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Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

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Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov (Russian: Кирса́н Никола́евич Илюмжи́нов) (b. April 5, 1962) is the President of the Republic of Kalmykia of the Russian Federation. He has been the head of FIDE, (a.k.a. the "World Chess Federation"), the preeminent international chess organization, since 1995. He has striven to become an "Asian Authoritarian" like his Singaporean, Korean, Chinese role models (even though his republic is in southern Russia). He has spent millions of dollars on religion, building a Catholic church at the instigation of the pope, even though there was only one Catholic in predominantly Buddhist Kalmykia at the time. He has also built a mosque, a synagogue, 22 Orthodox churches and 30 Buddhist temples.

Ilyumzhinov is widely regarded as heading a corrupt regime that has proved itself incapable of developing the region. Residents of the Kalmyk capital, Elista, often hold protests and hunger strikes because of the shortage of basics such as water, and the lack of democracy. Ilyumzhinov's preoccupation is chess, and he spends his time flying around the world as president of FIDE. He built a now-crumbling 'Chess City' for the 1998 chess Olympiad, which was held a few months after the murder of leading Kalmyk opposition newspaper editor Larisa Yudina. Chess City's main occupants are now the players in Ilyumzhinov's football team, on which he lavishes three times as much as on the republic's education budget.

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Ilyumzhinov features prominently in two recent books, Curse of Kirsan: Adventures in the Chess Underworld by Sarah Hurst (ISBN 1888690151) and The Chess Artist, by J. C. Hallman (ISBN 0312272936).ja:キルサン・イルムジーノフ nl:Kirsan Iljoemzjinov de:Kirsan Iljumschinow

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