was yushchenko poisoned at all?
- i'm not convinced one way or the other, but this
article does have interesting details about the
doctors who diagnosed yushchenko that i hadn't
December 15, 2004
The Yushchenko 'Poison Plot' Fraud
He's poisoning Ukrainian politics with lies
by Justin Raimondo
The headlines blared: "Doctors Confirm Yushchenko
Poison Claim" � and, yes, even I believed it. But, you
know what? It's a lie. And now the truth is coming
I knew there was something fishy about the whole
even as I blindly accepted the pronouncement of Dr.
Michael Zimpfer, of the Rudolfinerhaus clinic in
Vienna, that tests had "proved" the poisoning
hypothesis, and he now considers the "case closed." To
begin with, dioxin as a tool of would-be assassins
just doesn't make a whole lot of sense: the victim
would take far too long to die, and, besides that, not
a single case of death-by-dioxin poisoning has ever
been recorded. Another suspicious adjunct to this
story: Yushchenko declared that he wants to delay the
investigation into who poisoned him until after the
December 26 election. The ostensible reason for this
is Yushchenko's high-mindedness, expressed with the
requisite statesman-like gravitas:
"I don't want this factor to influence the election in
some way � either as a plus or a minus. This question
will require a great deal of time and serious
investigation. Let us do it after the election � today
is not the moment."
How noble! And, as it turns out, how utterly phony�.
Surely, one might assume, a man with a "Dr." in front
of his name is a sacred oracle, from whom only truth
can spring: and, in any case, Zimpfer was the doctor
in charge of the case � right?
Wrong. In news accounts of the Yushchenko "poisoning"
mystery, Zimpfer is variously described as the
"president" or the "head" of the Rudolfinerhaus
clinic, but a better description of his position is
"administrative chief." His official title is
President of the clinic's Board of Supervisors. The
chief medical doctor at the clinic, who supervised and
had first-hand knowledge of Yushchenko's case, was Dr.
Lothar Wicke. I put that in the past tense because, on
December 9, Dr. Wicke resigned. It seems that his
skeptical remarks concerning the unproven status of
the "poisoning" accusations had proved injurious to
his health. At a news conference held just after
Yushchenko's first visit to Rudolfinerhaus, Dr. Wicke
had accused unnamed individuals not on the medical
staff of spreading "medically falsified diagnoses
concerning the condition of Mr. Yushchenko." He also
pointed to the complete lack of any evidence that the
candidate had been poisoned, either deliberately or
otherwise. This did not endear him to the Yushchenko
According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ),
a leading German newspaper, and reporter Emil Bobi, of
the Austrian magazine Profil, Dr. Wicke received
numerous death threats and explicit warnings from the
Yushchenko clan. As the FAZ reports [Warning: if
you're going to click this link, you'd better be able
to read German, and be prepared to pay]:
"Thereafter Yushchenko's people made clear to Wicke
that he should not say anything more concerning the
affair, since otherwise [as Wicke puts it] 'one would
resort to other means against me and the hospital.'
Dr. Wicke is also supposed to have received death
threats at the time."
The December 10 issue of Le Figaro, a leading French
daily, reveals the atmosphere of thuggishness
prevailing during Yushchenko's sojourns to
Rudolfinerhaus, describing the outbreak of violent
scuffles at one October news conference involving "a
strange security force with Slavic accents." Yielding
to the demand of the Ukrainian parliament, Austrian
cops were sent to Rudolfinerhaus to secure
Yushchenko's medical files. Profil reports they
"practically came to blows with Yushchenko's
According to Le Figaro, Wicke says Yushchenko angrily
berated him for "perhaps having made [Yushchenko] lose
the presidential elections." The heat was on, and Dr.
Wicke apparently began to wilt: after all, he
explained to Le Figaro, "I have a child, you
understand." An armed guard was assigned to protect
Dr. Wicke by order of the Viennese authorities.
But in the end, Wicke didn't wilt: he refused to give
in to demands that he retract his statements. Dr.
Zimpfer's response: "Dr. Yushchenko's people will not
be happy and will take other measures." Dr. Wicke,
rather than face those "other measures," simply
resigned. One can hardly blame him.
As a testament to the foresight with which George
Orwell wrote about the instant "rewriting" of history,
our own unofficial Ministry of Truth has dropped Dr.
Wicke down the Memory Hole � the last mention of him
in the "mainstream" media that I can find is in a
dispatch from the Associated Press that reports the
"anonymous" threats against him, and also notes a
story in The Times of London citing Dr. Nikolai
Korpan, the original source of the poisoning scenario:
"The London newspaper The Times on Wednesday quoted
Dr. Nikolai Korpan, the Rudolfinerhaus physician who
oversaw Yushchenko's treatment, as saying that
Yushchenko had been poisoned and the intention was to
kill the candidate. Korpan, appearing at the news
conference Wednesday with Zimpfer, said doctors were
working on three different poisoning theories,
including one involving dioxin.
"All theories being pursued involved poison, he said,
adding, however, that 'we don't have any evidence of
what caused the illness.'"
The Ukrainian-born Dr. Korpan is not a member of the
Rudolfinerhaus staff: according to the FAZ, he was the
intended target of Dr. Wicke's charge that someone was
"spreading falsified diagnoses." Dr. Korpan, whose
statements to The Times were denied by Dr. Zimpfer, is
a surgeon, not a specialist, brought in by Yushchenko
on the occasion of his first visit to Vienna. In true
Orwellian fashion, however, Dr. Wicke has been
disappeared, as far as our media is concerned, and Dr.
Korpan is now universally referred to as "the
physician treating Yushchenko."
So, what ails Viktor Yushchenko? Beneath the cloud of
murk hanging over this case, there is doubtless the
truth waiting to be found. But given the heavy-handed
atmosphere of intimidation and political grandstanding
in which the poisoning plot has been "confirmed," what
Yushchenko and his Western supporters are telling us
is almost certainly not the truth. I am not a doctor,
but it seems to me as if the blogger at CodeBlueBlog
makes a very good case � here and here � that other
factors, including lifestyle issues, may account for
the dramatic deterioration of Yushchenko's once
In any case, what is clear at this point is that
Yushchenko and his supporters are the ones doing the
poisoning � by spreading their lies far and wide, and
then calling for a delay in the investigation. If
Yushchenko wins, you can bet the truth will never come
out in a court of law � although some news outlets,
albeit not the English-speaking media, are exposing
him for the fraud that he is.
I have to add that the real story of how and why this
tall tale has been transmuted into truth remains to be
told. However, the main movers behind this enormous
propaganda campaign are not the usual suspects.
Jonathan Steele and Ian Traynor at the Guardian have
pointed to the role played by the National Endowment
for Democracy, as has U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, but
this is just the tip of the iceberg. The British
writer John Laughland has underscored the key role of
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE), as well as the double standards
employed by "objective" election observers, but the
full extent of the Europeans' involvement � especially
the Germans � has so far gone undetected, or at least
unremarked on, except by John Rosenthal on his
excellent blog, Transatlantic Intelligencer. (Also
here, and here.) This makes a lot of sense, especially
since the EU is now making such a big stink about the
perpetrators of the "crime" being "brought to
justice." The Ukrainian political crisis is an
excellent opportunity for the Euro-crats to extend
their frontiers eastward, and they are taking full
advantage of it � a form of imperialism that both
Kerry-style "progressives" in the U.S. and
neoconservatives can join hands in supporting.
I am also indebted to John Rosenthal for his excellent
account of the Yushchenko "poisoning" fraud in this
detailed post. His politics are apparently quite
different from mine, but facts, as Ronald Reagan � and
John Adams � used to remind us, are stubborn things,
and they trump ideology � at least in my book � every
If only that were universally true, but,
unfortunately, it isn't. We will no doubt be subjected
to another few weeks of mindless MSM propaganda, in
which the "official" story will be relentlessly
repeated � for the benefit of an international
audience as well as Ukrainian voters � until, like
Saddam Hussein's fabled nukes and his nonexistent
connection to the 9/11 attacks, it will pass into
history as a universally accepted urban legend. Yes,
facts are stubborn things � but urban myths certainly
have their uses.
� Justin Raimondo
Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of
Antiwar.com. He is the author of An Enemy of the
State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus
Books, 2000). He is also the author of Reclaiming the
American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative
Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J.
Buchanan), (Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993), and
Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S.
Intervention in the Balkans (1996).
He is a contributing editor for The American
Conservative, a Senior Fellow at the Randolph Bourne
Institute, and an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von
Mises Institute, and writes frequently for Chronicles:
A Magazine of American Culture