More than ever before, it is now crystal-clear precisely what is at stake in the upcoming FIDE elections of FIDE on 3rd of October.
- Will we have a continuation of the practice, one could almost say the philosophy, of: “money for control” which Dvorkovich represents? or is a change coming in FIDE, in which a new principle will prevail which Makropoulos’s team have described as: “dignity above money”?
- Will we have continuing political pressure from Russia via Embassies and other channels, on National Federations / FIDE members? This is what is being exerted right now through the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Ministries of Sports of these federations. Or, is this unethical practice, which is completely against the principles of the International Olympic Committee, going to stop once and for all?
- Will we have a continuation of the immorality of people who see delegates and their federations merely as numbers? Or is the vision of Makropoulos’s team and of the most chess federations & chess players around the world going to prevail? Will we, on the 3rd of October, by acting together, put an end to the practice of “gifts and money” in exchange for votes and support?
THE POLITICAL PRESSURES
A huge number of National Chess Federations and Ministries of Sports and of Foreign Affairs have received messages from political officials and Russian embassies. In some cases, this pressure has been to demand a change in the delegate who represents the federation. Many federations have informed the FIDE Forward team of such demands, but for obvious reasons, they do not wish to have their names published (at least for now). For the moment, we will mention only eight federations where this kind of pressure has been applied by the Russian Government acting for the Dvorkovich Campaign. These are the National Chess Federations of Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Cyprus Georgia, Malta, Serbia, Israel, and Greece!
In the case of Israel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs acted in all honesty by sending the following email to the Israeli Chess Federation which demonstrates that political interference is coming from the very top.
“At the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin requested that Israel support the candidacy of former Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich as president of the FIDE World Chess Federation.
Putin, for his part, said that Russia would support the return of Israel’s candidacy for the next championship.
I would be happy to receive your opinion on this matter.”
Malcolm Pein, candidate for Deputy President commented on this: “It is clear that this is not only gross interference in the affairs of what should be a politically independent sports federation, but worse, there is an incentive being offered here”. “This governmental interference in the affairs of an independent sports organisation is unacceptable and against the principles of the IOC to which FIDE is affiliated”.
Dvorkovich’s opinion on this issue can be seen in the answer he gave to Peter Doggers for chess.com
Peter Doggers: “But there’s a difference between saying that Russia supports you and (The Russian Government) asking federations to support you.”
Arkady Dvorkovich: “What should be completely avoided is corrupting other federations. If any person says: you support, and we will give you something for that, or we will build a power station in your country for that, or give you other resources of any kind, that’s corruption.”
Makropoulos agrees with both Pein and Dvorkovich.
The FIDE Forward team will be sending an official complaint to the International Olympic Committee regarding this political interference in the FIDE electoral process by the Russian government. Moreover, we ask all National Chess Federations who have received, or might receive in the future, the pressure of this kind, to report it immediately to us.
In contrast, Dvorkovich claims in his Chessbase.com interview that “Russia doesn’t need FIDE to be influenced and controlled by Russia”.
However, he promotes the political propaganda that serves his principals best, stating on chess.com that FIDE, FIFA and IOC are influenced “by some other countries, heavily”
At this point, we have a question. Which countries “heavily” control FIDE? Greece?
He adds on Chessbase.com that “we need a strong International Olympic Committee and not a weak (one) like in the last few years.”
Well, if a weak IOC means an IOC free of corruption, then FIDE Forward would prefer the weak one!
Regrettably, even when he is a candidate running for the presidency of a global sports organization, Dvorkovich is unable to separate his campaign from his country’s political agenda or the clear need for a politically independent FIDE President.
From the way he is conducting this campaign, it is all too easy to imagine how Dvorkovich will run FIDE if he is elected as President.
IT IS CORRUPTION, NOT FLOWERS!
In a desperate attempt to increase his small chances of getting elected, Dvorkovich has extended his campaign beyond the use of political pressure from Russian embassies.
Dvorkovich cites his organizational role at the FIFA World Cup as evidence of his suitability for the role of FIDE President but what did he do with the power and influence he enjoyed?
He used the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, to invite, host and entertain Presidents and Delegates of chess federations (https://www.chess.com/news/view/the-fide-elections-and-the-fight-against-corruption), whilst at the same time trying to tempt his “market” with claims from members of his team that charter flights would be provided to the Olympiad for the federations of Africa and Latin America.
For Dvorkovich, these invitations that he addressed to federations are not a gift to people who are, in the future, going to help him. He denied this in his chess.com interview adding; “it doesn’t mean I should not give gifts or flowers to my friends. It’s the same with those tickets” (for the FIFA World Cup matches).
This is the moral code Dvorkovich intends, quite blatantly to bring to FIDE. The beneficiaries are not simply friends and the gifts on offer were not flowers. The beneficiaries are potential votes in the election and incentives, tickets and hospitality at the World Cup are worth a lot more than flowers.
It should be also noted, that it was not just two delegates who we know by their own admission went to Russia. Dvorkovich himself mentioned that they were “around 15” people from the chess world.
The most recent information FIDE Forward has received from federations, is that in parallel with the promises for financial support for federations or even delegates, in their desperation to obtain more votes, the Russian side has concocted various other schemes. One of them is the encouragement of Russian controlled companies to approach chess federations and offer them sponsorship for several years.
We wish to inform Dvorkovich that this is a classic case of attempted vote buying. Surely he must understand that his country does not need another scandal of this nature and that he should not implicate Russia to such troubles. Particularly since, even this way, he is still not going to win the election.
On the 3rd of October, FIDE Forward will put to and end once and for all to these corrupt practices being used in order to try and control FIDE. Amongst the changes that we are advocating to the FIDE Statutes is the following;
“Electoral Integrity must be secured. Influence derived from political officials, embassies, etc., trade-offs or any forms of incentive and corruption must be unambiguously forbidden.”
We invite chess federations around the world to oppose the practice “money for control” in order to lead FIDE to a new era of political and financial independence.
Dignity Above Money!