The Remarkable Republic of Kalmykia

The eccentric leader of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia

The Remarkable Republic of Kalmykia The murder of journalist Larisa Yudina in Kalmykia in June '98 shocked the whole of Russia. But who runs this strange republic?

In the republic of Kalmykia, Russian politics are at their most eccentric - and most sinister. Kalmykia is located in the southwestern part of European Russia: its people are the descendants of a Mongol tribe, who migrated from China four centuries ago, and has suffered decades of suppression. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the republic's President, and a multi-millionaire at 35, has a decorated history in the world of competitive chess, and now is passing on this legacy to the next generation: chess is now compulsory at school, and millions is being invested to make Kalmykia the chess capital of the world. Yet Ilyumzhinov's power is being challenged by journalist Larisa Yudina, who accuses him of high level corruption and embezzlement. She was murdered in mysterious circumstances only months after this film was recorded. Featuring interview with Ilyumzhinov and Yudina, this film provides unique insight into one of Russia's most unique republics, the man behind it.

Produced by ABC Australia
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