The millionaire president of the southern Russian region of Kalmykia was re-elected president Monday, despite criticism that his 12 years in power have done nothing to alleviate poverty. Ilyumzhinov, who also is the president of the world chess body FIDE, has ruled Kalmykia since 1993.
NTV television said lawmakers in the regional legislature had voted 22-1 to approve Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, 43, for a new five-year term. President Vladimir Putin proposed Ilyumzhinov for the post, under the new rules that allows the president to nominate regional leaders, the AP reports.
NTV showed at least a dozen protesters who gathered in a square not far from the regional legislature in Kalmykia's capital, Elista. They chanted and carried signs that read "Ilyumzhinov is death for Kalmykia!"
Some federal lawmakers have accused Ilyumzhinov of stifling dissent in the barren, Caspian Sea region, populated in part by descendants of Mongol nomads. A.M.