Former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said he took "a strong position [on the] tragic events in Ukraine" and that he had backed the scaling down of Russian involvement in FIDE.
Former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has been reelected as the head of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), defeating a Ukrainian challenger who said the incumbent was part of Moscow's "war machine."
A total of 157 out of 179 national chess associations voted for Dvorkovich on August 7 at FIDE's general assembly in India, the international governing body said.
Ukrainian grandmaster Andriy Baryshpolets, who challenged Dvorkovich, won just 16 votes.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov welcomed Dvorkovich's victory.
"The election of the head of FIDE is very important, it's a global event, and of course we were rooting for Dvorkovich, a Russian citizen," Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian media.
A number of Russian officials have been hit with sanctions since the Kremlin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February, and Russian competitors have been banned by numerous international sports governing bodies.
But Dvorkovich, 50, who served under President Vladimir Putin as deputy prime minister from 2012-2018 when he was elected FIDE president, retained his position.
Baryshpolets had said before the vote at the FIDE general assembly in Chennai that Dvorkovich has "tremendous ties to the Russian government."
"You, Arkady, are responsible for what is happening in Ukraine now. You are responsible for building up the Russian government and Russia's war machine. And we as a chess world, how can we afford this?" Baryshpolets said.
But Dvorkovich said that he took "a strong position [on the] tragic events in Ukraine" and that he had backed the scaling down of Russian involvement in FIDE.
In March, Dvorkovich appeared to criticize the Russian invasion, saying in an interview that his "thoughts are with Ukrainian civilians."
"Wars do not just kill priceless lives. Wars kill hopes and aspirations, freeze or destroy relationships and connections," Dvorkovich told the U.S. news site Mother Jones.
The comments drew flak in Russia and Dvorkovich later seemed to walk back the comments, saying there was "no place for Nazism or the domination of some countries over others.”
The Kremlin has often described its war effort as a part of a campaign to defeat alleged Nazism in Ukraine and the West.