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Russian Chess Grandmaster Banned From Competing For Expressing ‘Wrong’ Political Opinion

Six month suspension for chess prodigy who said he supports actions of Putin to ‘denazify’ Ukraine

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A Russian chess prodigy has been banned from competing internationally by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) because he expressed the wrong political opinion, speaking in favour of his country’s actions in Ukraine.

32-year-old chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin expressed support for Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, writing an open letter to Vladimir Putin that stated Russia is “fighting for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine with its ruling regime, which has put the security of all of Europe and our country at risk, for the sake of its political goals and ambitions.”

Amplifying Putin’s narrative on the Ukraine skirmish, Karjakin further wrote that “For eight long years we have been waiting with hope for salvation from countless shelling and loss of human lives, the ongoing genocide by the still acting Kiev regime.”

He continued, “I express to you, our commander-in-chief, full support in protecting the interests of Russia, our multinational Russian people, eliminating threats and establishment of peace! I wish you the speedy fulfilment of all the tasks assigned to our valiant army.”

After previously announcing a blanket ban of Russia and Belarus from team events, FIDE moved to suspend Karjakin from individual events for at least six months.

“The statements by Sergey Karjakin on the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine has led to a considerable number of reactions on social media and elsewhere, to a large extent negative towards the opinions expressed by Sergey Karjakin,” said FIDE in a statement, adding that they have found the grandmaster guilty of ‘breaching the Code of Ethics’.

The statement concluded that “The EDC Chamber finds, against the background given above, on the standard of comfortable satisfaction that the statements of Sergey Karjakin, which, by his own choice and presentation, can be connected to the game of chess, damage the reputation of the game of chess and/or FIDE. The likelihood that these statements will damage the reputation of Sergey Karjakin personally is also considerable.”

Prior to the FIDE suspension, Karjakin had already been blacklisted from several chess events, including tournaments in the UK and Norway and banned by the Grand Chess Tour and from Chess.com.

Responding to the suspension, Karjakin said: “I’m disappointed. You understand, this is not just a suspension for six months, everything was planned. The idea was to prevent me from playing in the Candidates Tournament and to deprive me of a possible entry into the [world title] match with Magnus Carlsen.”

He added, “I don’t know if I’ll be returning in six months to tournaments under the auspices of FIDE. They dishonored not me, but themselves. I just don’t remember such a precedent when a chess player was not allowed on principle. It’s a shame.”

He also charged that the FIDE ban is political, because the body’s president Arkady Dvorkovich is Russian.

“Dvorkovich is trying to show that he is a European official. He wants to remain FIDE president. He decided to sacrifice me for his political ambitions,” Karjakin further noted.

Karjakin was also quoted by Russia’s TASS news agency that he will not be appealing the FIDE ruling, noting “I don’t see the point of filing an appeal — any court will take the side of Europe. And FIDE is an international sports organization that does the same as everyone else. And by some coincidence, a Russian is still leading it. I think that this is not for long.”

Karjakin added “I understood that there was such a danger [of disqualification], but I believe that I am first and foremost a citizen and patriot of my country, and I say this without any boasting. If such a situation arose again, I would not keep my mouth shut, but again I would write such a letter. I do not regret a bit what I did. Choosing between supporting my country and participating in the Candidates Tournament, I would always choose the first one.”

As we’ve previously noted, there have been a multitude of anti-Russian actions and sentiments that have little to do with the current regime’s activities in Ukraine. Although Karjakin expressed support for his country’s actions, other sports competitors have been banned for not bending the knee and denouncing Putin, despite not issuing any statements of support whatsoever.

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra has banned a a young Russian prodigy pianist from taking part in its events, despite the musician publicly opposing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It’s not enough to submit to the mob by performing a public act of ideological subservience.

Anyone and everything Russian is up for erasure, including Russian cats, Russian Air B&Bs and Russian teams in FIFA Video games.

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    Xi To Arrive In Moscow Monday, Ukraine War ‘Core Part’ Of Talks With Putin

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    Zero Hedge

    ALEXEI DRUZHININ/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry has confirmed in a statement on its website that President Xi Jinping’s much anticipated state visit to Russia will be held from March 20-22, marking the first such in-person visit with President Putin since the Ukraine war started in February 2022.

    The Kremlin at the same time confirmed of the trip that “An exchange of views is also planned in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena,” and that, “A number of important bilateral documents will be signed.” 

    Russia has further said the two leaders will discuss “strategic cooperation” – following early last year’s declaration of Beijing and Moscow’s “no-limits partnership”.

    The new Friday Beijing statement also said the war in Ukraine will be top priority, also after acknowledging that a Xi-Zelensky phone call will happen related to the Moscow visit

    China’s Foreign Ministry said the visit will take place from Monday to Wednesday at the invitation of Putin and confirmed that the war in Ukraine would be a core part of the talks.

    “China’s proposition boils down to one sentence, which is to urge peace and promote talks,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

    And more on the few details made known thus far, to kick off Monday:

    The two leaders will start Monday with a one-on-one followed by an “informal lunch,” with negotiations set to take place Tuesday, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

    This will be Xi’s first important trip abroad after the 69-year old earlier this month became the longest-serving head of state that Communist China has ever seen going back to 1949, and comes after he already broke precedent in gaining a third term as head of the Chinese Communist party last fall. 

    Russian President Vladimir Putin had been among the first world leaders to congratulate Xi on his third term, and hailed the two countries’ strategic partnership. “Dear friend, please accept sincere congratulations on the occasion of your reelection,” Putin said in a statement published by the Kremlin. “Russia highly values your personal contribution toward the strengthening of ties … and strategic cooperation between our nations,” he had said a week ago.

    “I am certain that working together, we will ensure the development of fruitful Russian-Chinese cooperation in all sorts of different areas,” Putin wrote. “We will continue to coordinate joint work on the most important regional and international issues.”

    This post was originally published at Zero Hedge

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    Arrest Warrant Issued For President Putin By Hague-Based ICC

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    Zero Hedge

    Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    As part of the West’s attempt to ramp up the pressure on President Vladimir Putin, the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader. It’s a largely symbolic step, given detaining Putin remains entirely unenforceable, but is enough to create a firestorm of hyped and breathless headlines.

    Another arrest warrant for a top official was announced simultaneously for Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova. The warrants for both Putin and Lvova-Belova allege severe human rights violations against children, and mark the first formal international charges brought by the ICC against Moscow.

    The ICC said in a statement that Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

    According to Axios, it stems from allegations that “Russia systematically relocated at least 6,000 children from Ukraine to Russia since the start of the war” – based on findings by a group called Conflict Observatory and their report published in February.

    “Many of the children, who were taken to camps or other facilities, engaged in pro-Russia reeducation efforts, per the report,” Axios details. “Some of the facilities were used for foster care or adoption in Russia and Crimea.”

    But it remains that the warrants are largely merely symbolic. “The ICC is doing its part of work as a court of law,” ICC court president Piotr Hofmanski said. “The judges issued arrest warrants. The execution depends on international cooperation.”

    Given the ICC doesn’t have a police force, any actual attempt to detain Putin would be the decision of a government, so needless to say it could not possibly be enforced. However, it does complicate Putin’s ability to travel to European or other capitals which cooperate with the ICC. This also means it could hinder peace efforts in the scenario Putin might choose to personally engage in negotiations or diplomacy in a European city.

    The Kremlin responded quickly to the ICC warrants, with Dmitry Peskov stressing that Russia doesn’t recognize the international court, calling its decisions “legally void.” He blasted the attempt to go after the recognized head of state of Russia as “outrageous and unacceptable.”

    Recent debate at the Hague-based ICC ahead of Friday’s announcement certainly put Washington in an awkward position, with Axios pointing out that “The New York Times reported earlier this month that the Pentagon was blocking the Biden administration from sharing U.S. intelligence with the ICC about Russian war crimes in Ukraine for fear that it could set a precedent for prosecuting Americans.”

    This post was originally published at Zero Hedge

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    French Political Leader: “It Was Obvious that the Americans Were Behind the Bombing”

    “It was in the interests of America.”

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    The leader of France’s Eurosceptic party The Patriots responded to continuing controversy over the Nord Stream pipeline attack by asserting, “It was obvious that the Americans were behind the bombing.”

    Florian Philippot made the comments during an interview with RIA Novosti.

    Philippot referenced the report published by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, which claimed the explosives were planted in June 2022 by US Navy divers under the guise of the BALTOPS 22 NATO exercise and were detonated three months later with a remote signal sent by a sonar buoy.

    “Even before the theory put forward by Hersh, who is a very reputable journalist, it was obvious that the Americans were behind the bombing,” Philippot said. “Even before the war in Ukraine, the US had been fighting the Nord Stream pipelines for years, it had become a permanent element of their policy.”

    The politician also highlighted comments by President Biden, who confidently asserted that the pipelines would not be allowed to remain operational.

    “Moreover, in early February 2022, Biden publicly said that the Americans were capable of making the pipeline go away. And it happened. After all, it was in the interests of America,” said Philippot.

    “And there is nothing absurd about this because Norway is Russia’s gas competitor, and Russian gas has been replaced by Norwegian gas in many countries. So they also had their own interests and enriched themselves at this expense,” Philippot added.

    According to Hersh’s sources, the Norwegian Secret Service and Navy were instrumental in locating the right position to plant the explosives.

    As we highlighted yesterday, Hersh said during a National Press Club event that Biden gave the green light for the attack because he thought being a war president would give him the best chance of re-election.

    “I think Biden also saw beating up Russia as a ticket. Jack Kennedy is a classic example – presidents always did well politically in wars,” he said.

    Meanwhile, in a related development, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed attempts by Denmark to deny Moscow access to the investigation into the attack.

    “This is such a fraud, a total scam, not even a con but a threepenny game, which in my opinion no one has been buying for a very long time,” Zakharova said in an interview with Rossiya-1.

    “They are playing this for themselves, but the story with Nord Stream will not end the same way as many other stories they have buried or covered up, I think, for the simple reason that there’s a lot of money at stake,” she added.

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