Saturday, December 18, 2004

Wicke's resignation explained

Not so long ago, I mentioned that the director of the Rudolfinerhaus, Lothar Wicke, had resigned on the same day the clinic announced that it had confirmed that Viktor Yushchenko had been poisoned. This resignation, officially due to overwork, was the basis for a brief flowering of conspiracy theories at the time. It seems there was indeed a conspiracy, but just not the one they thought.

The mighty FT ran a rather complicated story yesterday in which they succeeded in explaining the incident in some detail. It seems that Dr. Wicke is an intimate of Leonid Kuchma and doctor to many of those close to him. (Kuchma's children, it turns out, were born in the Vienna clinic.) When Yushchenko pitched up in the place riddled with dioxins, Kuchma's son-in-law and campaign chief made a dash to Vienna accompanied by a group of spin doctors hired from the French PR firm EuroRSCG, who persuaded Wicke to hold a press conference denying the suggestion that the illness was indeed poisoning. No wonder he feels - ah - overworked.

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