Leonid Kuchma   Letter 34   01-Nov-2004   It looks like you poisoned Viktor Yushchenko

Presidential Candidate
Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Yushchenko
Presidential Candidate
Viktor Yushchenko
"At approximately the same time, Viktor Yanukovych was serving his second prison sentence." — Viktor Yushchenko campaign poster

          01 November 2004

Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankivska 11
Kyiv, 252005

Leonid Kuchma:

It does not hurt when running for president to be gifted with a respectable past, and with good looks, as is Viktor Yushchenko:

Qualified to be president

In the photo: Viktor Yushchenko serving in the border forces of the Soviet Army.

At approximately the same time, Viktor Yanukovych was serving his second prison sentence.

Yushchenko slings an automatic rifle over his shoulder.
Yanukovych is not permitted to carry a firearm — he is a convicted criminal.

To whom will you entrust your country?

It appears, however, that there are those who are so desperate to deprive Viktor Yushchenko of the presidency, that on 06-Sep-2004 they attempted to take his life by means of some chemical or biological agent (ricin has been suggested), as is evidenced by a comparison of the before and after photographs below.  Following the non-stop vomiting of the initial poisoning, Yushchenko's face was partly paralyzed, his eyes teared, he salivated excessively, he had trouble speaking and reading.  His campaign was first suspended, and as he began to recover, was less effective than it would otherwise have been.

On the possibility that the left photo above is insufficiently recent, a second contrast is offered below:


As suspicion of having poisoned Yushchenko would naturally fall on you — for such reasons as your having been implicated in the murder of Internet journalist Heorhy Gongadze — one would have expected you, if innocent, to have responded with the utmost efforts to seek an authoritative diagnosis of Viktor Yushchenko's sudden affliction.  Such efforts would have started with the supposition that as the Rudolfinerhaus clinic in Vienna had been unable to arrive at a definitive diagnosis, a higher level of expertise was needed, as perhaps in the areas of chemical and biological warfare, and so which might be available in the United States.  The advantage to you of a definitive diagnosis is that if it pointed to Yushchenko's affliction having natural causes, then you would be absolved, whereas if it proved to be a poisoning, then you would know to hunt down the poisoners and rightfully shift the blame from your shoulders to theirs.  For example, perhaps the matter would have resolved itself by Viktor Yanukovych serving a third prison term, with your prestige only enhanced for having upheld the rule of law by putting him behind bars.

However, for some reason you saw no benefit in demanding that Yushchenko undergo examination by leading experts, which neglect the world is left to view either as a blunder which attracts suspicion to you unfairly, or else as a symptom of guilt.  The sight of you — the highest law-enforcement official in the land — taking no interest in solving what appears to be a major crime, but rather joining in jeering at the victim, speaks poorly of your understanding of the responsibilities of your office (if you are innocent), or speaks of your fearing an accurate diagnosis (if you are guilty).

Until contrary evidence comes to light, the appearance will remain that you poisoned Viktor Yushchenko chiefly to delay the prosecution of your crimes, which is bound to follow hard on the heels of any person of integrity succeeding you as president.

Lubomyr Prytulak

Viktor Yushchenko (left) as he appeared in July 2004 and (right) as he appeared in November after the alleged poisoning (Gleb Garanich / Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters)
Note added 29-Nov-2004: An additional before-after comparison, with the caption shown, appears in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia on the Viktor Yushchenko page at  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yushchenko

Servey Dolzhenko/European Pressphoto Agency, left; James Hill for The New York Times What is afflicting Viktor A. Yushchenko, in July at left, and in November? Doctors are stumped.
Note added 05-Dec-2004: Still another before-after comparison, with the caption shown, appears in C. J. Chivers, Ukraine's Face Is Mirrored in a Candidate, New York Times International, 05-Dec-2004 at www.nytimes.com/2004/12/05/international/europe/05ukraine.html?ex=1103289412&ei=1&en=a69ba5bfde16dcc6

25-11-2004:  Yushchenko's acne points to dioxin poisoning, -"NATURE" But experts challenge diagnosis that relies on snapshots of politician.
Note added 06-Dec-2004: Still another before-after comparison, with the introductory words shown, appears on the Institute of Mass Information web site at eng.imi.org.ua

And then, Yuschenko’s office made a number of mistakes while presenting the poisoning of their leader.  When the head of opposition office Oleksandr Zinchenko made public this information, he stressed more on the diagnosis and medical details instead of political context.  The pro-authorities mass media continued the topic and the next day all Ukraine discussed the physiological details of Yuschenko’s disease.
Note added 06-Dec-2004: Before-after photomontage, with the extract shown, appears on the Institute of Mass Information web site on 26-Oct-2004 at eng.imi.org.ua/?id=read&n=21&cy=2004&m=unfrm

Yushchenko before and after: smooth-faced only five months ago and pock-marked by the effects of poison (AP)
Note added 08-Dec-2004: From TimesOnline (UK) of 08-Dec-2004 at www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1393172,00.html where it is argued that Yushchenko suffers from dioxin poisoning: Jeremy Page writes under the heading, Who poisoned Yushchenko? Doctors at the Austrian clinic that treated Ukraine's opposition leader confirm there was a plot to kill him.

Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was known for his good looks until a mysterious illness left him pockmarked. (AP file photo)
Note added 11-Dec-2004:  From Yushchenko Poisoned, Doctors Say, CBC News of 11-Dec-2004 at www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2004/12/11/ukraine-yushchenko-041211.html?print

The picture combo shows Viktor Yushchenko in file photos dated March 28, 2002, left, and Dec. 6, 2004, right. The Ukrainian opposition leader and presidential candidate's mysterious illness that scared his face was caused by dioxin poisoning, doctors said Saturday Dec. 11, 2004, in Vienna, Austria. (AP Photo/Viktor Pobedinsky/Efrem Lukatsky)
Note added 12-Dec-2004:  Photos and caption are from Yahoo! News, 12-Dec-2004 at story.news.yahoo.com/news?g=events/wl/102904elecukraine&a=&tmpl=sl&ns=&l=0&e=46&a=0&t=&prev=45

Photograph added 12-Dec-2004:  From KGB Poisoned Yush, Drudge Report, 12-Dec-2004, at www.drudgereport.com

The White House urged Ukraine to fully investigate the 'terrible' poisoning of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, seen here 12 December 2004, with the highly toxic substance dioxin  (AFP/Str)
Note added 13-Dec-2004:  Photo and caption are from Yahoo! News of 13-Dec-2004 at story.news.yahoo.com/news?g=events/wl/102904elecukraine&a=&tmpl=sl&ns=&l=&e=3&a=0&t=&prev=2

The question uppermost in some people's minds: "Is this the measure of what the Kremlin is willing to do to national leaders who stand in the way of Russian empire?"