Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield". I believe that this is my motto.

- I have long wanted to talk to you, Kirsan Nikolaevich, about how to choose the right path in life. This subject must be very interesting and important for young people.

- Good subject. Why did you choose it?
- The press has repeatedly written about your misadventures while studying at MGIMO such as being accused of espionage and illegal activities. Recently, I heard another interpretation of these events: allegedly, even before your arrest in Kalmykia, the local KGB received a request from the Lubyanka to collect some additional information on you.


A local KGB officer, the father of your classmate, told his son about the danger you faced. Your classmate called you in Moscow and warned that you could be arrested in the coming days. Then you apparently made a daring decision to flee from the all-powerful KGB. You bought a ticket to Dushanbe, where your relatives lived. They helped you to hide in a mountain cave next to the village.

Meanwhile, your friends were trying to settle this issue in Moscow. You spent several days in the cave. Then an old man came down from the mountain. He told you: “Return to Moscow and fear nothing, your path is foreseen from above. You have a goal." So you returned to Moscow. And there was an open road to your amazing career.
- Well, I don't even know who invented this story and what for [laughs]. No. It wasn't like that at all. I never fled from Moscow and I did not hide from the KGB in Pamir Mountains. Hiding in a cave from problems is definitely not about me. I never hid in difficult situations and I did not let the situation take its course. On the contrary, in the most difficult moments, and there were many of them, I made serious efforts to turn the tide in my favour. I am a fighter by nature.
I am convinced that everyone should have the right to fight for his future. We must do our best to provide ourselves a worthy place in this life. I was arrested by the KGB on false denunciation when I was studying at MGIMO. I often found myself under the pressure of circumstances! In 1988, the almighty State Security Committee of the USSR accused me, a fifth-year student of MGIMO, of spying for one of the foreign intelligence services. In addition, they tried to charge me with smuggling and foreign exchange transactions prohibited to citizens. At that time, such a bunch of accusations could well turn into “the highest measure of social protection,” that is, execution.
Now I can afford to refer to this case with a lot of sarcasm: they couldn’t do anything better than to declare me either an Iranian or an Afghan spy (I had a good relationship with the son of Babrak Karmal, who had at the time headed the Revolutionary Council of Afghanistan). But I was not laughing then. Despite the fact that I was innocent and believed that everything would eventually be clarified, I understood I faced serious problems.
I was immediately expelled from the party, and at the same time, I was expelled from the fifth year of MGIMO. This meant not only those five years of hard work went down the drain. The black mark of a suspect of treason to the Motherland was to remain on my reputation for life, cutting off any opportunity to engage in at least some interesting business.
However, at first it was not even the possibility of an execution that was pressing, nor the collapse of my plans and prospects. I was knocked down by the betrayal of those whom I considered friends. It was on the denunciation of one of them that the KGB opened a case against me. Others gave false testimonies. And there were many who had told me that I was their best friend fled like a plague when they saw me.
The state security investigator conducted my case like an experienced psychologist: a few days in a cell then a short walk. Eventually, I was brought to the investigator's office. The case was falling apart, it was clear, and the tone of the investigator changed somewhat. He no longer demanded that I confess.
This time he sympathetically said that I was not a bad person. He said that MGIMO was too much in a hurry with my expulsion and same referred to my expulsion from the party. But what is done is done, you cannot go back. If only…
Then he offered me an "easy way out." Just one signature on a cooperation document and all my problems are solved.
The investigator was clearly not happy with my refusal, but he did not argue. He said: “Well, it doesn’t matter, you’ll be back. And pretty soon." He knew what he was talking about. The fact that the provocation failed, that I was able to prove my innocence did not mean that the ideological-bureaucratic system that had entangled the country would admit its mistakes and restore the status quo.
Indeed, I had to repeatedly visit high offices proving my case before I was able to go back to the university and finish my studies. But perestroika was already underway in the USSR and the notorious system was bursting at the seams. Probably, if this story happened ten years earlier, it would not have a very good ending.
Why do I tell you about it? I think that a decade earlier, knowing that my struggle would be doomed to failure, I would have behaved the same way. You can resume your studies, you can improve your career but you cannot restore honour. I could never have become what I have become by choosing a different path.
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" is a line from the poem “Ulysses” by the English poet Alfred Tennyson. I believe that this is also my motto.
That is why I immediately began a fierce struggle for my future. I wrote a letter to the President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev. I was able to get an appointment with the deputy head of the KGB of the USSR. I filed a lawsuit against the KGB, against the leadership of the USSR. My friends and acquaintances told me that I had lost my mind: no one can compete with such powerful structures. Nobody believed that I could get out of that difficult epic with honour, still, I won. I fought and, in spite of everything, I won.
Let’s talk about some other story. When I came to FIDE, this organization was on the verge of collapse. I found myself, as FIDE President, then in the same situation as US President Roosevelt, during the Great Depression, who came to power and said: "If I am a bad president, I will be the last president." As you know, I did not become the last FIDE President, which means that I did a good job.
Hard work was the only reason for my success. I repeat, especially for young people, that counting on the help of supernatural forces, on some old man to come down from the mountain and solve all your problems is not right. You cannot be a passive person who expects something without making an effort to succeed. You can rely only on yourself, on your activity, on your will, on the ability to fight to the end and on your loved ones.
- So have you been to the Pamir Mountains?
- Why? I have been there.
- Is it true that something unusual and mystical connected with the Pamir happened in your life?
- I actually visited Tajikistan several times, while still a student at MGIMO. My relatives lived there, and there I still have many friends. But the main reasons for my visits to this beautiful and beloved land were absolutely mundane. First, business. My friends and I then organized a very profitable trade in goods from Tajikistan in Moscow. We sold fabrics and carpets. And the second reason was that there was a possibility that I might be sent to Tajikistan to work in the Ministry of Foreign Trade.
On one of the trips, I even became one of the organizers and participants of the meeting of sorcerers and magicians, which we held in the Pamir Mountains. My relatives helped me organize this event. During this meeting, I met many famous psychics like Djuna Davitashvili, for example.
The meeting took place in an amazingly beautiful place. We lived in tents, and in the evenings, we talked around the fire. An incredible atmosphere reigned there. Indeed, one evening, an old Tajik sat down with me and asked my friends to translate what he wanted to tell me. He told me that I should not engage in magical practices because I was wasting my energy.
“Do not try to heal people, do not tell people about their future, although you may well do it. You could heal, and people would quickly recover from diseases, but your health will quickly decline, and death will take your soul away, for you were going against what is destined for you”.
The most surprising thing is that a few months after this conversation I became a people's deputy of the RSFSR, then the first president of the Republic of Kalmykia, and later the president of FIDE.
I have remembered for the rest of my life that it is wiser to stay away from any magical practices. Instead, it's better to master chess. This is necessary to make correct and effective moves in life. Chess is the best game in the world, which is closest to our life. It teaches to solve your problems and cause problems to the enemy. Chess teaches the ability to correctly assess the position in life and find the right moves.
- The last question, Kirsan Nikolaevich. You once said that out of ten predictions made to you by Baba Vanga, eight have already come true. What are the ninth and tenth predictions?
- I can’t answer that. Talking about the future is taboo for me.
- Thank you, Kirsan Nikolayevich, for finding the time for our conversation.

 Pyurvya Mendyaev, Elista