The re-election of a former Russian deputy prime minister to head the international chess federation was a “victory” for Moscow, the Kremlin said on Sunday.
Arkady Dvorkovich’s re-election as FIDE president was “clearly very good news and a very significant victory,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by TASS news agency as saying.
“It’s very cool. It’s an important organization, with a lot of work to do, and we hope that Dvorkovich will be successful in this work,” Peskov said.
In the race for FIDE’s top job, Dvorkovich, 50, – who served as deputy prime minister under President Vladimir Putin from 2012 to 2018 – saw off Ukrainian challenger Grandmaster Andrii Baryshpolets, who l accused of being part of Moscow’s “war machine”.
But an overwhelming majority of 157 of the 179 national chess associations voted for his re-election at a meeting in India.
Baryshpolets, who challenged Dvorkovich with his running mate Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark – coach of Norwegian world champion Magnus Carlsen – won just 16 votes. There were five abstentions and one invalid vote.
Numerous Russian officials have been hit with sanctions since Moscow sent troops to Ukraine in February, and Russian competitors have been banned by numerous international sports governing bodies.
Dvorkovich, 50, who was first elected FIDE president in 2018, appeared to criticize Russia’s offensive in Ukraine in March when he said his “thoughts (are) with Ukrainian civilians”.
But following the backlash the remarks sparked in Russia, he backtracked, saying there was “no room for Nazism or the domination of some countries over others”.
Historically, Russia has wielded enormous influence in the chess world since Soviet times, when the game was one of many areas of confrontation between the communist bloc and the West.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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