization of chess as well as for recognition of the FIDE brand. We are currently involved in many actions. For example, we organize a match between the children of the world North and South Korea at the 37th parallel.

Felgenhauer. FIFA and FIDE are very different organizations ...

Ilyumzhinov. Why? We do one common thing: Sports for Peace. By the way the only international sports federation where were no corruption scandals is FIDE.

Vorobyova. And you decided to run?

Ilyumzhinov. You have asked me about it. As for me, I travel around the world from the United States to North Korea asking for advice, what is possible, what is not. I always calculate the pros and cons. I am now in the process of making the decision.