The War on Free Speech: Chess Federation Suspends Grandmaster for Supporting the Russian Invasion

We have been discussing Russian artists and athletes blackballed for failing to publicly denounce Putin of his invasion of Russia. Despite the support that most of us have expressed for Ukraine against this unprovoked and savage attack, there is a danger that we are losing a war at home against free speech. The Russian invasion has added new allies in a growing anti-free-speech movement to censor and blackball dissenting voices. The latest such controversy involves Sergey Karjakin, a Russian grandmaster who supports the Russian invasion. He has been banned from competitions for six months by the International Chess Federation (FIDE).  He has been banned due to the unpopularity of his political views — an act that should be denounced by anyone who values free speech.

It is important to note that Karjakin is not being banned as a Russian competitor. Various organizations have cut off Russian athletes from representing the country or doing so under the Russian flag in light of the invasion.

Rather, Karjakin is being barred due to his public statements.

Karjakin has an interesting profile because he has represented both Ukraine and Russia in international competitions. He was born in Crimea and represented Ukraine in three Chess Olympiads and Russia for five of the events.

Karjakin considers himself Russian and views supporting the war a patriotic duty. He tweeted:

“Many people ask if I regret my public support of the special operation? After all, I have already lost invitations to Western tournaments and may lose an invitation to the candidates tournament. My answer is simple. I am on the side of Russia and my President. No matter what happens, I will support my country in any situation without thinking for a second!”

His “my country, right or wrong” approach led to a furious outcry and the FIDE ban. The organization cited its “Code of Ethics” and particularly Article 2.2.10 as the basis for the punitive action. That rule is a nightmare of ambiguity for those concerned about free speech and corporate censorship:

“In addition, disciplinary action in accordance with this Code of Ethics will be taken in cases of occurrences which cause the game of chess, FIDE or its federations to appear in an unjustifiable unfavorable light and in this way damage its reputation.”

Let’s break that down: any “case of occurrence” (whatever that means) that “causes” (however that is defined) “unjustifiable unfavorable light” (whatever that constitutes) to FIDE “reputation” (whatever that is). It could have been simplified by saying that “we reserve the right to bar anyone who says anything we do not like.”

In this case, FIDE declared that

“EDC First Instance Chamber, formed by Yolander Persaud (Guyana), Ravindra Dongre (India), and Johan Sigeman (Sweden) as Chairperson, unanimously decided as follows:

The statements by Sergey Karjakin on the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine has led to a considerable number of reactions on social media and elsewhere, to a large extent negative towards the opinions expressed by Sergey Karjakin…

A necessary condition for the establishment of guilt is that the statements have reached the public domain. This concept, with respect to disrepute clauses in sport, is not the world at large but the sport in which the accused engages, such as chess. Information concerning the accused’s conduct which is not published in the media, but which can be learnt without a great deal of labour by persons engaged in the chess world or a relevant part of it, will be in the public domain and satisfy the public exposure element. The EDC Chamber is comfortably satisfied that this condition is fulfilled in this case.”

The EDC Chamber finds, against the background given above, on the standard of comfortable satisfaction that the statements of Sergey Karjakin, which, by his own choice and presentation, can be connected to the game of chess, damage the reputation of the game of chess and/or FIDE. The likelihood that these statements will damage the reputation of Sergey Karjakin personally is also considerable.”

It is particularly chilling that Karjakin is sanctioned because his opposing viewed “reached the public domain.” There is another word for that: free speech.

The board opted not to punish Sergei Shipov, another Russian grandmaster who posted public statements of support for the invasion. The distinction only magnifies the arbitrary elements in this action:

“In comparison with Sergey Karjakin, Sergei Shipov is considerably less known and has, therefore, a less powerful platform. The statements made by Sergei Shipov are also of a slightly different and less provocative character than the ones made by Karjakin. In an overall evaluation of the potential negative impact on the game of chess and/or FIDE, the EDC Chamber is not sufficiently convinced that Sergei Shipov’s statements qualify as a breach of article 2.2.10.”

So both grandmasters publicly spoke in favor of the invasion but FIDE found that Shipov was “less provocative” in his public comments despite holding the same opinion.

FIDE is joining companies and groups that claim to be fighting tyranny by punishing those who exercise their freedom of speech. It is perfectly Putinesque.

Wartime is often the most dangerous time for free speech. The desire to silence others rests like a dormant virus in any society. People prone to censorship find license in such times. Few object in such times. After all, no one wants to be accused of being soft on Russia or, worse yet, a traitor. Even the barring of political parties in Ukraine by Zelenskyy has barely attract attention, let alone criticism.

The war in Ukraine is costing humanity greatly with increasing evidence of war crimes and untold suffering. We should not add free speech to the prohibitive costs of this war. This is not about supporting Ukraine. It is about fighting for the freedoms that define a people.

We can do both. We can stand with Ukraine and free speech.

88 thoughts on “The War on Free Speech: Chess Federation Suspends Grandmaster for Supporting the Russian Invasion”

  1. Sergey Karjakin; Well Done Sir;

    I agree with You, I regard Vladimir Putin, President of Russia as my Brother,
    regardless of the political, national festoon.
    One of the most competent Leaders the world has ever seen.
    Consider that he has successfully managed the Great Bear, Russia,
    these 20+yrs. If he ran for president in the US, landslide victory.
    who else could match his record. He is as a Patriarch of old.

    Upon that basis i would be very happy to have dialogue, comparing logical
    and spiritual insights neither one of us attempting to convert the other.
    We both have the conscience from G-D all the rest is festoon, transitory.
    DIALOGUE between us, 3 opinions, eh
    \May G-D keep and save him!

    So have i presented to EUCOM;
    To Wit:
    i have a simple plan using the best social logic…
    @stop the pogroms, cancel; all sanctions, stop the arms shipments.
    Approach Russia and their President with dignity and respect.
    [do unto others] start a -dialogue with equal aspect, not accusations and demands.

    confess and repent

    Be sincere and prove it. Get those college educated negotiators to help construct a plan that is a DRAW for both sides. Use logical principals that are time tested, and strictly apply.

    for all of us, each of us Repent, from the heart, stop the insults and calls for death % war’
    it really does matter.
    What i see in our govt, conservative radio, i will never vote again.

    my own govt criminalised me for ancestry, skin color, how i voted [i thought that was private]

    G-D will not bless that stuf, HE will curse it.
    [Hosea & others will give insight]

    Bluntly, nato & eu/us etc are doing the typical christian withch hunt and pogrom.
    and we all know whats almost inevitable.[95% now]

    i have that in my own neighborhood, i got pogrom-ed, nieghbors & their cop friends drive me off my property, because i am not chistian, but i pray
    easie for me to understand.\

    Make Mr Putin an equal, not faked.. this must be real, to the core.

    i do not pray for the us & nato/eu unless they stop the pogroms, at home and abroad.

    this is our last chance.. emergency meeting of nato might be the straw of overburden


    can we all just -get along-
    but nooo old grudges and hate seem to rule the west.
    if i was in charge;
    dis arm nato and pull them back, and dissolve it
    stop arms supply
    give the excellent logic a REAL chance, no war threats.
    they already know i wont suffer to be treated unequal,
    nor would permit Russia to be persecuted and treated unequal

    go ahead and try that, much cheaper than one stinger;
    i would guarantee there is no ww3

    i just send my opinions to EUCOM
    maybe just in time.
    will i live tomorrow, i just cant say;
    but i know i got life today
    Blue sun coming thru my windows,
    raise me up from the sleepy grave
    hurry and rescue me
    so i can be on my way


    i think its ok to be monitored; they can read my logic;
    and really remember… that is how i penetrate their cloistered castles
    even to pierce their hearts with truth

    all sites are closely monitored. speak the truth without hate.
    Kings and armies fight in vain against the Godly man.
    Want to feel like a Man, then act like a Man
    you don’t give for what you take;
    you might never wake…
    [Joseph’s coat; Quicksilver mssgr svc]

    pls do not waste time3 hating anyone;
    Vengeance is Mine Saith The Lord.
    speak the truth, the wisdom of G-D ,
    those who can receive, surely will
    G-D does not force anyone to believe;
    neither should we

  2. the sad part is if you know the actual truth rather than what hillary clinton and the msm tell you is going on, then you would support russia too, but you been lied to, and apparently the fide has too.


  3. The first amendment guarantees that you won’t be prosecuted for what you say, not that you won’t lose your job. World chess is a business, and Sergei Karjakin has made himself very bad for business. FIDE did the only thing they could do.

  4. Jonathan: It seems my earlier comment about free speech issues involved in FL HR1557 bill has caused some amount of virulent backlash by some of your loyal followers. I have been accused, among other things, of being part of “leftist agitprop” (whatever that is), a “pervert” and I should be “castrated for your defense of child pornography”. Wow! You can’t get more perverted then that kind of language. In another comment I have be en accused of lending my “integrity to the abuse of youngsters in K-3”. Can’t be more bizarre then that. Hey, I get it. When you enter this chat room you have to expect nonsensical labels and spurious insults because some have nothing substantial to add to the debate.

    So let me try to explain further what I meant in my earlier comment. HR1557 in Florida applies only to grades K-3. Third graders are generally 8 and 9 years old. From personal experience I can attest kids of this age are having discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in and outside of school. I doubt that kids younger are having such discussions. But if a 9 yr. old asks a teacher about the two issues what is to be done by the teacher? Under HR1557 teachers are prohibited from any discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity (see page 4, line 97 of the Bill). School districts that violate what will likely become statute can be sued by parents for damages. In my opinion this is a direct attack on the right of teachers to respond honestly and frankly to student questions. It is an attack on free speech. In an ideal world parents would be discussing these important questions with their kids. But, unfortunately, some parents avoid such issues with their kids. They mistakenly think, like some of the aforementioned, any discussion about being gay, lesbian or transgender is a “perversion” or worse. So kids resort to the school playground where they often get a lot of misinformation. If a kid can’t get a straight answer from their parents and teachers are prohibited from discussing important issues where are kids supposed to go to get answers?

    In this chatroom some really don’t subscribe to your admonition about the importance of free speech and the need for airing opposing POVs. They think, mistakenly, that personal insults will silence any opinion they don’t agree with. It won’t. Any close reading of the above or my previous comment will know I am not a “pervert” nor do I encourage “child pornography”. I take your admonition seriously despite my disagreements with you over your picking and choosing the “free speech” issues you choose to discuss in your posts. So I will continue to interject my comments from time to time regardless of personal invective coming from some of your followers. You can take that to the bank!

  5. It’s important to support the globie narrative
    because they are your masters.

  6. And the censorship will NOT stop- – EVERYTHING in the world today that is happening seriously begs the question: If you were to die tonight, where would you go?

    Without the saving blood of Jesus Christ, Heaven will not be where you spend eternity. The only other option is hell. I do not want you to go there. The only one who does is the devil.
    Please open your eyes and see that Jesus died for you, and is offering His free gift of Salvation. He died on the cross, and He Himself spent 3 days in hell so that you would not have to do so. He then raised Himself from the dead, to show that He would also raise those who DO believe in Him . God created you. He is NOT myth. Please do not believe the lies this world system would have you believe. Regardless of what you have heard, read, or learned, JESUS is the ONLY WAY to Heaven.

    John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world (You who is reading this), that He gave His ONLY Begotten Son (Jesus), that Whosoever Believes on Him, will not Perish, but will have everlasting life.”

    To learn more:

    Welcome to the wildest, craziest, scariest time on earth. I am praying for all of whom this message of Life and Love reaches. I urge you to please go the above site, and after you are finished with the article, please explore the rest of the site. I have to say that I was led to it, because I was. Many, if not all, of your questions about what ‘all of what is happening lately means?’ will be answered.

    I Corinthians 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 7:30And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

  7. Jonathan: There is a “War on Free Speech” but it’s right here under your nose in Florida. The GOP controlled Florida Senate just passed the Parental Rights in Education bill (HR1557) and Gov. DeSantis has vowed to sign it. HR1557, aka, “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the state’s primary schools. Parents under the bill can bring an action against any school district for damages. DeSantis thinks kids should focus only on history, science and math.

    Opponents of the bill say kids are already discussing these issues among themselves and with family members. I can attest. My three young granddaughters have been talking about these issues with us for years. In our state kids are free to bring up sexual orientation in the classroom so teachers can help them with facts and resources. Kids are way ahead of most adults on these issues. But DeSantis wants to return to the 1950s when kids only learned the 3-Rs. Restoring “parental rights” is the mantra of Republicans in Florida and in other GOP controlled states. They want to regulate what can and cannot be discussed in classrooms. It’s part of the GOP “culture wars”. It’s a cynical war with children as the pawns.

    If there is an important “free speech” issue it’s happening in Florida. But you choose to discuss only the International Chess Federation. Why is that? I suspect it’s because you apparently share the Republican view that kids or teachers don’t have “free speech” rights adults or Republicans are required to respect.

    1. “The GOP controlled Florida Senate just passed the Parental Rights in Education bill (HR1557) and Gov. DeSantis has vowed to sign it. HR1557, ….prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the state’s primary schools.”

      In other words, Dennis likes children to teach them the evil of child prostitution, child pornography and child sexual abuse. That anyone dares override the parents of little boys and girls, to use them as sexual objects is only something the likes of a liar like Dennis can craft, typical of his leftist agitprop

      No, Dennis, children are not for you to use as your sexual props, you pervert.

      “Parents under the bill can bring an action against any school district for damages. DeSantis thinks kids should focus only on history, science and math.”

      Dennis you should be castrated for your defense of child pornography and pedophilia

    2. “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the state’s primary schools. Parents under the bill can bring an action against any school district for damages. DeSantis thinks kids should focus only on history, science and math.”
      Flat out lie.

        1. Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah with the mostly predictable results.

          “And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” KJV 18:26

          Better start looking. Over and under is 45

    3. Are you saying the parents have NO say in what a teacher can teach their children? Are you saying it is free speech for a teacher to tell a kindergartner about sex, let alone gay sex or women with dicks? SMH

      Do you think the kids are getting the idea for questions form school? All they do it put a little bug in their ear and it’s off and running.

      I find it hard to believe you want to give up the right as a parent to tell your child or grandchild the facts of life instead of a wacko teacher on tik tok like the many teachers posting kink on there are.

      You have lost your mind claiming free speech in this instance. It’s indefensible.

    4. Yes, decadence has done wonders for the Western world over the past several decades. Let’s double down and have more of it, so stop Florida before they can get away with passing what should be called the “Stop Grooming Children for Your Wicked Purposes Act.”

  8. President , Please tell President Putin,

    Please excuse you & your people & the millions of ignorant Americans for they are out of their minds from Govt Propaganda or they are completely mentally ill & out of their minds like most in Washington DC. You understand right, most went nuts already, you know right?

    ( Pro Tip, it’s to late, USA Leaders Igits have already pulled the trigger! Phk’rs. Get to your Hole!!!! )


    Sting: Russians (Lyric Video) HD/HQ


    “God Damn you all to Hell!”

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