Conditional Ban For Russian Federation, Dvorkovich Reprimanded By Ethics Commission

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The FIDE Ethics and Disciplinary Commission has punished the Chess Federation of Russia with a two-year conditional ban and reprimanded FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, in both cases for violations related to Russia’s invasion of and continued aggression against Ukraine. The EDC’s decision (in PDF here) was dated and made public on Friday.

Chess Federation of Russia

The FIDE Ethics and Disciplinary Commission (EDC) found the Chess Federation of Russia (CFR) in violation of the following:

  • damage to FIDE’s reputation or bringing chess into disrepute;
  • non-compliance with FIDE principles;
  • violation of duty or obligation imposed by the FIDE Charter;
  • disparagement of FIDE’s reputation and interest.

The violations were a consequence of the CFR’s Board of Trustees having several individuals who are subject to international sanctions and the CFR organizing chess events in illegally occupied parts of Ukraine. The CFR was conditionally sanctioned by a two-year exclusion of membership in FIDE, including any participation in FIDE meetings and events. This sanction is suspended for three years provided that the CFR:

  1. abolishes its Board of Trustees or ensures that those individuals currently subject to international sanctions resign or are terminated from their positions therein within 60 days;
  2. immediately ceases all of its chess-related activities in the occupied parts of Ukraine; Crimea and parts of Donetsk, Kherson and Luhansk regions, including allowing players and/or teams from such territories to participate in CFR chess events.

The EDC noted that “if the CFR fails to meet these conditions of suspension within the 60-day period, the sanction imposed (…) will take immediate effect and be of full force.”

The two-year ban only applies to chess officials and does not affect the rights of players, arbiters, trainers, and clubs belonging to the CFR to participate in chess activities.

Arkady Dvorkovich
Arkady Dvorkovich. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Dvorkovich

Dvorkovich was found to be in violation of different parts of the Ethics Code:

  • act as role model;
  • damage to FIDE’s reputation or bring chess into disrepute;
  • avoidance of improper association;
  • involvement with association or person whose activity is inconsistent with the objectives or interests of FIDE.

These violations are related to Dvorkovich being a member of the CFR’s Board of Trustees as well. He was sanctioned with a “reprimand” and has been urged to resign from the board within 60 days. Although this does not involve an actual penalty, the ruling is still significant for finding that the highest functionary within the International Chess Federation acted improperly as president.

Ukrainian Chess Federation, Baryshpolets, Nielsen

The case was brought to the EDC on September 7, 2023, by the Ukrainian Chess Federation, GM Andrii Baryshpolets and GM Peter Heine Nielsen. The latter two also challenged Dvorkovich during the 2022 FIDE presidential elections.

Andrii Baryshpolets and Peter Heine Nielsen. Photos: fightforchess.com / Nielsen Twitter.
Andrii Baryshpolets and Peter Heine Nielsen. Photos: fightforchess.com / Nielsen Twitter.

The EDC noted that both Baryshpolets and Nielsen lacked sufficient legal standing to bring the Complaint to the EDC, but since this wasn’t the case for the Ukrainian Chess Federation, the case could go through.

In their complaint, the three parties came with three charges, related to 1) sanctioned individuals, 2) chess activities in occupied territories, and 3) failing to observe political neutrality.

The charge regarding sanctioned individuals mentioned the CFR’s Board of Trustees having several individuals who are subject to international sanctions “based on their connection to and responsibility for the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” thus causing “reputational damage to FIDE and the game of chess itself.”

The relevant names on the Board of Trustees are Sergei Shoigu (until very recently Russia’s Minister of Defense), Dmitry Peskov (Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson) and Gennady Timchenko, said to own PMC Redut (Redoubt), a private military company, involved in the invasion of Ukraine.

Peskov, Dvorkovich Board of Trustees
Peskov and Dvorkovich are the first two names listed on the Board of Trustees page.

By being a member of the CFR’s Board of Trustees and FIDE President at the same time, Dvorkovich had associated himself with the sanctioned individuals, thus establishing a direct link between them and FIDE, causing “serious reputational damage to FIDE,” according to the complainants.

Regarding the organization of chess activities in occupied territories, it was pointed out that the CFR has recognized illegally occupied territories of Ukraine and held several chess events there, including in Crimea, Luhansk, Kherson, and Donetsk.

The notion of failure to observe political neutrality was solely aimed at Dvorkovich. The Ukrainian Chess Federation, Baryshpolets, and Nielsen noted that Dvorkovich, until March 2022, was the chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation, sanctioned by the US Department of State in August 2022. They also noted several quotes by Dvorkovich regarding Ukraine over the years and concluded that the FIDE President “does not observe political neutrality” and “does not acknowledge the independence and integrity of Ukraine.”

The EDC decided that the CFR was guilty on both the charges related to sanctioned individuals and organizing chess activities in occupied territories, while Dvorkovich was only found guilty regarding his association with the sanctioned individuals.

FIDE Council

The decision by the EDC mentioned a letter dated April 18, 2024, in which the FIDE Council argued that the EDC does not have jurisdiction over national federations, and another letter dated May 1, 2024, wherein the FIDE Council argued that allowing for the temporary exclusion of a member federation as a form of sanction was against the FIDE Charter. The EDC denied these requests, countering: “An intervention by the FIDE Council would – if allowed – mean that FIDE intervened in FIDE matters, which is not logical, nor in line with the ratio behind the rules on intervention.”

Both the CFR and Dvorkovich have 21 days to file an appeal.



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