Most of the statement is unexceptional enough - what it says against Kirsan is substantially true, what it says in favour of Kasparov is often nonsense, but that's pretty much par for the course, and as I say, I really don't have the heart to go through the document ticking off what I agree with and
taking issue with what I don't.
However, this little passage intrigued me.
Now I'm a little curious as to how the statement was actually written and by whom. (It's hard to put one's finger on it, but there's something strange about the English in places, such as the lapse into the present tense in the sentence before the passage above.) But that's not particularly important. What I was really wondering about was this "political neutrality" which is apparently "expected by the FIDE Statutes" and is so important to the ECF.
I ask because there is surely no more politically-engaged figure in the entire world of international chess than Garry Kasparov.
It's not something he makes a secret of, either. His Twitter feed is full of politics. He's a political activist. Politics is what he does.
He also does comedy
Specifically, he's a political activist on the American neo-conservative Right. He's a considerable figure in that movement. He gave this year's Keynote Address at the Milton Friedman Prize Dinner at the Cato Institute.
All of which is fine. It's obviously not the viewpoint of the present writer, but it's all stuff Garry Kasparov is completely entitled to do.
But does anybody, for a single second, believe that his outlook and his activities are in any way compatible with the "political neutrality" which is apparently "expected by the FIDE Statutes? Is there anybody less likely to take that particular approach, in that particular post, than Garry Kasparov? Where the statement talks, quite reasonably, of Kirsan "inserting FIDE into one side of international conflicts" is it remotely conceivable that Kasparov would do anything else?
Of course it isn't. So of course it's absurd to talk of "political neutrality" in a statement issued in support of somebody who would never in a million years be able to maintain that stance.
This is so obvious, it takes a real effort not to see it.
But that's what English chess has always been good at, both where Garry Kasparov is concerned and where he is not. Not seeing what it suits us not to see.