Pro-Putin grandmaster thanks West for sanctions

Former world title challenger Sergey Karjakin says Western sanctions have worked to his – and Russia's – benefit Read Full Article at

Pro-Putin grandmaster thanks West for sanctions

Chess star Sergey Karjakin has been a vocal supporter of the Russian president and the operation in Ukraine

Chess star Sergey Karjakin has “thanked” the US and its Western allies for imposing sanctions on Russia, pointing to the rapidly strengthening ruble and saying he had made “very good money” as a result of currency changes.

Karjakin has been a prominent backer of his country’s military operation in Ukraine and was handed a six-month ban by global chess governing body FIDE back in March for his public proclamations in support of President Vladimir Putin.

That suspension ruled the 32-year-old out of this year’s Candidates Tournament which determines who will face reigning champion Magnus Carlsen for the world title.

But Karjakin, who was born in Crimea and represented Ukraine before switching allegiances to Russia in 2009, has been defiant in the face of punishment and has not wavered in his support for the Russian leadership.

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That extended to a biting social message on Friday in which Karjakin even thanked the West for the sweeping sanctions its has imposed on Russia.

“I would like to thank the US government and the countries of the European Union for the sanctions against Russia,” tweeted the chess star.

“Thanks to them, the ruble has strengthened to its maximum values against the euro since 2015 and against the dollar since 2018!

“I personally changed all my dollars in March at about the rate of 120, and now the rate is 56.5. I also made very good money on euros!

“Much more than I could have won in the candidates tournament! Do you think it’s time to lock in a profit? Can Russia please get more sanctions?” he asked sarcastically.

After falling rapidly against the dollar and euro in the initial days of the conflict with Ukraine, the ruble has since surged back after countermeasures were unveiled by the Russian government.

The currency continued to hit multi-year highs this week and is the world’s best-performing currency this year, according to Bloomberg.

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Meanwhile, it was confirmed this week that Karjakin would not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland over his FIDE ban, with a representative for the player saying it would be “pointless to butt heads with them.”

Karjakin – who was crowned world rapid chess champion in 2012 and world blitz king in 2016 – has even suggested he could set up a rebel federation in a snub to FIDE.

Five-time world champion Carlsen suggested that, while he fundamentally disagreed with Karjakin’s views on the Ukraine conflict, banning him could set the wrong precedent.

Karjakin took Carlsen to the brink in their world championship match in New York in 2016, with the pair being tied at 6-6 after their regular-format game before the Norwegian prevailed in a set of rapid tiebreaks.

Karjakin suggested that his FIDE ban could be a deliberate ploy to deprive him of another shot at the world title.