Regional Leader's Car Involved in Collision

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the southern republic of Kalmykia, was hospitalized Wednesday in Moscow after his Mercedes collided with another vehicle, city traffic police said.

Ilyumzhinov, who is also president of the World Chess Federation, was traveling in a convoy on Rublyovka-Uspenskoe Shosse on Moscow's western outskirts when the Mercedes he was riding in was struck by a Ford Focus at an intersection at about 11 a.m. Wednesday, traffic police spokeswoman Marina Vasilyeva said.

Vasilyeva said Ilyumzhinov suffered "some sort of head injury" but that she was unsure how serious it was.

She said she had no information on the condition of the female driver of the Ford or the other people in Ilyumzhinov's car and that she did not know who was at fault.

Ilyumzhinov's spokesman, Buyancha Galzanov, told RIA-Novosti that the Kalmykia president was showing no "life-threatening symptoms" and had suffered "no serious consequences."

The driver of the Ford, identified by Gazeta.ru as Lyudmila Zimenko, 21, later suffered from dizziness and went to the hospital, the web site reported Wednesday.

Ilyumzhinov was being treated at the Central Clinical Hospital, Vasilyeva said.

Citing city traffic police sources, Interfax reported that the driver failed to yield to a traffic police officer who had halted cars at the intersection to allow Ilyumzhinov's motorcade to pass. Vasilyeva said she could not confirm this account.

Reached by telephone by Gazeta.ru, Zimenko's mother said her daughter was certain she was not at fault in the accident.

"Why was the president taken to an ambulance and provided first aid, but for my daughter nothing like this was done?" Gazeta.ru cited Zimenko's mother as saying. The mother's name was not given in the report.

In footage shown on NTV television Wednesday evening, Ilyumzhinov's smashed-up black Mercedes did not appear to be equipped with a migalka, the flashing blue siren commonly placed atop officials' cars that allow them the right of way in just about any situation.

Drivers around the country have held grassroots demonstrations in recent years to protest the sirens, which they say epitomize government disregard for citizens and make the country's roads more dangerous.

Ilyumzhinov had been scheduled to fly to Dresden, Germany, on Wednesday for the 38th Chess Olympiad, RIA-Novosti reported.

Ilyumzhinov has been president of the World Chess Federation, known by its French acronym, FIDE, since 1995. He has been president of Kalmykia since 1993.