Many moons ago, as they say in Ukraine and many other places in the world, we posted a piece about a drama that had unfolded more than 4 years ago, during the presidential election in Ukraine. As that drama is still being remembered widely in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, we thought we would post the article once again, to remind our readers that sometimes the strangest of things happen in politics that could not be explained from a scientific or purely logical point of view. These things have to be taken for what they are – miracles.
Something Has Always Bothered Me About One Poisoning
Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushenko, has recently paid an official visit to Britain and held talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The two men had discussed a whole range of issues including British investment in Ukraine now that it has become a full fledged member of the World Trade Organisation.
Mr Yushenko has already promised his people that Western money is going to pour into the Ukrainian economy once it becomes a member of WTO. He did forget to mention that prices on many goods and services will go up and that trade with Russia will become much more difficult, Russia not being a member of WTO. But that, in his opinion, was probably irrelevant, considering all the wonderful advantages.
So, as I have already pointed out, Mr Yushenko had a nice little chat with Mr Brown at 10 Downing Street and, judging by the official photos, the two men found common ground and were pleased with themselves, and with each other too. They even looked very similar, in their matching dark blue suits and identical red ties, as they briskly walked down the corridor of 10 Downing Street.
But this is where I would like to change the subject and pose a question: how come Mr Yushenko still seems to be in such good form, considering that four years ago he had been poisoned by a ‘massive dose of dioxins’. Yes, a ‘massive dose of dioxins’. Not small, not large, but a massive dose. And as a result of this, we were told then, Mr Yushenko was basically condemned to a life of pain and suffering and constant medical treatment.
You probably don’t remember this but it happened during a very tense period in Ukraine’s history. The year was 2004 and the presidential election was fast approaching. The two main candidates, pro-Moscow Viktor Yanukovich and pro-West Viktor Yushenko, were running neck and neck in the opinion polls. And then, roughly a month before the day of election, Mr Yushenko’s health had suddenly collapsed. He appeared to have had all the symptoms of an acute poisoning and his face had become badly disfigured, practically overnight. Accusations of a conspiracy to eliminate a presidential candidate surfaced immediately. Some people were pointing the finger of blame at Moscow and its allies in Ukraine.
Meanwhile Mr Yushenko was rushed to a toxicology clinic in Austria in order for him to be tested and receive appropriate treatment. The doctors at the clinic conducted the tests but found no traces of any poison in the patient. His supporters, though, were adamant that he had been poisoned to prevent him standing in the election. During a second visit to the clinic, a couple of weeks later, more tests had been carried out and traces of dioxin were found in Mr Yushenko’s body. It was then revealed that Mr Yushenko had received a ‘massive dose’ of dioxins which were probably administered in his food. Experts then explained to everyone that dioxins stayed in the human body for years and people usually died a slow and painful death, once they had them in their system.
Remarkably, though, Mr Yushenko had managed to recover and stand in the presidential election that took place on October 31. Many people were very impressed by his courage and the way he overcame his health problems to continue his political struggle. His badly disfigured face was a powerful symbol of his determination and strength of character. And, of course, there was widespread anger against the people, who sunk to such lows as to try and assassinate their political opponent.
I’ll skip a couple of months and move to the time when, as a result of the ‘orange revolution’ and a second run-off vote on December 26, Mr Yushenko became President of Ukraine. The overall feeling still prevailed that he would not last very long, considering the ‘massive dose of dioxins’ that he had been poisoned with. But many people were nevertheless ready to back him and give him a chance. And now, nearly four years later, Mr Yushenko is still in charge of his country and seems to be in good health.
Now don’t get me wrong: I am happy that Mr Yushenko is feeling well and that he is able to carry out his presidential duties very effectivelly. Why on earth would I wish him anything else but success? It is just that the issue of his health and his poisoning played quite an important part in his victory four years ago, with many people sympathising with him as a scarred victim of a failed assassination attempt.
I’m not disputing the fact that his chances of winning the election had been greatly boosted by other factors too: the US had been bankrolling his campaign on a massive scale and Russia had managed to really upset many Ukrainians by its clumsy efforts to promote the pro-Moscow candidate, Mr Yanukovich. And yet, the mysterious poisoning of Mr Yushenko and the insistence of his supporters that there was a conspiracy to physically remove him from the presidential race contributed greatly to the tide turning against the pro-Moscow candidate and in favour of Mr Yushenko.
So my question still stands: how come President Yushenko is still going strong, despite that ‘massive’ dioxin poisoning? It would be interesting to know the answer, wouldn’t it?
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