Former Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine, has awakened from a coma following a mysterious fall, according to Russian media.
The newspaper Izvestia reported that there is now a “positive trend” in Karpov’s recovery. Additionally, Karpov’s wife, Natalya Bulanova, told the outlet that the politician is now conscious, and “feeling better.”
Karpov was hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury and a fractured leg after falling under curious circumstances. Now that he has awakened from the coma, he may be able to shed light himself on what happened.
Media reports quoted Karpov’s daughter, Sofia, on October 31 as saying that the 71-year-old former world champion, who is a lawmaker representing the ruling United Russia party, had accidentally fallen near the parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, two days before.
Izvestia reported that Karpov was put on a ventilator after being diagnosed with a cerebral edema and multiple head injuries. The report also said Karpov sustained a closed fracture of the left femur.
Karpov’s daughter’s account of what happened conflicts with that of Andrei Kovalyov, chairman of the All-Russian Movement of Entrepreneurs, who wrote on Telegram on October 31 that Karpov was attacked by an unknown individual and is now in a medically induced coma.
Karpov became the world chess champion in 1975 after U.S. chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer refused to defend his title.
Later, in 1978 and 1981, Karpov defended the title while playing against ex-Soviet chess grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi, who defected to the West in 1976.
In 1985, Karpov defended his world chess champion title, but shortly after lost it to Garry Kasparov.
Karpov has been elected to parliament as a member of the ruling party three times. He is currently under Western sanctions over Russia’s ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. He is known as a staunch critic of the Kremlin’s policies, including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
With reporting by RFEL/RL