The Kremlin said on Sunday the re-election of a former Russian deputy prime minister as head of the international chess federation was a “victory” for Moscow.
“The re-election of Arkady Dvorkovich as FIDE president is clearly ‘very good news and a very important victory,'” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told TASS news agency.
“It’s great. This is an important organization, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and we hope Dvorkovich will succeed in this work,” Peskov said.
In the race for the top spot at FIDE, 50-year-old Dvorkovich, who served as deputy prime minister under President Vladimir Putin from 2012 to 2018 – saw off his Ukrainian challenger, grandmaster Andrii Baryshpolets, who accused forced him to be part of the Moscow “war machine”.
But a majority of 157 out of 179 national chess associations voted for his re-election in a meeting in India.
Baryshpolets, who challenged Dvorkovich to running teammate Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark – the coach of Norwegian world champion Magnus Carlsen – won only 16 votes. There were five abstentions and one invalid vote.
Many Russian officials have been subject to sanctions since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in February, and Russia’s opponents have been banned from competition by many international sports governing bodies.
Dvorkovich, 50, who was first elected FIDE president in 2018, appeared to criticize Russia’s attack in Ukraine in March when he said his “thoughts (go) towards Ukrainian civilians”.
But after the backlash the comments caused in Russia, he hit back, saying “there is no place for Nazism or the domination of some other country”.
Historically, Russia has exercised a tremendous influence in the world of chess 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 an aggregated feed.)