Given the recent history of Russian diplomatic resources being exercised to aid the re-election bids of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, it is not terribly surprising that evidence is emerging of similar official government actions in support of the Russian candidate in 2018, Arkady Dvorkovich.

However, in a new development, the Russian leader Vladimir Putin himself has apparently directly intervened in the Kremlin’s global campaign to get national chess federations to support his former deputy prime minister, adding weight to communiqués from embassies which are also surfacing.

At a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Kremlin on July 11, Vladimir Putin allegedly asked him to get the Israeli Chess Federation to back Dvorkovich, also promising that in return Russia would work to get “the next championship” held in Israel.

Such a high-level intervention in the FIDE presidential election was revealed in an email from Ms. Pnina El-al, Director of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Culture, Education and Academy Department, to the Israeli Chess Federation and exposes for the first time the extent of Russian government efforts to swing the election of FIDE president their way, and away from rival challengers — the incumbent Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos of Greece and English GM Nigel Short.