If it ain’t one thing, it’s something else One man’s opinion By Grigory Pasko, journalist Fifty-year-old Yegor Gaidar, head of the Institute for the Economy in Transition, started to feel bad while participating in a November 24 conference on Russian-Irish relations at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, not far from Dublin. He was quickly taken to the intensive care unit of the James Connolly hospital in the capital. On Sunday, November 26, Gaidar flew back to Moscow, where he continued to receive treatment in one of the capital’s clinics. Almost immediately, reports appeared that he may have been poisoned. Certain commentators on this event rushed to make a link between the symptoms of Gaidar’s illness and the mysterious death of ex-KGB-officer Alexander Litvinenko. It is noteworthy that the Irish doctors were not able to make a precise diagnosis. At least that’s what we were told by people close to the illness-weakened body of Yegor Timurovich. Or maybe they were able to, but medical ethics or the request of the patient himself did not allow them to publicly announce this. It is noteworthy that Russian doctors as well did not make any public statements about the results of their examination. Nor did Yegor Timurovich himself shed any light on the medical aspect of his supposed poisoning when he spoke in the press (The Financial Times) and at a press conference. But he did express a firm confidence in the fact that the poisoning had been an attempt to physically eliminate him. In an interview with the television channel “Rossiya”, Gaidar declared: “The aim was – to kill”. In do doing, as reported by Interfax, Gaidar had expressed the opinion that his poisoning and the death of Alexander Litvinenko are “elements of a single plan” by the opponents of today’s Russian power. In Gaidar’s opinion, in both the one case and in the other, standing behind the murder attempts are “either open or covert adversaries of the current power”, interested in weakening Russia. “Having given it some thought, I almost immediately reject the theory that the Russian leadership is involved in what happened. After Alexander Litvinenko’s death on November 23 in London, yet another violent death of a well-known Russian taking place on the next day – that’s the last thing in which the Russian authorities would be interested. If we were talking about a bombing or a shooting in Moscow, I would think first of all of radical nationalists. But Dublin? Poisoning? Obviously not their style”, notes the ex-premier. What do we know for sure about Gaidar’s mysterious ailment? That as a result of an investigation, Irish doctors had determined that the patient had had “radical changes in the vital functions of the organism in a brief period of time”. That’s all. Let’s turn to the specialised literature: The Practicing Doctor’s Reference says that “poisoning is an illness brought about by poison that has entered the organism”. It also indicates that poisoning brought about by bad food, the toxins of microorganisms, is called food poisoning. It gives examples of colibacillosis – an infectious disease manifested by diarrhoea, attributes of severe intoxication, and the dehydration of the organism. Of course, I’m no doctor. I’m an observer from the side. A silent observer. Then some journalist colleagues of mine asked me what I thought about Gaidar and his poisoning. I didn’t think anything, I just felt sorry for a person who had found himself in an unpleasant situation. Until Egor Timurovich started talking about enemies of the Motherland, “either open or covert adversaries of the current power”, interested in weakening Russia. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any evidence of Russia’s enemies actually accomplishing anything on the “weaken Russia” front. The fact is that the Russian power itself is Russia’s worst enemy, having done more to weaken the country than all its enemies together could have dreamed of. And to my non-professional eye, it seems that there’s really a very simple explanation to this “poisoning-like” illness: Yegor Timurovich had SHIT IN HIS PANTS. After his statements, it seems he’s done so both in the literal and the figurative sense. Apparently, the former prime minister just didn’t have the guts to come out and admit this. While making a connection with Litvinenko’s murder and other events while they were hot topics in the news seemed like an attractive explanation for his diarrhoea and vomiting. A final comment. Just like many-many citizens of my country, I have continued to respect Yegor Timurovich Gaidar to this day, despite all the criticism of him by open and covert “enemies of Russia”. Now, the unpleasant odour wafting from this whole story has seriously gotten in the way of this feeling of respect.