Ilyumzhinov, Vanga, Dalai Lama and Kalmykia

Taking the decision to run for president of Kalmykia, I realized clearly that people were fed up with continuous elections, political intrigues and playing at democracy. What Kalmykia needed was a dramatic change of structure and attitude which would take the needs of the people into consideration, and would awaken and instill in each citizen the belief that he could, and must, earn a real wage for real work, rather than the miserable pennies which he was paid now. The republic must quickly embrace a market economy before it was too late.

I was fully aware that if I were elected president my popularity would swiftly slide downhill. I would be held accountable for the misfortunes and problems that had already accumulated in Kalmykia and the people would demand urgent improvements. But all that was insignificant compared with the economic precipice the republic was dangling over.

At that time an extremely dangerous situation had developed in the Northern Caucasus and there was a risk that the flame of ethnic discord might spread as far as the Kalmyk steppe. Urgent measures had to be taken peacefully to quench the smoldering fire in order not to let it set off a blast in that highly explosive area.

I was beset by doubts not knowing whether it was worth my while taking on this additional burden. I was not sure I could cope with it.

I flew to Bulgaria to visit the famous clairvoyant Vanga.
– “Jesus, you are so young!” exclaimed the woman when she saw me. She shook her head and again said that I was surprisingly young. I asked her if I should run for presidency. Perhaps there was a more deserving candidate than myself? Someone who would make a better president than me? I also asked the prophetess what in her view the future might hold for Kalmykia.

– “Your people have suffered much”, Vanga said. “But they have atoned for their guilt. I can see the clouds disperse and the sky getting clearer. I see flowers. Go to your people. You are able to do much for them.”

After my meeting with Vanga I visited India and His Holiness the Dalai Lama to ask for his blessings. And then in March 1993 1 entered the pre-election campaign.

My main rivals were Major-General V.N. Ochirov, a Hero of the Soviet Union who had served in Afghanistan, and V.H. Bambayev, chairman of the Association of Kalmyk Farmers.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of Kalmykia

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