Skip to comments.I was poisoned and Russia’s political enemies were surely behind it
Posted on 12/09/2006 3:13:25 AM PST by A. Pole
On November 24, I found myself involved in a succession of events that resembled a political thriller. A lot has been written about what happened. International television provided detailed coverage of these events. I had not thought that global fame would find me in such an unusual way. I deliberately refused to give interviews. Nevertheless, I am compelled to tell what happened.
Public opinion reserves a degree of humour for those who have survived attempted murder. The nature of this phenomenon is not clear to me. Having been in this situation myself, I found nothing funny about it. But the logic of public consciousness is a fact of life. One has to reckon with it. I will try to keep my sense of humour while telling what happened.
On November 21, I felt exhausted. Over the previous three weeks, several difficult business trips added to my usual workload. I considered cancelling my trip to Ireland and resting. However, Ireland is a wonderful country, which I love. And the trip was easy: a university research conference and presentation of my book Death of the Empire: Lessons for Modern Russia was one of its subjects. I decided I would not cancel the trip.
Next morning, after my arrival in Dublin, I was walking with a conference organiser, foreign literature library director Yekaterina Geniyeva, when I decided that I had made the right decision. Spending two days with smart and nice people in a lovely old Irish university is both a rest and a pleasure.
Before the conference opening, I had breakfast in the university canteen. I had a fruit salad and asked for a cup of tea. Then I went to the conference hall. About 10 minutes after the session started I realised that I was unable to hear anything. My only thought was how to get back to my hotel room and lie down. I apologised to my colleagues who were presenting the next session, said I felt unwell and had to go back upstairs. Ms Geniyeva looked at me perplexed; 40 minutes earlier we had been having a cheerful chat while walking along university lawns. She probably decided that I was not interested in the subject.
After I got back to my room, I had to close my eyes immediately. The sensation was similar to being under general anaesthesia. You can see and understand things, but it is hard to open your eyes. Reaching for a ringing telephone takes too much effort. I assumed this dusky state was a result of fatigue. I decided that I needed to deliver my lectures and return to Moscow immediately.
I forced myself to deliver my presentation on Russian migration policy at 2.30pm. As soon as I finished my speech, my eyes began to close, fatigue took over and I returned to my room as quickly as I could.
The phone call that apparently saved my life came at 5.10pm. A representative of the organisers reminded me that my book presentation was in five minutes. Would I be taking part? I considered saying no. Had I done so, and had I been alone in my room 15 minutes later, my chances of survival would have been zero. But I had come to Ireland to make a presentation on my book; I would not let some minor ailment get in the way. I stood up, went downstairs and began to speak.
Ten minutes into my speech, I realised I could not continue talking. I apologised to the audience and walked towards the exit. After I crossed the threshold of the conference hall, I collapsed in the university hallway.
I can remember very little about the events of the following several hours. Those who tended to me as I lay on the floor found me bleeding from the nose, with blood and vomit flowing from my mouth. I was pale, unconscious. It appeared as though I was dying.
Within 30 minutes, I started to come around. I tried unsuccessfully to raise my head. An ambulance arrived and I was loaded in to it. All I could do was open and close my eyes and I watched with intense interest the recording of my own cardiogram. The cardiogram is a chart and charts are what I work with. Apparently, professional interest prevails even when the nervous system is damaged.
Once in the hospital, as soon as I regained the ability to think, my own hypothesis was simple: fatigue, combined with maladies often found with men in their 50s: increased sugar level, blood pressure. But my test results bemused the doctors. My heart was working like a clock; blood pressure was high, but only slightly higher than the norm; the same for sugar levels. Meanwhile, the patient was clearly in an extremely grave condition. A stroke was a possibility. I could still not move my hands or feet. But the ability to control my body came back quickly in the following hours. By 7 oclock the next morning, not only could I stand up from my bed, but I could take a shower and shave. I am not a doctor, but I knew that stroke states are different. It must have been something else.
At 8am, a few hours after I stopped feeling like an inanimate object, I could move, think, make decisions and implement them just as I could 24 hours before. Despite the protests of the Irish doctors, I said that I wanted to leave the hospital immediately. They told me that they had no right to forbid me. But they explained that my case puzzled them. A comparison of test results and my state of health during the late hours of November 24 and early the next day did not tally in any way. They told me that I needed a thorough examination and in-depth analysis. I thanked them for their help and explained that it was easier to take this analysis in Russia, where the doctors had been supervising me for many years and knew my medical history. I arranged a transfer to the Russian embassy, then took a flight to Moscow.
I am not a doctor and realise the limits of unprofessional judgments. Nevertheless, when your life is at stake, it is hard to avoid attempting to understand what happened. My heart, brain, blood pressure, sugar level were either good or without abnormalities. Despite this, I suffered several hours of unconsciousness or semiconsciousness, an inability to control my body, and heavy bleeding from my nose and throat. One of the possible explanations that an unprofessional mind inevitably comes up with in such a situation is poisoning. I remember my state before breakfast very well. It was excellent. Half an hour later it was awful. However, this is an unprofessional view. I suppose that there are pathologies known to medicine that can cause such developments.
Straight from Moscows Sheremetyevo airport, I headed for the clinic where they have known me for many years. Despite the fact that I landed late at night on a Sunday, the chief doctor convened specialists. I told them what happened and asked them to consider all scenarios that could explain these phenomena. By Monday morning, he had the results of the tests on his desk. One month before the Irish incident I had had a thorough medical check-up. Now we could compare the old and the current pictures. The doctor was unable to explain such large-scale and systemic changes in the body in terms of anything related to intoxication, within the possible range of illnesses known to medicine, nor any of their most exotic combinations. For reasons of professional ethics he could not use the word poisoning. A particular poisonous substance should be determined in order to do that. This is impossible 60 hours after the accident, especially if we are talking about secret toxic substances, the information on which is unavailable to open medical science. But we understand each other well. One may blame anybody, even the aliens. If we stay within the framework of common sense, it is poisoning we think of.
When the thought that this could be a result of somebodys wilful actions crossed my mind for the first time on the afternoon of November 25, I started thinking about who could have orchestrated it. Who would gain from it? I do not have any property to speak of. Neither do I have a profitable metal or oil company, so there is nothing to take away. So, if this was attempted murder, politics was behind it. I have participated in Russian politics for many years now and I know quite a bit about it. I know its main figures well. By then I realised that my survival was a miracle. The fast rate of recuperation showed that the attempt did not aim at mutilation or injury, but murder. Who of the Russian political circle needed my death on the 24th of November 2006, in Dublin? I rejected the idea of complicity of the Russian leadership almost immediately. After the death of Alexander Litvinenko on November 23 in London, another violent death of a famous Russian on the following day is the last thing that the Russian authorities would want. In case of an explosion or skirmish in Moscow, one would think about radical nationalistic thugs first of all. But Dublin? Poisoning? This is obviously not their style.
Most likely that means that some obvious or hidden adversaries of the Russian authorities stand behind the scenes of this event, those who are interested in further radical deterioration of relations between Russia and the west. Within several hours, comparing the dates of events that took place during the past six weeks, I formulated a rather logical and consistent hypothesis on the reasons behind this. The world view regains its intrinsic logic and ceases resembling a Kafkaesque nightmare. Still, it does not look any more enjoyable. Well, as they say in Russia, as long as we are alive, we might even be happy some day, but that is a different story.
Don't rule out limelight envy.
Back in 1973 I had a good friend in US Army intel. He got hit with a poison dart in Holland that was so small he did not realize he had been shot. Apparently the toxin was brown recluse spider venom, and the Dutch physicians almost had to amputate his leg. These recent high-profile poisoning cases are the tip of the iceberg.
This could be a smart move.
Before the conference opening, I had breakfast in the university canteen. I had a fruit salad and asked for a cup of tea.
So lets summarise.
He had a near death experince.
Took a day or two to feel better.
"Despite the protests of the Irish doctors, I said that I wanted to leave the hospital immediately. They told me that they had no right to forbid me. But they explained that my case puzzled them. A comparison of test results and my state of health during the late hours of November 24 and early the next day did not tally in any way. They told me that I needed a thorough examination and in-depth analysis. I thanked them for their help and explained that it was easier to take this analysis in Russia, where the doctors had been supervising me for many years and knew my medical history. I arranged a transfer to the Russian embassy, then took a flight to Moscow."
When he got to Russia the toxicology tests couldn't reveal poison because it was then 60 hours after the incident.
So, after denying himself the means to establish whether he had been poisoned, and by what, and putting himself in Russian hands, he then publishes an acount in which he is certain of only one thing, that it wasn't the Russian Government.
You do not understand. He was fleeing for his life. He did not want to let Western doctors (or drop in visitors) to "establish" anything, he did not trust them.
As a victim his value would be much greater for anti-Russian propaganda than Litvinienko (the first was Russian prime minister and the second was a small time charlatan) and he knew it.
Capt. McCluskey: "I thought I got all you Guinea hoods locked up! What the hell are you doing here?"
Any clue who "Russia's political enemies" would be in this case?
Well, probably they are active in British Isles. So Mr. Gaidar decides that the climate there is not good for his health. I wonder if he dares to come there again?
So--all this poisoning can't be Russia's fault, it can only be 'its political enemies'.
This whole post is more disinformation to cloud the issue.
Are you saying that Mr. Gaidar - the former prime-minister of Russia is a figment of our imagination?
Being an oil field engineer for one of the shtokman 5 shortlisted companies I was greatly disappointed when Putin said that Gazprom was going to go it alone on Shtokman. I had always wanted to live and work in Moscow and I was disappointed.
Suddenly there is an about face and Putin claims that foreign companies will be allowed in on shtokman.
In the mean time, there are poinsonings of enemies of the Russian state. Either the Russians are guilty and they want to curry favor with the west by allowing the western companies back into shtokman. Or they are not guilty and they see that the west is trying to de stabilize the country and force a coup because Vlad is a creep and he wants to stop it.
Wild thoughts, but the paths often lead to hydrocarbons.
The plot thickens. Most interesting.
Gaidar is NOT an "enemy of Russian state" or of Putin. He was just was a leader of radical reformist policy which was abandoned years ago. He was retired and he was in peaceful relations with the present government.
Now he is angry and suspicious but not about Putin.
Mr. Litvinienko was a small time schemer, of incomparably lesser statute than the former the prime-minister. He was not worth to try to kill him, and if he were he would be killed by more conventional methods - like a car bomb or heart attack.