Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: I am independent. I am here today, in London tomorrow.

He began to hold high positions before the age of 30. He was the president of the Republic of Kalmykia; he headed the International Chess Federation for 23 years and even worked as an authorized representative of all humanity (he repeatedly told about his meeting with aliens). Answering the question what is the most important thing for him to do now he is even slightly lost: “There are many different things, probably, it’s business”.  



1962 - born in Elista, Kalmyk ASSR
1977 - headed the Kalmykia chess team when he was 15
1988 - after a denunciation was temporarily expelled from the 5th year of MGIMO "for drinking in a public place"
1989 - became a manager of a Mitsubishi corporation’s division in the USSR
1993 - elected first president of the Republic of Kalmykia
Ilyumzhinov's mobile phones rang about 20 times during our conversation. Callers are from Vietnam, Afghanistan, America, Moldova and our Ministry of Finance. There is a photograph of the Dalai Lama on the wall and Orthodox icons and portraits of Vanga on the table. The Grand mufti of Chechnya Salah-haji Mezhiev accompanied by a retinue of five people is waiting for the end of the interview at the reception. At the exit we meet him, and while I think who in the Caucasus usually shakes the hand first - the eldest or the youngest - the preacher does it himself. But it is clear: he is doing it only because Kirsan Nikolayevich himself introduced me. Everyone knows and respects him like the famous Uncle Misha from Brighton Beach.
The secretaries would not tell what issues the delegation from Chechnya came to solve. One thing is clear: they didn’t come to play chess. Moreover, in October last year, Ilyumzhinov had to give up the chess leadership - he was replaced by ex-deputy chairman of the government Arkady Dvorkovich. However, no one took a FIDE sign from his door and nobody was going to. We started the conversation with FIDE.
100 million dollars for chess
- Will you remove the sign?
- It's just our office. People are used to it. Yesterday, chess players came from the Leningrad Oblast and from Kazakhstan. I am engaged in a social work. I launched the "Chess at School" programme and I still help promoting it. Yesterday, I transferred 50 thousand dollars for its support. A Financial Times journalist asked me a few questions. He said: “I want to write about FIDE, but how can I do it and not mention you?”
- And what's that? I point at the icon on the phone - a person sitting in the lotus position, signed: Kirsan.
- This is Kirsan messenger. One of those that we have made. We sold another one to Sberbank and one more to an Asian country. Maybe today we will sign a contract. We are doing a lot of IT business.
-A good post in sports is vacant now: the post of president of the Russian Football Union after the departure of Vitaly Mutko.
- I was ready to take it in 1998, I talked with Koloskov then. Now I do not want to do this. Our football lacks state will. Someone has to stamp his foot and say that the monopolies and the regions’ money should leave football because they kill it.
One footballer is now worth more than the labour of dozens of teachers and doctors. He hangs around the football field for 90 minutes and gets paid for this in the amount of budget of some cities and regions. Others run around the restaurants and break chairs or buy themselves champagne for 100 thousand euros in Monaco...
My mother is a veterinarian and she still works. Soon she turns 86. She has been working nonstop for 64 years. She has a salary of eight and a half thousand roubles. How to explain it?
I insist that only local players should play at the local teams, and local sponsors only should finance these teams.
- With such a programme, you might even have been elected.
- No, I am not interested. And there is match-fixing. In the 90s, when I was president of the Uralan club in Elista. They often came to see me. “Kirsan Nikolayevich, we may do it under the table, so that they will lose or draw. The goalkeeper just won't jump, and that's it. ”
Now I can't blame Russian football only, because the whole system is like that. The system of the country, the system of society. Moses led his people through the desert for 40 years; maybe we need some time to cleanse ourselves. Yes, there were fixed games in chess also. Even the world champions did it. I broke this system (before Ilyumzhinov came to FIDE, champions were Karpov and Kasparov - Ed.).
- You told that you visited 70–80 countries a year.ArkadyDvorkovich hasno such possibility.Is this a drawback?
- No, he just has his own style of work. I support Arkady Vladimirovich, his dad and I were friends. He is a very smart and responsible person.
I supported him when I was leaving. We voted for him and provided him financial assistance so that a Russian should lead the federation. It’s no secret. My opinion is this: it is better when this post is occupied by some president, oligarch or minister than any legendary chess player. One needs to work, to hold tournaments, and not to distribute autographs. Dvorkovich worked in the presidential administration, the government and in Skolkovo. Thus, his capabilities will only benefit FIDE.
- According to the official version, your career in FIDE ended because of falling under the sanctions...
- It is very strange. I heard about them on 24 November, 2015. After that, I worked for three years normally. I arranged all the tournaments - in Lviv, in Baku and so on. I sponsored a match for the world crown between Carlsen and Karjakin in New York.
Sanctions were just a reason to get at me. For some reason, the Russian Chess Federation also gave in. Russia itself is under sanctions, and they tell me that I cannot lead because I am under sanctions. What a betrayal! Instead, they supported Mr Makropoulos from Greece.
- Why have you been removed?
- That post has become too attractive. When I was elected, there were debts, the employees were not paid salaries. I immediately laid out one and a half million dollars and made sure that there will be held more tournaments. Over those years, I spent about 100 million dollars out of my personal money and money from my friends. Now, 600 million people play chess - six times more than before. We are recognized by the IOC and chess players even pass tests for doping.
Trump is the chess Queen
- You are not under anti-Syrian sanctions but under the anti-Russian ones.  How did it happen?
-Assad and I have opened a sports palace with a chess room in Damascus. Of course, I also contacted the official members of the government, so what? But I did not run to seek out terrorists.
- You and Gaddafi played chess.What did you talk about?
- I am a Buddhist, and he was very interested in Buddhism and reincarnation. He wrote the treatise - "The Green Book" and studied world culture.
- Have youmetwithMaduro?
- No, although I was in Venezuela a couple of times. If I had the opportunity now, I would go and hold there some event in support of peace. Everything should be decided at the table; countries should fight only at the chessboard. When I was in Libya, I got bombed twice - I know what it is.
- Who is the chess Queen of the world now?
- Trump. He sanctions whoever and whatever he wants. Persons, countries, companies. He is a businessman, so he does everything for his country and its economy. He is not interested in global issues. We need to recognize that there is only one hegemon now. Whether we like it or not, we sell oil for what? For dollars.
- Zhukov, Kudrin,Sobyanin, Timchenko, Fridman,Khloponin, Shaimiev, Ernst, Peskov... No other sport team can boast such a composition as the Russian Chess Federation.Did your trips around the countries concern mostly sports or was politics involved too?
- I was not given orders. But I myself have always declared that chess is for peace. Naturally, it brings countries together. I have many friends at MGIMO, who are now ambassadors, ministers, mayors, governors, and so on. Who of them was in Ukraine after 2014? No one. And I have been there many times. They even blamed me: they said they could not deal with Ukraine, but Kirsan goes there with chess and takes pictures with Poroshenko.
- Did they try to reprimand you?
- There was no point in doing that. I am independent. I am here today, in London tomorrow. The Kremlin did not elect me. And it never happened before either. Even Korzhakov in his time gave me a nickname : Unruly Kalmyk.
- After 17 years of working as the head of Kalmykia, you left on your own accord.
- I began to notice that I got too used to doing it, although now I understand that I had enough energy for 10 presidents. Just as before, I sleep for 4 hours, and I work without days off. I get up at 6 in the morning and finish the work day at 3 in the next morning.
- It seems that you stand for the turnover of power.Vladimir Putin has already surpassed your result by staying in power for nearly 20 years...
- This is not a question to ask me. I’ll say something now and they will say: “Aha, Kirsan was properly sanctioned”.
- However, do you think this is good?
- In fact, I think that any president of the country is a man marked by God. Every nation deserves its leader.
I have known Putin since 1993, when he, as Sobchak's deputy, met me on the black Chaika at the airport. He is a man with great experience and charisma. He has firm standpoints. I know he has a plan. Be it a good or bad one, but he has it. He is a man whom the people have chosen, so let him rule even for 30 years. If there is no war but peace, then let him be.
- Actually, there is a war nearby.
- Well, yes, more than 117 armed conflicts and wars are happening in our land. That’s true...
We worked together a lot. I am grateful that he supported me in 1998. When they blamed me that Kalmykia wants to secede from Russia, Vladimir Vladimirovich spoke at the Security Council and supported me. I never wanted to separate. On the contrary, I even refused the post of president of Kalmykia in 1994. I believed that you should not go too far. Since we have one border and one currency, then there must be one president in Russia and so there is no point talking about sovereignty.
Sometimes they call me an extraordinary man and even crazy. But I can tell you what’s going to happen in a year, two, three or five years. Once I met with Berezovsky at LogoVAZ; besides, Tatyana Dyachenko was also there. I told him everything that would happen to him. Later, in emigration, he invited me to his place in Nice and confirmed: “Everything happened exactly as you said”.
- Do you believe in his suicide?
- No, of course not. I knew Borya, he was such a lively person .
"And then the aliens tell me..."
- Did Vanga teach you how to see the future or were you born with this ability?
- I would say 50/50. I met her more than 30 times. Now I'm making a film about her. Communication with her was an experience that helped. I believe in space and in God. I believe that we happened to be here not by accident and we are combination of light and dark energies.
Literally yesterday, I met a man who also sees the future. He is here in Moscow. God or the Absolute does not give such ability to everybody. What would happen if everyone could teleport or read minds like Atlantes (do you believe that Atlantis existed?)? Everyone would kill each other. Therefore, it is not given to everybody. People have not reached this level yet...
- Does the fact that you speak so freely about this interfere with business?
- Of course it does. I was considering doing this for six months before telling about aliens. I wondered  if I was asleep or not. But you know, there must be people in life who, like Alexander Matrosov, rush to the embrasure so that the regiment would be able to attack.
- And what is the message?
- Someone must be the first to say that man is not the only rational being either in the Universe or on our planet.
I still remember how I came with my mother to the meat factory. One hundred cows are driven into one stall, where they are slaughtered in turn. You look at the rest of the cows, who are waiting in the line, and you see tears in their eyes. If they are able to cry, then they have feelings and intelligence.
The aliens told me that there was no point in talking to us until we have taken a step towards realizing it.
- Are there many people who have seen aliens?Theyprobablycontact you.
- Sure. I'm talking to a lot of people, including many generals. NASA registers 4,000 contacts each year. A leader of some large country told me that he had also seen the aliens.
- And what can you tell about our leaders?
- I talked about it with one of our presidents and with the leaders of some structures. I talked to our spacemen. Chess player Vasily Smyslov said that once he saw some substance approaching him.
- Since you are an expert in the future you must know all about the economy too.What awaits us further on?
- Big events with a minus sign. It will be very bad in the beginning, but it will get better later.
- Shall we tighten our belts?
- No doubt about it!
The material was published in the Interlocutor under the heading "I am independent. I am here today, in London tomorrow. ”

Dmitry Sokolov