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Kirsan Resigns Presidency (sort of)

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But not of FIDE. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has resigned as president of the Russian republic of Kalmykia. He wasn't scheduled to leave office until November, 2006 and first came to power in 1993 at the age of 30. His goofy official site.

[Update: As several people explained by email and as is described by Valchess below, this is most likely just a charade. Ilyumzhinov will probably be duly reappointed as president of Kalmykia after kissing some Kremlin tush. So, probably no story at all. So my trick about getting you all excited about him resigning was a double-whammy.]

Some prescience by Sadulayev, the political Chechen rebel leader, in June, 2005: "Next in line will be Kalmykia, where Putin, using the new law on the appointment of governors and heads of republics, intends to aggravate the situation and, using this as a pretext, to oust Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and replace him with his protegé."

Politics and chess politics have been tightly linked in the former Soviet countries and rumors of Ilyumzhinov being on the outs with Putin's administration had been going for a while. It seems unlikely that Ilyumzhinov will have to get a real job now, but we'll see whether he now puts more time into chess or less. FIDE has made a series of good moves lately and Ilyumzhinov has been sounding uncharacteristically conciliatory thanks to facing his first real challenge for the FIDE presidency in Karpov. It will be interesting to see what not having access to the Kalmykian treasury does to his level of influence.


Holy carp! Good for Kalmykia. But what will become of Kalmykia's Chess City?

Shame on you, Mig! I saw the headline pop up in my RSS reader and my heart did a little flip...only to sink back into despair upon reading the post. I mean, good for the people of Kalmykia and all; but does this mean that Kirsan will have *more* time and energy with which to misdirect international chess?

Isnt this the ultimate irony? Kasparov, who should not be allowed into politics, quits chess so he can concentrate on politics and Kirsan, who should not be allowed into chess, quits politics so he can concentrate on chess.

Chess should trade - exchange Kirsan for Kasparov - and both would benefit from sucha move.

The problem is tha Kirsan belongs neither in politics, nor in chess. While I take seriously the havoc wrought by Kirsan in the Chess World, one has to keep things in perspective, and recognize that hus reign in Kalmykia has led to far greater, and more consequential, human suffering.

At any rate, this might be the first step to Kirsan being forced to cede control at FIDE, if indeed the largesse that Kirsan has bestowed upon the Chess World cannot be sustained.

Mig, what are you talking about? "Ilyumzhinov facing his first real challenge for the FIDE presidency in Karpov"?

When FIDE announced in February the San Luis project, and the World Championship cycle 2005-2007 to follow, there was no Karpov candidacy anywhere. Karpov appeared much later with the funny interview in Chessbase: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2495

In any case, Karpov's candidacy is very weak. His name is involved in a serious banking scandal in Russia concerning money laundering http://news.rusmarket.ru/20050908/73171 and he is a also a long-time associate and active supporter of the scandalous Jean-Paul Touze, the French organizer of the disastrous Belfort World Youth Chess Championships this year http://www.jmrw.com/Chess/Belfort_Karpov.htm

Even the usually soft-speaking Anand has recently spoken angrily against Karpov's candidacy. It's really a pity that the USCF couldn't find a better candidate to endorse against Ilyumzhinov...

What does any of that have to do with my statement that this is a real challenge? Karpov has been tentatively backed by many groups, and you mention the USCF yourself. And Ilyumzhinov's latest release was quite a change of tone and tune.

San Luis was announced in April, the cycle in May. I broke the rumor of Karpov's candidacy here in March.

Hi Mig, where do you dig up all this daily dirt? You must have the best sources around!?

Mig, try to be more accurate. The FIDE decisions concerning the World Chess Championship Tournament (now taking place in San Luis) and the next cycle were made during the FIDE meeting in Tbilisi (which was in February).

So the "good moves made by FIDE" have nothing to do with Karpov's candidacy. It sounds funny that you are trying to give credit to Karpov for the success in San Luis...

And by the way, wasn't the USCF recently promoting the so-called "brain pills" product which created such a scandal? No wonder they would endorse Karpov as a candidate...

My only reference to Karpov's candidacy was that it was likely the cause for Ilyumzhinov's new conciliatory tone in his address LAST MONTH. I give Karpov no credit for San Luis or anything else. The conjunction "and" separates the two concepts.

And where is the record of what was or wasn't decided in Tbilisi? Sounds logical, but this is FIDE and such is not mentioned anywhere I can find.

Here is a link from Chessbase http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2226 from 28 February. Ilyumzhinov originally wanted to hold the event in Elista with a 500,000 USD prize fund but then the Argentinians appeared who offered a round million to get the event in San Luis.

Ah, that's right, it was an AP story, not anything from FIDE. The irony of course being that I wrote that story at ChessBase. Where are my gingko biloba pills...

Mig, I am afraid this is your wishful thinking about Kirsan quitting his job as a president of Kalmykia. You seems to miss the following important line (see you own first reference!):
"President Ilyuzmzhinov tendered his resignation on Tuesday and simultaneously raised before Russian President Vladimir Putin the question of trust in him."

Since recently regional governors & "presidents" in Russia are no longer elected by a popular vote but their candidacy are submitted by President Putin and then are formally appointed by a local Parlament. So local rulers like Kirsan have adopted the following tactics: instead of waiting for expiring their popular mandate with unpredictable consequences, they negotiate behind the doors of Presidential administration and promise a full loyalty to Putin and his entourage. Having reached an informal agreement they publicly ask Putin about his "trust" (usually local "parlaments" are under governor's control - as is Kirsan's case). This trick has already proved to be very effective in keeping governor posts for quite a few of Kirsan's colleagues.

Given the absence of credible local alternative candidates, Kirsan is quite certain that his job is to be handed to him for another 5 years - at least Russian political analists do not doubt it.

Yah, several people have discussed this with me by email. I'm aware of the appointee status these days, but the rest of the article talks about alternatives and such it made it sound quite different; rather dodgy translation doesn't help either. Thanks for the explanation though, I'll update the item.

I guess we'll just have to see! I tried to look up this news at different sites and had the impression that the only reportage was on Russia-media-owned papers. So it's hard to see more than one side to this thing. Maybe someone would like to send me an English translation of an alternate version of this news?

I was confused about that too at first. But the very lack of news indicates that this is a pro-forma charade.

In the United States, when an incumbent president is re-elected, it is traditional that at the first cabinet meeting of the second term, ALL of the cabinet secretaries submit a letter of resignation.

This gives the President the option of refusing the letter of resignation in order to keep them, or accepting it in order to rpelace them with someone else. It means that the President isn't forced to fire anyone in order to make changes for the second term. But the President just refuses to accept the letters of those that are to be kept. And then they say, "Ah, well, if you really need me..." and withdraw the resignation.

I thought this was one of those sort of situations, but perhaps I'm confused.


I agree with what you said earlier. You are perfectly right

I've said it before and I'll say it again - yer the man. Seriously, its a sweet idea, I like the fact that you try and think of things outside the norm. I'd post this to css-d for comments myself, especially to get the last 10% working

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 5, 2005 2:51 PM.

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