Reports: Russian regional strongman who claims to have visited alien spaceship is retiring

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian regional leader who claims to have visited an alien spaceship says he is retiring.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov told Interfax agency Monday that will step down after his term expires in October.

Since 1993, Ilyumzhinov has headed the predominantly Buddhist southern province of Kalmykia. The arid, impoverished area is dominated by Mongol-speaking Kalmyks.

Ilyumzhinov has also been president of FIDE, the International Chess Federation governing body, since 1995.

Aside from the spaceship claim, Ilyumzhinov says he uses hypnosis in daily communication and consults clairvoyants in his business affairs.

Rights activists have accused him of cronyism, corruption, rights abuses and squandering government funds on chess championships and Buddhist temples.