August 21, 2010 20:22

FIDE elections: Karpov suggests link between Ilyumzhinov and Yudina murder

Ilyumzhinov vs KarpovIn the increasingly fierce election race between Anatoly Karpov and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the 12th World Champion has now for the first time suggested a link between the current FIDE President and the murder of activist Larissa Yudina, in 1998.

The article, The Truth About Kirsan, appeared on the Karpov 2010 Campaign website. In it, Karpov not only mentions Ilyumzhinov's well-known statements about his alien abductions and his friendship with leaders such as Saddam Hussein, but also touches upon a subject that has been avoided until now in FIDE presidential elections: the murder of Kalmykian activist and journalist Larissa Yudina:

There are darker aspects of Kirsan’s reputation. Larissa Yudina, a prominent journalist and political leader with the political party Yabloko in Kalmykia opposed to Kirsan, was murdered in June, 1998. According to the Yabloko statement, “The question about Ilyumzhinov’s personal involvement in the crime is still open, as the organizer of the murder S.Vaskin (a person with repeated convictions) was Ilyumzhinov’s Legal Advisor.” This murder has not been forgotten in Russia, and references to it still appear when Kirsan makes appearances as FIDE President.

Larissa Yudina was murdered on June 8, 1998 in Elista, the captial of Kalmykia, of which Ilyumzhinov has been President since 1993. Prior to the murder, she had published several critical articles on the Kalmykian President in the newspaper Sovietskaya Kalmykia Sevodnya. In November 1999, Sergey Vaskin and Vladimir Shanukov, two former advisors of Ilyumzhinov, were convicted for the murder by the Kalmykian Court of Justice.

Because so many things are still unclear about the murder, the subject has never played a prominent role in FIDE election races so far. Now, Karpov explicitly makes the link between Ilyumzhinov and Yudina . He refers to the site of the Russian Yabloko party, which has extensively researched the murder and has been demanding Ilyumzhinov be removed from power. One of the key questions still unanswered is the possible motive of the killers. Nothing is said about it in the court verdict, despite the mention of a political link.

One of the few Western journalists who have written about the murder, Martin van den Heuvel, wrote a book in Dutch (Checkmate in Kalmykia, 2000) about Ilyumzhinov and the murder in Elista. He makes two observations that have rarely been mentioned in non-Russian publications. During the trial, an eye-witness report mentioning Ilyumzhinov's brother Vyacheslav at the place and time of the killing - Yudina's flat - was handed on tape to prosecutor Tkachiev, but for some reason it wasn't used in the trial. Another mysterious aspect is the fact that Vaskin and Shamukov never appealed the decision of the court.

Karpov notes the murder hasn't been forgotten yet. On May 26, 2010, members of Yabloko protested in Moscow outside the Echo Moskvi radio station, where Ilyumzhinov was present at the time. Ilyumzhinov himself has always denied any involvement in the affair. Chess journalist Sarah Hurst pointed out that "Ilyumzhinov has been quizzed about his involvement on television. His response was to amaze the interviewer by announcing his intention to stand for President of Russia in the year 2000."

After the trial, in which his aides were sentenced to 21 years in prison, Ilyumzhinov stated in an interview that "the court had confirmed that this crime had been due to a common domestic dispute", however this was in direct conctradiction to the court's own statement which clearly speaks of political motives. Currently, his campaign focuses on visiting as many countries as possible, recently including Peru, Palestine and Syria.

Ilyumzhinov's campaign team now claims the support of 87 countries and dismisses Karpov's campaign as being solely focused on negative aspects of the FIDE President's reputation. ChessVibes will soon publish an interview with one of the Karpov team members addressing this and other criticism.

Meanwhile, many experts believe that Karpov’s victory depends largely on the court case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. Karpov questions the validity of Ilyumzhinov’s claim to have been nominated by the Russian Chess Federation as their candidate for the FIDE presidential elections. Besides, the validity of Ilyumzhinov’s nomination by Argentina and Mexico is also questioned, as is Mrs. Beatriz Marinello’s nomination by Chile and Brazil (relevant because a team must include a female delegate).

According to the New York Times a CAS hearing will take place already in September, which would mean Karpov's White & Case firm successfully convinced CAS of the importance of dealing with this case before the FIDE presidential elections in Khanty-Mansiysk. However, thus far the hearing isn't mentioned on the CAS website, i.e. their list of hearings hasn't been updated since August 10th.

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Arne Moll's picture
Author: Arne Moll


S's picture

I wish Karpov stuck to chess politics

ChessGirl's picture

Great article!

noyb's picture

Karpov is "sticking the chess politics". Kirsan's character is entirely relevant and indeed the main question of this election.

Castro's picture

Spassky for president!

Rob Brown's picture

Absolutely correct, Nyob. whether or not the Kalmykian dictator is a murdering thug goes to his fitness to run FIDE.

bernd's picture

Karpov plays a tough game, not sure that I like it... But a new FIDE leadership must be a good thing.

PS: the Google ads that I'm getting are fabulous: "Criminal Record & Travel.
Travel and Immigration with a criminal record". Just what Kirsan needs.

Dude's picture

Lol. Mine is "The Shocking Truth About - Realistic Self Defense - What the Masters Won't Tell You!"

john's picture

even if Kirsan has no part to play in this murder, there is so much dirt going around about him some of it must be true. the guy is not fit to be FIDE president full stop.

Serdal's picture

As much as I like to think Ilyumshinov is somehow involved in the murder, he should still get the benefit of the doubt. I guess he's capable of anything but murder is a strong accusation; it shouldn't be made lightly. Karpov doesn't really accuse him, of course, et semper aliquid haeret, but such comments can leave stains on Karpov's jacket, too, and I'm afraid it's already an act of desperation.

Castro's picture

Indeed. Do anyone else notice that Kirsan's campain could be saying things alike, regarding Karpov? Like:

"The question about Karpov’s personal involvement in the Ruanda genocide is still open..."

All this stinks! Even in despair, some things cannot be made like this. And the worse thing is that the "darker aspects of Kirsan’s reputation" only matter since one has some great interest. Before that, peace and love and dollars!

Nice to see a friend of a murderer like Putin (also presumably involved in this and many other cases of assassinations) pointing the finger to another friend of the same murderer , specially in the context of this Russian monopoly in the forthcoming ballot for FIDE ´s crown.
This elections are only aimed to mantain Russia´s disgusting influence on the fate of the game of chess , this two piggies dinner in the same pigsty.

Henk de Jager's picture

It is illustrative of the state of chess in its entirety that a nutcase like Ilyumzhinov´, reardless of whether he was involved with the Yudina murder, is able to run the ruling world chess body virtually unopposed for two decades solely with widely known corruption practices, it´s absolutely pathetic.

EksHalmg's picture

Even before he was president Kirsan had not own money , and all he got was from our republican budget and by some big illegal schemes . Now he is not elected president , just Putin allows him to be 'head of administration' . Next he will be dismissed , as for all other old republican heads, governers just now , and be without money at all , other what is put in switserland and so on . Maybe is enough for his family living , not for FIDE budget like now , if he cannot use Kalmyks money . Kalmykia stays the most poorest part of Russia , everything broken there , even crazy " City Chess "' . All young Kalmyks must leave republic, no jobs at all . Please to make everyone know this true informations .

Jens Kristiansen's picture

One aspect is really fundamentally puzzling me in these presidential campaigns: Both parties seem to spend fortunes on their campaigns. Has any one got an idea about their costs just on flights and accomodation? It must be a huge amount.
HOW can it be that much worth to become FIDE-president?
Or do they have hidden agendas?

Arne Moll's picture

Great question, Jens! Hopefully we can ask it to Karpov himself soon.

cashparov's picture

Jens, it must be the hot Kalmykian girls. :P

Greg's picture

What is so great about the question of Jens Kristiansen? Karpov's whatever reply has no value (read below).

Why the FIDE presidency is important? Kasparov wants to use FIDE as a tier level of additional international pressure against Putin (Karpov plays no role, he is just a puppy in this whole story) while Ilyumzhinov gets his <> recognition and passport through FIDE for his other businesses worldwide.

For each one of them (the CIA patrons of Kasparov and the patrons of Ilyumzhinov), to place a few million bucks on their horse is peanuts...

ivan's picture
ivan's picture

kirsan deleted my comments .

ivan's picture

kirsan deleted my comments .

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