Russian world champion refused to play for Russia because she "couldn't bear the horror"
Alexandra Kosteniuk, the twelfth world chess champion (from September 2008 to December 2010), admitted that the main reason she changed her citizenship was the situation in her home country after February 24, 2022. The European champion (2004), three-time winner of the Chess Olympiads (2010, 2012, 2014) and four-time winner of the European Team Championships (2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015) will play for Switzerland from January 1, 2024.
Kosteniuk made her decision in the fall of 2022, noting that she could no longer be a part of it.
"I just couldn't stand it, I couldn't bear this horror, I couldn't feel like a part of it. I said: that's it, you will do without me. I'm closing myself off from everything, playing under the Swiss flag, continuing my career and trying to live like that," Kosteniuk, 39, said on Vitya Kravchenko's YouTube channel.
Kosteniuk dreams of returning to Russia someday, "without fear of some incomprehensible affairs and patriots who will write denunciations."
As OBOZREVATEL reported earlier, Alexandra was shocked by the full-scale invasion of her native Russia into Ukraine. According to the grandmaster, she did not believe that this was possible until the last moment, and now she realizes how important freedom is.