How the image of Kalmykia was created

In previous years, perhaps, not a single Russian region attracted such attention as Kalmykia. Frankly, the image of Kalmykia was inextricably linked with the image of the first person of the republic. It was with the election of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov that qualitative changes occurred not only in the economic and social spheres, but also in the image of Kalmykia.

Thanks to the political will and energy of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, several significant projects were implemented in this republic, which laid the foundation for a new image of Kalmykia.


Ilyumzhinov, a friend of the Dalai Lama, created the European Buddhism Centre in Kalmykia in the shortest possible time, implementing a project to build the largest Buddhist temple in Europe. Now the temple is an undoubted attraction of both Kalmykia and the whole of Russia. Construction of the temple had a positive impact on the image of Kalmykia within Russia and beyond. It positively affected the international image of the Russian Federation, especially in the Buddhist world.

Another high-profile project of Ilyumzhinov is, of course, chess. The construction of City Chess, a hotel complex on the south-eastern outskirts of Elista, has made an invaluable contribution to the development of the international chess movement. Having become the president of the international chess federation, the regional leader not only gained world fame, but also secured the image of a prominent politician. Chess is a special sport. It required sharp mind and ability to count moves ahead.
On 24 October 2010, a meeting of the Council of Elders of the Republic of Kalmykia was held. It considered results of the activities of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as head of Kalmykia.
“17 years is a long way that we have travelled together. During this period, many changes have occurred in the Republic of Kalmykia. Thanks to Kirsan Nikolayevich, Elista, the capital of Kalmykia, was provided with high-quality gas,” said the chairman of the Council of Elders. “Today, Elista has changed significantly. There was not a single day that guests from neighbouring regions did not visit us.”