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March 11, 2005

"Sucicides" Bloody Orange Revolution

I don't know exactly how credible Statfor is, but they have a chilling story about the Ukraine (requires subscription).

I can only quote a little bit, as this is from their premium-content dispatch:

Summary

High-profile deaths, officially declared suicides -- declarations that nobody in the country seriously believes -- seem to be becoming a tradition in post-"Orange-Revolution" Ukraine. These "suicides" probably are the result of a political agreement made to avoid a power struggle between new and old government elites. The cost of achieving this goal likely will be more "suicides," yet these deaths could bring about a power struggle within the current government.

Analysis

Internal Ukrainian politics in the aftermath of the "Orange Revolution" would be fun to watch except for the number of the country's elites turning up dead.

Yuri Lyah, one of Ukraine's richest men and considered former President Leonid Kuchma's personal banker, reportedly committed "suicide" by chopping himself several dozen times with a paper cutter. Kiev medical sources close to the investigation said about 10 of the wounds in Lyah's neck were bad enough that one would have been enough to cause death. Since Lyah's gun was
readily available in his office desk at the time of his "suicide," it is difficult to believe that he chose to inflict several severe wounds on himself in the course of committing suicide -- unless you presume he wanted to torture himself well before dying. Ukrainian law enforcement officials brushed away media questions about the death of the banker -- who, by all accounts, knew too much about how dirty or clean Kuchma's finances were -- and refused to explain what probably cannot be reasonably explained.

Also:

* a minister close to Kuchma also committed "suicide" by gunshot, although witnesses report hearing two gunshots from his home.

* a state security agent "committed suicide" by hanging himself from a position too high to access without a ladder, and yet there was no table, chair, or desk nearby to explain his mysterious elevation.

And etc. Stratfor isn't crystal-clear about this, but it seems to be a case of the old regime taking out those who know too much, rather than payback by the Yushchenko faction. Although that's really just speculation on my part. Stratfor notes that some of these "suicidal" government officials also have potentially damaging information about Yuschchenko.

I had joked a month ago about the payback that would come from the Yushschenko poisoning. But if that's really happening, it's not a joking matter at all.

One more little bit: Yushchenko seems to want to unite the country and co-opt members of the old regime, corrupt or not. Meanwhile, his hot Prime Minister, Yulia Timoshenko, seems to want to go after the old regime and lock up as many of them as possible.



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posted by Ace at 12:48 PM

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