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Kirsan Ilyumzhinov elected the first president of the Republic of Kalmykia

Posted by African Press International on May 3, 2008

Publisher: Korir,

Watching Aljazeeratv program today focusingon the President of the Republic of Kalmykia,Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, one cannot avoid liking him. His straight forward attitude when answering questions from the journalist is amazing. When you listen to him, you get a feeling that he is speaking from his heart. And he puts his people ahead of everything else. Investing on kids knowledge is the best thing that other world leaders should emulate. Knowledge and activities of the mind keeps kids from engaging in crimes and drugs. It is one good example the Kalmyk republic boast about.

This country, though small, can become a model for world success.

Early life

From a humble beginning – his parents, as with other Kamlyks – were deported by Josef Stalin in World War II, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov grew up in Elista after the Kalmyks were allowed to return following Stalin’s death. He won the Kalmykian national chess championship in 1976 at the age of 14. From 1979-80 Ilyumzhinov was a mechanic-fitter at the Zvezda plant in Elista. After two years in military service for the Soviet Army, he returned to the plant as a mechanic for a year, and then studied at the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Relations from 1983-89. From 1989-90 he was selling cars as manager of the Soviet- Japanese company “Liko-Raduga” in Moscow, and from 1990-93 he was President of SAN Corporation in Moscow. Ilyumzhinov acquired his wealth in the economic free-for-all which followed the collapse of the USSR. He now owns a private jet and six Rolls Royces; he has a black limousine in Moscow, but prefers his white one at home.

Political career

On April 12, 1993, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was elected as the first president of the Republic of Kalmykia, and has been running the state since then. Soon after his election, Ilyumzhinov introduced presidential rule, concentrating power in his own hands. He called early elections on October 15, 1995 and was re-elected unopposed – this time for a 7-year term. He won re-election in 2002. According to the BBC, Ilyumzhinov’s election platform for the presidency of Kalmykia included promising voters $100 each, a promise of a mobile phone for every shepherd. He once campaigned under the slogan “a wealthy president is a safeguard against corruption.” He also pledged to introduce what he called an “economic dictatorship” in the republic, as well as to promote chess in Kalmykia, in Russia and to the wider world. He speaks English relatively fluently.

After his reelection in 1995, Ilyumzhinov reportedly told a journalist from the Russian daily Izvestia, “Irrespective of what I tell people, I give them instructions on a sub-conscious level, a code. I do the same thing when I communicate with Russian citizens from other regions. I am creating around the republic a kind of extra-sensory field and it helps us a lot in our projects.”

Ilyumzhinov has striven to become an “Asian values” authoritarian like his Singaporean, Korean, and Chinese role models (even though his republic is in the southern European portion of Russia). He has spent millions of dollars on chess and religion, building a Catholic church at the instigation of the Pope John PaulII. He has also built a mosque, a synagogue, 22 Orthodox churches, and 30 Buddhist temples. Chess was made a compulsory subject in the first three years of elementary school – the only place in the world where this is the case; the region now has numerous champions. The Dalai Lama has visited Kirsan on mque, any occasions, and has blessed a number of the temples in Elista. Ilyumzhinov denies persistent accusations of diverting the republic’s resources for his own use (in fact he does not draw a salary as president), as well as of suppressing media freedom. In 2004 police dispersed a small group of demonstrators who accused him of human rights violations and demanded his resignation. When Australian journalist Eric Campbell interviewed people in Elista about Ilyumzhinov, he found that many were happy that he had managed to gain widespread attention for Kalmykia through chess, although one was slightly critical of the money invested in chess projects.

On 8 June 1998, Larisa Yudina of an opposition newspaper, was stabbed to death in Elista. Both people convicted in the murder were Kalmykian government aides, and one was an advisor to Ilyumzhinov. One other person was acquitted by offering evidence to help in the conviction. Ilyumzhinov denied any involvement with the murder – and indeed it was fully investigated by the local and the Russian authorities.

Claim of being abducted by an Unidentified Flying Object

Two newspaper journalists relate – although this is not in his autobiography – that Ilyumzhinov maintains that in 1997 while he was on a business trip to Moscow he was forced onto a UFO. “They took me from my apartment and we went aboard their ship. We flew to some kind of star. They put a spacesuit on me, told me many things and showed me around. They wanted to demonstrate that UFOs do exist.” He predicts that, “The day will come when [the extra-terrestrials] land on our planet and say: ‘You have behaved poorly. Why do you wage wars? Why do you destroy each other?.’ Then they will pack us all into their spaceships and take us away from this place. It appears that the story was allegoical and taken literally by two gullible western journalists anxious to gain attention.

FIDE career

From November 1995 to present Ilyumzhinov has been President of the World Chess Federation, investing a large amount of his private fortune into the game. He has been enthusiastic about attracting international tournaments to Kalmykia. His flamboyant plans to build an extravagant Chess City in the republic have led to protests by its impoverished citizens. The 1996 bout was scheduled between Gata Kamsky and Anatoly Karpov for Baghdad, after negotiations with Saddam Hussein. However the international response was so harsh, however, that FIDE moved the match to Elista.

In other developments during that time, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov encountered opposition from rivals in the European chess federations, the U.S., and Canada. Some of these managed to a special meeting in Utrecht, Netherlands, on April 27-28. The meeting called for equal treatment for Kamsky and Karpov, the restoration of the traditional FIDE cycle of qualifying contests leading to the world title match, and a shake-up in FIDE. To reinforce this reformation the Utrecht partners supported a candidate to challenge Ilyumzhinov at the FIDE Congress that took place alongside the World Chess Olympiad. The candidate was Jaime Sunye Neto, a grandmaster from Brazil. Ilyumzhinov was successful in mustering support from the Third World and from Russia, and he won the election 87-46. There was no restoration of the traditional qualifying cycle, and Ilyumzhinov’s own preference for a $5 million knockout contest for the world’s top 100 players was deferred from December 1996 until December 1997 with no definite sponsor announced.

In the summer of 1998, the controversial president of FIDE announced his possible candidacy for the Russian presidency. At the same time he was embroiled in turmoil over his plan to introduce an annual knockout FIDE world title system. The plan was resisted by Anatoly Karpov on the grounds that his contract with FIDE stipulated that the winner of the 1998 Karpov-Anand match would hold the title for two years. Karpov’s successful advocacy of his rights led to the cancellation of a planned world title knockout series in Las Vegas, Nevada, late in the year. Since Karpov had an unsuccessful year apart from the Anand match, he was unable to resist the plan that he would have to enter this knockout, whenever it came to be organized, at a far earlier stage.

Ilyumzhinov was involved in further controversy when some groups made attempts to persuade the 140 member countries of FIDE to boycott the main team event of the year, the World Chess Olympiad, scheduled to start in late September 1998 in Elista, the capital of Kalmykia. The event started late due to the failure to complete the new venue in time, but it attracted 110 teams to the main event, a Swiss-system contest shortened to 13 rounds to allow for the delay.

Libyan tournament controversy

Ilyumzhinov arranged to hold the 2004 World Championship in Tripoli, Libya, at the urging of Muammar al-Gaddafi. The 2004 World Championship was held in Libya, and Boris Gulko who had previosuly not wanted to attend, being qualified to play. He accepted the invitation but President Qadafis son, who was also the President of the Libyan Organizing Committee, reportedly announced: “We did not and will not invite the Zionist enemies to this championship.” FIDE clarified that this statement was never made and it was only a rumour. Even so, Gulko, along with other Jewish players from Israel and the United States, declared that they will not participate. Gulko sent a strong letter to Ilyumzhinov, saying “I implore you not to be the first president of FIDE to preside over the first world chess championship from which Jews are excluded. Our magnificent and noble game does not deserve such a disgrace.” The tournament went on as scheduled, without Gulko.

Re-election controversy

On June 2, 2006, Ilyumzhinov was reelected as FIDE President by a margin of 96-54 against his opponent Bessel Kok. In an October 2006 Wall Street Journal article Gary Kasparov harshly criticized Ilyumzhinov FIDE’s leadership stating: “(Ilyumzhinov) has created a vertical column of power that would be familiar to any observer of Russia today. He runs the chess world in the same authoritarian way he runs his impoverished republic. After a decade of such mistreatment, the only place that could be found to host the (chess world champion unification) match was his own capital. Some sponsors boycotted the organization, and tried to set up a rival one.” Nigel Short, the British grandmaster who supported Kirsan’s rival for the leadership of FIDE, was critical of Ilyumzhinov’s victory and said that “either FIDE stays a cowboy organisation mired in sleaze and shunned by corporate sponsors, or it becomes a modern, professional sporting body.” Anatoly Karpov, the former world champion, and onetime supporter of Kirsan, has now turned against him.

Source: wikipedia


Source.Gvt of the republic of Kalmykia

Elista – the capital of Kalmykia

Elista, the capital of Kalmykia, is located in the South West of the republic in the wide valley to the South from the Yergeninskaya Height.

According to the data of the State Statistics Committee of the Republic of Kalmykia for January 1, 2002 was 109.9 thousand.

By January 1, 2002 the area of Elista was 39657 hectares of which 21045 hectares is the city itself and 18612 hectares is the conjoining territories.

The transport network of the city is made by 300 kilometers of automobile roads, including 220 km of asphalt coated and 80 km of unpaved roads. The three highways crossing Elista have federal status: Elista – Volgograd, Elista – Makhachkala, Elista – Astrakhan.

The external transport communication is performed by the railroad line Stavropol – Elista, motorways Stavropol – Elista – Volgograd, Elista – Astrakhan and Volgograd – Elista – Kizlyar and the airlines.

The analysis of Elista population growth indicated that the largest growth rates occurred in the recent years. The growth of the population in 1996 made 6.3 percent.

The demographic changes are conditioned by the incoming migration flow from other regions and rural areas of the republic.

One of the priorities in the development of the city is residential construction and construction of social objects.

In the last six years the amount of contractual works reached 1.5 billion rubles, this amount in 2001 became 10 times higher than in 1996. Completed were over 269 thousand of residence areas from all the financing sources.

The residential construction was activated by the adoption of the Presidential Program “Dwelling 2001”. The city hall carried out the necessary works aim at the realization of the program. The Elista City Council prepared and adopted the municipal targeted program “Dwelling” that marked the main directions of fulfilling the provision of residential areas to the population of Elista. The program stipulates the attraction of all the financing sources, the development of the mortgage crediting, individual residential construction, construction of housing to various degrees of completeness, mansard construction.

The Elista City Council have established the Investments and Mortgage Service in order to create the organizational, economic and information condition for solving the questions connected with the investment activities in municipal education as well as coordination of City Hall activities in the sphere of mortgage crediting.

The main directions in the work of the Service are connected with the coordination of investment issues, realization of mortgage crediting, development of legal basis for the investment tenders and operative control in realization of investment projects.

Realization of the “Dwelling” program objectives required the creation of the organization to become its principal executor. The experience of the other regions and the analysis of the current situation allowed the service to develop the documents required for the creation of such organization. On May 20, 2001 a non-profit fund, the City Fund for the Development of Mortgage Housing was created to become the main executor of the program.

May 2001 was marked by the beginning of active work in construction of residential objects and attraction of financial resources to the residential construction.

The main condition in granting apartments with the installments of payment is the payment of 50 percent of housing cost and 2 guarantor and the corresponding overall family income.

The advantages of the program are:

  • Cost of 1 square meter of housing is below the market price (uncompleted construction);
  • Payment by installments up to 10 years;
  • Inflation ratio is excluded;
  • The credit rate is 10 percent.

All the new construction must be organically inscribed in the architectural look of Elista which is the recent years takes up ethnic color.

The city is carrying out the gradual greening and municipal improvements, laid are new parks, repaired roads, flower beds and loans, pavement and lighting of walkways.

It is necessary to note that Elista is the largest city in the republic inhabited by 31.2 % of Kalmykia’s population. Elista accounts for 30 % of republic’s enterprises’ and organizations’ capital assets, 32 % of capital investments, 45.1 % in the total industrial output, over 70 % of retail trade and catering. Elista carries capital city functions and is a political and administrative, cultural and organizational center. It was legally acknowledged in the decree by the President of the Republic of Kalmykia “On the city of Elista, the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia” dated December 02, 1997. Realization of this decree have considerable increased the legal, social and economic status of Kalmykia’s capital.

The program of the social and economic development determines the prospectives of the development of Elista, reformation of the particular sectors of city economy, increase of the life standards.

The program of social and economic development of Elista for 2001-2005 stipulates the plans of measures to support small and middle enterprises, shows calculations of the population’s demand, economic effect of the production development, provides basis for the development of the industries.

There are 23 industrial enterprises in the territory of Elista. They represent the following sectors: oil extraction, power production, machinery building, wood processing, construction materials, light, food and printing industries.

The structure of the industrial production by sectors is characterized by the following data: oil extraction- 70.5%, printing – 1.3%, construction materials – 0.7%.

The City Hall of Elista developed the program of the prospective development of the industrial production for years 2001-2005, is was approved by the decision of the Elista City Council. The program defines the priority directions for the development of industrial production by supporting the modern competitive plants and types of economic activities, worked out the mechanism of program’s realization by offering state contracts, system of crediting.

In 2001 the enterprises of light industry received the total amount of 3043.0 thousand rubles of commodity credit. This support contributed to the growth tendency in the light industry production.

Effectiveness of the republic’s economy was greatly influenced by the development of private entrepreneurship. So far the highest potential belongs to the small businesses as it is more flexible to meet the changing market conditions.

The number of small enterprises in Elista is 2713 or 23,6 % of the total number of enterprises, registered as tax payers and carrying out business in the territory of Elista.

In the period from 1996 to the first half of 2002 the number of small enterprises in Elista grew by 2.5 times.

The main educational priorities in the schools of the city are: development of the national educational system, studies of the Kalmyk people’s epic “Jangar”, application of the unique technology “Enlargement of the didactic units” by P. Erdniev, development of chess education.

The unique educational technology , enlargement of didactic units, developed by P. Erdniev is actively implemented in more than 50 regions of Russian Federation. The followers of professor Erdniev work in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Stavropol and other cities of Russia.

Elista is also a science center of the region concentrating post secondary and secondary educational institutions, Kalmyk State University.

Education of the city is 10 secondary special institutions offering instruction to 6892 students, 29 secondary schools, including 7 innovative ones, 2 evening schools, 9 primary schools, 26 children’s pre-primary institutions, the Palace of Children’s Arts, Children’s Olympic Reserve Sport School.

Prizes of Elista students at all-Russian school student’s subject Olympiads are the indicators of school achievement level. Former Elista school students attend post secondary educational institutions in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov, Pyatigorsk, Astrakhan, Volgograd. In the last 10 years 72 students left secondary school with golden medals, 131 were awarded with silver.

In spite of the difficult social and economic situation and inadequate financing the municipal health care institutions managed to save its structure and specialists, did not lower the amounts of health services and constantly perfect the methods and forms of work. Eight treatment and prophylaxis institutions function in Elista. In order to ensure a higher degree of accessibility of medical services to the population four branches of city clinics were opened in the city.

The main objective of the youth policy is the creation of legal, social, economic and organizational conditions for the development of young personality, realization of his creative and physical potential, formation of active life position.

The Elista City Council aids the family and children assistance centers “Itkel”, “Itsel”, “Buyancha sedkel”. Social protection of rights and interests, availability of jobs for minors and youths is one of the main concerns of the city administration and all the prevention services.


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