Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: It is naive to count on winning when you play with cheaters

The removal of Russia from participation in major international sports competitions is only part of the coordinated policy of the West in relation to our country, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov believes. The sixth president of FIDE offers his own view of the problem.

- Kirsan Nikolaevich, as you know, the World Doping Agency (WADA) recommended that Russia be removed from participation in major international competitions for the next four years. The IOC supported this decision, which means that our sportsmen will again be banned from playing under the Russian flag. What do you think about it?

- Today, there are two options for solving the problem: RUSADA has already announced their intention to appeal this decision to the international sports arbitration (CAS), but the Heraldic Council under the President of Russia proposes to create a special sports flag for participation in international competitions.

But I think that the problem is much deeper than a missed by the national team of the Tokyo Olympics, the second in a row after the winter games in Pyeongchang-2018. Then we agreed to the participation of Russian sportsmen in competitions under the neutral Olympic flag, considering the incident a mistake. Our sports officials assured that this is the first and last time that the sports arbitration in Stockholm fix it. But it turned out quite differently: we are forbidden not only to show the flag, but also to use its colours in the design of the team uniform. And now WADA demands not only to remove Russian sportsmen from participating in any competitions, to prohibit us from holding international championships, but also to exclude Russians from the leadership of international sports federations.
Now it is no longer possible to deny that our sporting officials, choosing between shame and war, eventually got both shame and war. It was exactly the officials, since the sportsman, as a private person, has the right to determine himself how patriotic he is. But the official was hired for that, so that he would protect the interests and honour of the country, they should be ex officio. They failed it too.
The position “let's go once under the white flag, and then we'll figure it out” would be understandable if it were a mistake. But even in this case, as President Vladimir Putin emphasized at his December press conference, the punishment could not extend to the whole team. If you have a claim to individual sportsmen, deal with them. But WADA has clearly demonstrated that it sees the participation of our sportsmen at best under a neutral flag, and ideally their flight under the flags of other countries. Therefore, the idea of ​​creating a separate sports flag is futile. It’s just banned, that’s all. Here I support our president: if there are no complaints against the Russian Olympic Committee, the national team should have only one flag, the state one.
Yes, and I would not particularly count on CAS. Even if arbitration makes a decision in our favour, the IOC reserves the right to independently determine whether to invite certain sportsmen. Nothing will prevent the Olympic functionaries from leaving the entire team without invitations. In addition, after the decision of the arbitration court in Stockholm in the dispute between Gazprom and Naftogaz, which cancelled Ukrainian obligations simply because of the “negative economic situation in the country,” it is generally difficult to count on the objectivity of the western judicial system.
“Do you think WADA’s accusations are unfounded?”
- To begin with, they should be supported by an objective investigation of the departments authorized for this and an unbiased court decision. WADA is a semi-community organization headquartered in Canada; it is not a police department or a court. If you have any doubts, if there is evidence of someone’s illegal activity, then why not contact the national authorities and make your decision based on their findings? If this does not happen is this because there is simply no solid evidence?
But worst of all, WADA in this case does not follow its own motto - “Play True”. Today, the concept of doping is incredibly vague and confusing, and this meeting of noble gentlemen has arrogated to itself the right to determine what is doping and what is not. As a result, they add Russian meldonium to the list of banned drugs with one hand, and with the other hand, they issue permits for the use of very powerful drugs to sportsmen from the “right” countries according to the so-called “therapeutic indications”. The Norwegian team of “asthmatic skiers” has already become a byword, but it’s inconvenient to recall pumped American tennis players. Somehow, it is not very similar to "play true".
- Why did the international anti-doping agency take up arms precisely against Russia?
- And again, it is necessary to increase the angle of view to answer this question. Recently, the Russia Today agency conducted a large-scale comparison of publications about our country in leading Western and, accordingly, similar publications about Western countries in our press. And it turned out that half of the articles about Russia in the Western press were sustained in a negative way. Moreover, in the USA this indicator reaches 91%. The demonization of our country has almost become an official state policy of our "geopolitical partners." And to achieve this goal, as noted at the recent Baltic Forum in St. Petersburg, Western journalists do not shy away from any lies or forgery. Suffice it to recall how the Western media repeatedly faked stories from Syria, accusing us of supporting the "tyrant Assad using chemical weapons." When they are caught by the hand in a lie, they simply shrug their shoulders, saying that it happened by chance and they lie further.
As for WADA, this organization receives almost half of the funding from EU countries and another third from the USA. Well, he who pays the piper calls the tune. However, I am not inclined to believe that our partners have fallen into an ideological trap. We know very well how this ends when reality is ignored for political reasons. Sooner or later, the ideological picture collides with reality and collapses with a bang, dragging its creators to the bottom.
No, these people are extremely pragmatic. The demonization of Russia allows them to solve several problems at once, from creating an image of the enemy, always convenient for internal use, to providing more comfortable economic conditions for their corporations.
And the joint sanctions of the West against Russia are very characteristic: as long as European business suffers losses associated with them, US companies are confidently increasing their trade with our country. And the last American sanctions against, this time, European companies engaged in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline caused Angela Merkel’s anger, although she had habitually argued the day before that Russia had not yet fulfilled all the conditions for removing European sanctions and so they need to be extended. It is funny and sad at the same time!
- That is, everything rests on money again?
- Of course. The same WADA, commercially successful sports federations, are not allowed to reach their sportsmen with a cannon shot. FIFA, for example, politely reported that it would take the agency’s opinion into account, but will not transfer EURO 2020 matches from Russia: too much money has already been invested, too much future income will be in jeopardy. "Nothing personal, just business".
And pay attention to the ease with which the same Americans apply repression even to their allies when it comes to their own benefit. Don't they understand that European industry needs a steady supply of gas? Of course they do. But their task is to push into the European market the liquefied gas traded by American corporations. The fact that it is more expensive and worse in quality, which means that European products made with its help will become more expensive and less competitive, suits them even more. Another piece of the market for American goods will be freed. So they go into all seriousness contrary to logic, law and justice.
Meanwhile, lifting the sanctions, as I was able to see from my own experience, is much more difficult. For their introduction, there was enough “signal from a concerned citizen” (doesn’t it remind you of anything?) But when my USA lawyers tried to challenge the decision of the US Treasury, it turned out that there were not legal grounds for such a procedure! Moreover, US law expressly prohibits government departments from accepting claims from foreign nationals. It took a special decision by the American Ministry of Justice so that my lawyers could at least start correspondence with the department that made the decision on sanctions.
- So what do we do with the decisions of WADA, the IOC and, it is possible, some other international sports federations that decide to join the sanctions?
- This can be compared to the fact that, as we, joining all these organizations, agreed to play chess, but in the middle of the game our partners suddenly said: now we play Chapaev game, and all the moves are ours. This is not a way to conduct business.
Once in childhood, I became seriously ill, and after treatment, I was sent for a month to an adults’ sanatorium. The time was harsh, on TV there were only two channels, and it’s clear that the men spent their time playing not only chess, but also cards. So there they immediately explained to me: you can’t count on winning when you play with cheaters. Well, who is to blame if you sit down to play with them over and over again?
I believe that now, first of all, it is necessary to disavow, to nullify all WADA's claims against our “pure” sportsmen, using all legal means for this. I do not say that it will be easy, but it is necessary to do it. So, my team of lawyers has already managed to bring to justice several Western media outlets that disseminated misinformation that served as the basis for the imposition of sanctions. It means that it is possible to prove that they were imposed unreasonably and illegally.
But in the future, it should be decided: either these organizations will work in accordance with the rules agreed with us and on the principle of universal equality, without any politically determined intrigues, or we do not need it at all. The world has long ceased to be unipolar and, I think, there are countries that will choose a reasonable alternative to the game with cheaters.
And throwing a white flag is not in the historical traditions of the peoples of Russia.