Tuesday, March 25, 2014

do you remember this little vignette straight out of ian fleming?


radiofreeurope | The case surrounding the apparent poisoning two years ago of Viktor Yushchenko remains shrouded in mystery -- so much so that even Yushchenko himself routinely uses cryptic language to describe it.
Speaking to journalists in Baku on September 8, the Ukrainian president said the investigation into the alleged poisoning in September 2004 was "one step away from the active phase of solving this case."

Yushchenko's statement came as Ukraine's prosecutor-general, Oleksandr Medvedko, announced that investigators had determined the time, place, and circumstances in which the poisoning attempt took place.

All that remains, apparently, is to find the individual, or individuals, responsible.

Dioxin Poisoning

Austrian doctors responsible for examining Yushchenko several months after the poison was reportedly administered said the Ukrainian politician had ingested a concentrated dose of dioxin.

If investigators have in fact traced the time and place of the poisoning, it would mark a significant development in a seemingly stagnant case.


The powerful toxin caused bloating and pockmarks on Yushchenko's face, giving his skin a greenish hue and adding a macabre note to a tumultuous political season culminating in the mass Orange Revolution protests in December 2004.

Prosecutor-General Medvedko, confirming earlier allegations, said tests on the dioxins found in Yushchenko's blood showed they were highly purified and manufactured in either Russia, the United States, or Great Britain.

He declined to divulge other details. If investigators have in fact traced the time and place of the poisoning, it would mark a significant development in a seemingly stagnant case.

Intrigues And Disinformation

The mystery began on September 6, 2004.

Yushchenko, the pro-Western presidential candidate facing off against the Kremlin's preferred nominee, Viktor Yanukovych, became violently ill, suffering severe abdominal pain and facial lesions.

When he was rushed four days later to Vienna's Rudolfinerhaus clinic, his liver, pancreas, and intestines were swollen, and he was barely able to walk.

Doctors were initially baffled. But Yushchenko's supporters already had a theory: that the candidate had been poisoned during a dinner September 5 with Ihor Smeshko, the head of Ukraine's Security Service, at the summer home of Smeshko's deputy, Volodymyr Satsiuk.

Later that month, many were surprised to read a Rudolfinerhaus press release stating doctors did not believe Yushchenko had been poisoned.

But several days later, officials at the Vienna clinic publicly objected, insisting the press release was a forgery -- an episode that conjured up images of a Soviet-style disinformation campaign.

An Easy Target?

By December, doctors had confirmed that dioxin was behind Yushchenko's ailment, and that he had received the substance from a perpetrator who allegedly intended him harm.

Yushchenko's supporters immediately pointed to Yanukovych as the likely suspect, and accused Moscow of providing the dioxin.