Election 2006: A lesson in democracy

5/11/2006 – Yuriy Vasiliev is a journalist working for "Sport-Express Daily" in Moscow. In recent months he has thrown his full support to the Kirsan Ilyumzhinov re-election effort, writing a series of articles for the campaign web site. Recently he reacted to an article that appeared on our news pages, using George Orwell's "Animal Farm" to defend the FIDE electoral system of one-country-one-vote.

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We understand the impatience of many of our readers who sent us over 100 letters in reaction to the original article by André Schulz and to David Levy's analysis of it. We will soon be publishing excerpts from these letters, but before we do so we bring you an article by Russian journalist Yuriy Vasiliev that is highly critical of Schulz' thoughts. It appeared on the Kirsan Chess Fidelity web site.

…But some are more equal than others …

An essay on Chess Democracy

When I hear some normal by appearance people saying, that certain countries should have superiority over other countries in the election of FIDE President, based on the fact that there are more professional chess players dwelling in their territories, it reminds me of the plot of George Orwell’s novel "Animal Farm”.

Once upon a time there were animals that kicked away their feckless farmer, the drunkard, and started living by themselves. They established the Republic of the Animals. On the tarred wall they wrote Seven Commandments, which the animals intended to follow.

The Seventh Commandment of Animalism principles said:

All animals are equal.

Unfortunately there was one Berkshire boar, named Napoleon, who seized the power in the republic by guile and force. And one fine day the animals saw that the Seventh Commandment had been corrected, it read:

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

The difference between the democracy and the totalitarianism lies in the fact that in a democratic society people never impinge upon rights of the alike.

I think that in case FIDE (Heaven forbid!) had heard the voices of those summoning to give priority, let say to Germany over US Virgin Islands, then the number of member states in FIDE would have been much fewer than 150.

Which state would accept the status of "second-rate state”? Is it right that the World Chess Organization should follow the principles of the boar, named Napoleon, from Orwell's novel?

Although we all love chess in our own way, we should obviously admit that there is a game which is more popular in the world than chess. This game is football. And the typical thing is that the idea to discriminate US Virgin Islands in favor of Brazil or France does not cross the minds of football fans. FIFA Rules read: "In the spirit of true democracy, each national association has one vote, regardless of its size or footballing strength”. Even though the professional football is more advanced in Brazil or France, than in US Virgin Islands, the national football federations of these countries had equal rights in the election of FIFA President Zepp Blatter. It is worth mentioning that the current number of member states in the International Football Association (FIFA) is 207 and this number has increased by 60 over the period from 1975 to 2002.

Is the common belief that a circle is more democratic than a square indeed true? Or is a ball fairer than 64 black and white checks?

In conclusion I would like to remind, what the recognition of the corrected Seventh Commandment by the animals from Orwell's “Animal Farm” resulted in: "After that it did not seem strange when next day the pigs who were supervising the work of the farm all carried whips in their trotters”.

Yuriy Vasiliev,
Chess Observer,
"Sport-Express Daily" (Moscow)


Animal Farm

The novel Animal Farm: A Fairy Story was written by George Orwell in 1945. It is a satirical allegory of the Russian Revolution, particularly directed against Stalin's Russia. Led by the pigs, the Animals on Mr Jones's farm revolt against their human masters. After their victory they decide to run the farm themselves on egalitarian principles. Initially they prosper, but then the pigs become corrupted by power and a new tyranny is established under Napoleon (Stalin). 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.' Snowball (Trotsky), an idealist, is driven out. The final betrayal is made when the pigs engineer a rapproachement with Mr Jones.


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