Holy shit! Russian conspiracies

Why do you say that? By all accounts, the dinner featured beer, vodka and cognac, which is an impressive array of beverages to say the least.

Exactly. The diagnosis of pancreas and liver problems (which explain his back pain and other symptoms) does indicate that he has a pattern of chronic alcohol abuse. He has also had a series of intestinal problems in the past, which required him to be on a strict diet; this may simply have been the first time he drank that much in a while. Thus far, the explanation for the diagnosis of severe pancreatitis and hepatomegaly (chronic alcohol abuse and extreme binge drinking) is certainly simpler and more plausible than the “poisoning” story; the facial disfigurement is really the only remaining question, though Boyle cites that people may become more susceptible to the facial alterations with age.

Its the timing of all the problems occuring simultaneously. Chronic issues don’t just suddenly pop up. If it was a skin condition, my point is that this wouldn’t pop up when he’s that old if he had had the history of alcoholism required to get these other problems. And I’ve seen what rosacea looks like and what happened to this guy is extreme.

I think that it only seemed like it “popped up” because he had been following a moderate lifestyle for some time, and then suddenly reverted to very extreme drinking. In reality, he has had a long history of illnesses. As for the skin condition (which is a separate issue from the pancreatitis), that one actually does have a tendency of “popping up” in response to a trigger (such as extreme drinking). Dr. Boyle suggests that the brownish shade of Yuschenko’s face may be a result of applying extremely large amounts of makeup to diminish the redness; every politician uses makeup in preparation for a public event, after all.

Yuschenko’s condition might not be related to the alcohol at all, but the medical report does do a good job of discrediting the idea that he was poisoned, Sin. And you can’t forget that these symptoms didn’t immediately occur right after the dinner either - there was a large gap between the dinner and the photographs.

Chronologically, the articles say that Yuschenko fell ill two days after the dinner, went to a clinic of some sort for several weeks, and then it’s only after his release from said clinic that the first pictures were finally taken. It’s not as if the skin condition suddenly popped up two days after the dinner - it actually took several weeks.

From there, the medical articals which SK linked to hypothesize that Yuschenko’s alcohol problem caused his immune system to become very weak, thus allowing an unrelated issue - they hypothesize a virus - to cause the skin condition which is very apparent. Considering that Ebola can do far worse than what’s happened to Yuschenko - and in less than a week’s time - it’s possible that Yuschenko just got unlucky and caught a common virus which wrecked havok with his weakened immune system.

Of course this doesn’t exactly rule out foul play either, but it does convince me that Yuschenko wasn’t poisoned.

Well whats going on in Chechnya is one of the crappier conflicts going on in the world but it started much longer ago than last year. And the Russians didn’t start it, the Chechnyans did. Saying Russia started the conflict is like saying the the Americans started WWII with Japan.

I’d have to say Russia openly interfering in the affairs of Europe’s neighbors is just as bad as the West interfering with Russian neighbors.

I know a lot of drunks and might have even been one in my day. Let me tell you that people with alcohol poisoning doesn’t make you look like http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/17/041124_yushchenko_200.jpg and definitely not for months at a time. I don’t know whether he was poisoned or not, but alcohol poisoning was definitely not to blame.

France and Germany also oppose “the neoconservative global American conspiracy” yet the Western press isn’t “inventing” assassination attempts, fudged elections, or corrupt politics in those two countries. Why is the Western press singling out Russia alone?

Okay, now what about all the Russians, not westerners, that accuse Russia of censorship and being a dick? Do their opinions not matter because they’re similar to the outrage being voiced in the west? There are plenty of Russians in Russia who will admit Putin is being a little too overboard.

I’m sure there were about 30 things on the menu, but do you think Viktor here ate 19 entrees? If you’ve ever been to an fancy dinner for your job or something, you would know that people don’t just run around doing keg stands cuz there’s a keg of beer. As a politician, he was probably even more on his guard. You have a drink or two to be polite, any more and you might get drunk, any less and you might be rude. For you to assume he must have pulled a bender is completely ridiculous, like about half of what you’ve posted.

Viruses are extremely specific pathogens, a virus wouldn’t be able to wreak widespread havoc across his body like it has. What had to have struck him would be something non-specific and that’s why a chemical cause and not a biological cause is more likely. Furthermore, for him to have acquired a virus means there had to have been a carrier of the disease. Had it been a virus, they also would’ve been able to isolate it from him in the weeks he was at the clinic. Viruses that nail your immune system don’t go away.

If indeed there was foul play in nailing the cause to dioxins (agent orange contains dioxins for example) which lead for a nasty trip through the health care system if one survives, then I really do have no clue what the hell the guy could’ve had that unleashed this. Its either something he did or someone else did and I don’t buy the alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning doesn’t do this. He was treated in Vienna, so I don’t think its that unlikely that of all the doctors he’s been through that they wouldn’t be able to diagnose alcohol poisoning. I wouldn’t be able to believe that they weren’t able to do a blood gas test to try to diagnose what went wrong. Blood gas can, amongst other things, tell you if you have alcohol poisoning or at least help lead doctors to the source of the problem. And before this even happens, you’ll have other much more immediate manifestations of alcohol poisoning. If it were the case, we’d see this kind of thing happen a lot more to college students that like to party hearty :P. Even at a big university they’d kiiiinda stand out. Lol, now that I think about it, this could make a really powerful anti-drinking ad if it were true :P. Imagine the panic starting with the high school students at the fear of being that disfigured. Do you honestly think that in that part of the world from what we’ve heard about lovely mother russia and the rehab centers for 12 year old alcoholics that they wouldn’t recognize alcohol poisoning when they saw it?

Oh and about his skin color. A jaundice, a yellowing of your skin color, is a symptom of a hepatitis. The liver is one of the major systems in the body where all your blood has to go through and its essentially responsible for detox. Whatever kind of poison he’d get would nail his liver because of that. Something that would make your liver go down the toilet has high likelyhood of nailing other organs because of how large and generally resilient the liver is. So the pancreatitis you mentionned isn’t surprising if whatever he got nailed his liver. Chronic alcohol abuse will lead to a lot of problems, like cirrhosis of the liver, but that won’t happen magically the first time you do something retarded after being good for a long long time.

Well America did cut off oil and other resources that Japan needed. I’m sure if America got resources it needed cut off and they attack someone people would say “Oh it’s ok. The other nation started it by cutting off resources.”

Russia hasn’t been interfering in European affairs. Nothing Russia did in Ukraine even approached the level of intervention on the part of the EU and US. And Europe has no authority over Ukraine, which if anything is much closer to Russia historically and culturally than to any other country.

Dude, it’s pretty simple. His symptoms are inflammation of the pancreas and an enlarged liver. The most common cause of these things by some margin is chronic alcoholism (also gallstones, which Yuschenko does not have). That’s the simplest explanation derived from the diagnosis.

Uh, you used the word “conspiracy,” not me, so you’re on your own with that one. Anyway, in case you wanted a serious answer, France and Germany oppose unilateral American expansionism, but not the idea of Western dominance, and the reason why they don’t oppose the idea of Western dominance is, quite obviously, because they’re part of the West themselves. Hence, they supported Clinton’s invasion of Serbia. And European countries have a lot to gain from a pro-European Ukraine, as Ukraine contains a great deal of arable land and cheap labour.

The reason why Russia is being singled out is because Russia is still the biggest obstacle in the way of unchallenged Western dominance, simply because of its large nuclear stockpile. Hence, the neoconservatives are doing all they can to isolate Russia (by sponsoring these artificial “revolutions” in countries like Ukraine) and destabilize Russia (by supporting Chechen terrorists).

That argument is easy to reverse: what about everyone who supports Putin? His approval rating has been high during his administration. The seizure of Yukos, for one, was quite popular with the Russian public, for good reason, which is why Putin’s approval rating was around 70% when it happened. Disapproval of Putin’s administration, on the other hand, is due to things like the unpopular pension reform plan, and not to trumped-up accusations of “censorship” from hypocritical Western “democrats.” Ultimately, though, how Russians perceive Putin is their own internal Russian affair, and certainly in no way justifies aggressive Western intervention.

It wasn’t a big banquet, but a private dinner which was attended only by a few people who knew each other. And the accounts of the dinner are pretty clear on how much everyone ate: beer and lobsters, vodka and meats, and then cognac for dessert. That’s a pretty heavy shindig.

You’re conflating different issues. The suggestion was that a virus could have caused the facial changes, not the other things.

Yuschenko isn’t a college student, but a much older man with a history of health trouble. College students don’t look like Boris Yeltsin either, but that doesn’t mean that Yeltsin wasn’t an alcoholic.

But Sinistral, the whole <i>point</i> is that he went to one specific clinic in Vienna, not to an academic centre, not to a world-renowned toxicological lab, not to any famous specialist in any one area, but to one specific luxury private clinic that advertises secrecy and has a reputation for being a sort of Betty Ford centre, and that the doctors there announced the result of “dioxin poisoning” without explaining what tests they conducted and how the results were obtained. Furthermore, this same clinic initially announced the same result as the one Boyle described - rosacea - but then changed its diagnosis without explaining why. At the same time, a power struggle took place in this same clinic, resulting in the resignation of its chief, who cited intimidation from the pro-Yuschenko side as the cause.

The dioxin poisoning explanation, however, doesn’t even begin to make sense. Yuschenko’s own claim that he was poisoned on 9/5 should immediately go out the window, because dioxin takes months or even years to manifest its effects; in the only two previous dioxin poisoning cases, symptoms didn’t occur until over six months after exposure, and even then the patients only sought treatment because of the resulting facial acne, and not because of back pain. Therefore, the suddenness of Yuschenko’s illness discredits the poisoning story much more than the alcohol one. If someone wanted to kill Yuschenko, why would he use a poison that can take years to work and isn’t even guaranteed to be fatal? Why not use cyanide or strychnine, or order a shooting?

To believe the poisoning story, you’d have to simultaneously give the poisoner too much and too little credit. You’d have to believe that the poisoner was so cunning and calculating that he poisoned Yuschenko months if not years in advance, but so stupid and incompetent that he picked such an inefficient poison that has never been used to murder anyone and ended up conveniently giving Yuschenko PR fodder for his campaign. That doesn’t even pass the common sense test.

I’m not pushing for the dioxin bit so much as I’m pushing against the alcohol bit. I don’t know if it was dioxins or what the hell happened. However, that doesn’t mean certain possibilities can’t be ruled out. I don’t think there’ll ever be any way for us to really know what happened for sure.

Well, the alcohol hypothesis is not being presented as a definitive proof. It is, however, a simpler, equally plausible explanation of Yuschenko’s condition than the dioxin hypothesis, and that’s all it aspires to be. Let’s look at the available facts:

  1. Yuschenko had a swollen pancreas and enlarged liver.
  2. He complained about back pain and abdominal pain.
  3. He has a history of similar illnesses, and was even placed on a strict diet.
  4. He drank a lot on 9/5.
  5. His face became disfigured shortly afterward.

Boyle constructs the alcohol version approximately like so:

  1. The pancreas problems clearly point to pancreatitis.
  2. The most common cause of pancreatitis is chronic alcohol abuse. Enlargement of the liver is also a consequence of alcohol abuse.
  3. Back pain and abdominal pain are common consequences of pancreatitis.
  4. Therefore, the simplest explanation of facts #1 and #2 is that Yuschenko suffers from alcoholism, and developed pancreatitis as a result.
  5. If so, it stands to reason that he would have had similar troubles in the past, because “chronic issues don’t just suddenly pop up.”
  6. However, fact #3 shows that Yuschenko <i>has</i> had such troubles in the past. So far so good. What’s more, he was even placed on a strict diet because of those troubles, which would indicate that he was already at the point where a lack of moderation could have a grave effect.
  7. Yuschenko’s recent illnesses came after just such a lack of moderation (fact #4).
  8. So far, the only remaining unexplained fact is #5, the facial disfigurement. However, there exists a skin condition (which Yuschenko was in fact diagnosed as having, before the power struggles at the clinic began) which can be suddenly triggered by excessive alcohol consumption. This condition is characterized by the same lumpy texture as Yuschenko’s face.

This is of course not a rigorous proof, nor is it presented as such. However, it is easily <i>just as plausible as</i> the dioxin hypothesis, and is certainly simpler. The whole point of suggesting it was to show that the dioxin hypothesis is a bad one.

Thats strange because people in the west, in the Ukraine, in Russia, in media sources all over the globe…all of these seperate entities agree Russia was doing unsavory things in this past election. I’m not saying the west refrained from such actions, I’m just stating the obvious. One last thing, the Ukraine and Russia are parts of Europe. Ukraine is also a soverign nation. Keep those in mind.

You are correct, I am the one who used the word. But by insinuating that literally hundreds of millions of people are all in some internationa plot to do away with Putin you are insinuating (in every stretch of the word) a conspiracy. I seriously doubt there is a conspiracy against Putin, as you have been insinuating all along, but its obvious he has some enemies. Its also obvious that the Russian government hasn’t been as cool as it should be in recent years.

Well, I’d have to disagree with you on that one. I believe the Indian subcontinent and China are much bugger obstacles to western dominance, as you put it, than a decaying Russia empire.

SIGHMy family and I could sit down to that same meal and out of about 10 of us, 4 of them would walk away without having touched a drop. 3 of 4 of them would have a drink or two, and maybe 1 of us (maybe me) might belt away a few drinks. People usually don’t sit down and get piss drunk while they’re eating dinner, even chronic alcoholics. Over a several course meal, as you are suggesting, a glass of beer, a shot of vodka, and a snifter of cognac do not qualify as heavy drinking. As a matter of fact, I would consider that light drinking (2-3 drinks over several hours). You just keeping getting more and more ridiculous.

How does that justify Western intervention? Furthermore, most of what these “entities” agree on amounts to a) a cock-and-bull story about “poisoning” that doesn’t make sense, b) trivial acts that these “separate entities” don’t consider to be wrong when they themselves do them (Putin congratulated his preferred candidate, whereas European dignitaries congratulated theirs), and c) accusations of “fraud” founded on observations that exhibit blatant double standards and are deliberately incomplete.

No, they’re not, not in the important sense of the word. They’re part of a different economic space, and culturally, they are much closer to each other than to any European country, or any other countries in the world. They have been and are going to be closely linked economically, culturally, geographically and historically for centuries, regardless of what borders were arbitrarily drawn up by Soviet officials. Ukraine has no such links to France or Germany. It has a substantial Russian minority, but no French or German minority. It’s ridiculous to try to justify European intervention in Ukraine on any grounds whatsoever.

Uh, it’s not “literally hundreds of millions” by any means, it’s mostly officials in OSCE and European governments, as well as a handful of hack journalists. And there’s no “plot,” because the aggression against Russia is quite open. Bush is withdrawing American troops from Germany and relocating them to Poland and Romania. At the same time, NATO, which has long outlived any reason for its existence, is expanding to include some of the former Soviet republics, which again expands Western military ambitions eastward. Yuschenko was supported by Western governments for this same reason, because he also favoured NATO membership. We’re not going to be fighting any Islamic terrorists in Poland. There is no conceivable purpose for any of these bases other than to gradually encroach on Russia’s territory, hem Russia in with a ring of NATO patrols, and otherwise isolate Russia even from those countries whose livelihoods are closely linked to its own.

It’s true that neoconservative ideology is partially based on a Cold-War-era worldview, but that doesn’t change the fact that Russia remains the biggest military deterrent to a dominant American military presence on every continent, which Paul Wolfowitz and other neoconservatives advocate.

Let’s see. A dude shows up at the doctor’s office complaining of abdominal pain, with symptoms that clearly point to chronic alcoholism, and with a history of similar illnesses, after having recently been to a dinner where a great deal of alcohol was served. It’s not a stretch to infer that he didn’t stop at one snifter of cognac.

Even if he wasn’t poisoned, there was a lot of evidence that Russia tried to fix the election. Granted, the West apparently is up to some no good to, BUT considering that more people in the Ukraine live in the west part of the country and want to join the EU, a fair election probably would yield Yuschenko as the winner.

Russians (and in this case I am grouping Ukranians as Russians given the close cultural ties), are known to be pretty heavy drinkers, if you don’t mind stereotypes. In fact, I recall learning a verb related to “to drink” that meant more of “to take shots of.” So, like at dinner, they’d be asked what they want to drink and what they want to take shtos of. And quite frankly, I doubt it was just one glass of beer, one glass of vodka, and one snifter of cognac. More likely it would be a couple of beers (do Russians even typically drink beer, SK?), a few shots, and a sinfter or two of cognac. That would certainly add up in a body.

But hey, this all based on the cultural impression that Russians like to drink.

To start with, the justification of western intervention isn’t the issue, its that Russia was doing a fair bit of intervening of its own.

You are correct. To that effect, Spain and Portugal occupy a different economic space, and culturally, they are much closer to each other than to any other European country, or any other countries in the world. Yet, they’re still a part of Europe. Like it or not, but Russia and the Ukraine are European entities. Yes, they share a very similar culture, have controlled each other at different parts in history, have a similar language, etc. But that doesn’t make them not European.

Furthermore, the Ukraine is a soverign nation. What it looks like you’re doing is saying that Russia is allowed to mess with the Ukraine because they’re similar and culture, but since the west is not, then they do not have that option. This is a childish look at this issue, and its one I disagree with. If tomorrow, Ukrainians decided to make English their national language, the panda their national animal, and cricket their national past time….thats up to UKRAINIANS to decide, and not the Russians. If they voted to turn Kiev into a big American missile base, that’s their choice and not Russia’s. Its up to Ukrainians to decide whether or not they’re European, not you.

Its even more ridiculous to justify the condemnation of Europe for intervening when you praise Russia for doing the same thing.

Strange, all the Russian and Ukrainian journalists I have read and listened to weren’t officials in the OSCE, any European government, or hack broadcasting stations. More importantly, the Ukrainian citizens that they spoke to weren’t members of any of those organizations. Your conspiracy, katana, is just a conspiracy.

Its entirely more likely that Bush wants to give Poland and Romania (two of its allies in the Iraq war) cash and business by building bases there instead of Germany (who was against our war on Iraq). Your conspiracy theories are just getting silly now, katana. The USA doesn’t want to encroach on Russian territory.

Well since lobsters, meat, and dessert were served, does that mean Viktor ate 2-3 lobsters, 3-4 lbs of meats, and 3 whole pies? Of course not. I’m going to guess he ate some of a lobster, a little bit of meat, and a piece of pie or something. That sounds reasonable, right? Then what makes you think he’d be completely unreasonable with the drinks? Especially while he was working? Have any of you ever been to a formal lunch of banquet? You don’t do 17 shots of tequila in front of your boss just because its there! This all reminds me of the scene in Forrest Gump when he drinks 16 Dr. Peppers because they’re available. I have a hard time seeing someone like Yushenko being so naïve that he pulled a Forrest Gump at this dinner and drank 14 shots of vodka, just because they were there.

Regardless, even if he drank 3 bottles of vodka in one sitting, alcohol poisoning doesn’t do the type of stuff to one’s skin as what happened to Viktor.

But it is the issue, though, because they were engaging in obvious intervention, more blatantly and more severely than anything Russia did. You keep on harping on your idea that Ukraine is “part of Europe,” which would be totally irrelevant unless it were meant to suggest that European countries have some kind of authority to meddle in its affairs, by virtue of its being part of Europe. They don’t. Anything that goes on in Ukraine is no business of Europe’s whatsoever.

Spain and Portugal are close together, but they’re also close to other Western European countries. They use the Roman alphabet, not Cyrillic; they’re Catholic, not Orthodox; they speak Romance languages, not Slavic ones; they’re located in the west, surrounded by other western countries, and not in the east, surrounded by Slavic ones; their economies are just as intertwined with those of European countries as with each other; their principal trading partners are Britain, France, and America, whereas Russia is Ukraine’s single most important trading partner (41% of imports, compared to about 20% for all of Europe and 3% for America). Ultimately, the civilizations and histories of Spain and Portugal are similar to other European civilizations. Russia’s and Ukraine’s are not.

No, I’m saying that when Europe blatantly and hypocritically interferes in Ukrainian affairs, it is a legitimate cause of concern for Russia, and indicative of an aggressive and expansionist policy towards Russia. For the exact same reason, the United States would not like it if Russia decided to interfere in Canadian elections, by heavily promoting and funding a candidate who was willing to let them build military bases on the American border, demanding a new election after that candidate had lost, encouraging the candidate to shut down the government, and sending ten thousand observers to the new election.

Exactly. And it’s certainly not up to American organizations funded with American taxpayer money, OSCE “observers,” the Western press, the president of Poland, George W. Bush, lazy journalists who ran with the laughable “poisoning” story and gushed about how “democratic” Yuschenko is, or anyone else among the people who, using claims of Russian intervention as a cover, engaged in or supported more intervention than anyone else.

What on earth are you talking about? I didn’t “praise Russia for doing the same thing,” I attacked various vague accusations made against Russia, in particular the accusation of “poisoning,” because they were groundless.

How is this relevant to anything at all? If you want to talk about Ukrainian citizens, then half of them didn’t want Yuschenko to be president. There were at least as many opponents of Yuschenko as supporters of him. So this assertion still doesn’t give any legitimacy to Yuschenko’s or the EU’s actions.

Yes, of course, that has to be it. Bush wants to build American bases, redeploy American troops, spend a lot of American money, sponsor anti-Russian “revolutions” in the former Soviet republics, give money to anti-Russian organizations in them, and station American forces close to the Russian border from both the west and south, not because he wants to isolate Russia, not because members of his administration have been saying for years that we should provoke a war with Russia, not because neoconservatives have written that we should increase hostilities against Russia, not because all the prominent American neoconservatives support Chechen terrorists and promote military intervention on their behalf, not because of any of these things, but all because Bush wants to create jobs in Poland, presumably because he wasn’t very good at creating them here. Naturally, if Russia decided to follow suit by building a military base in Montreal, that would be equally benign and perfectly acceptable to the United States.

You seem to be labouring under the delusion that asserting something makes it true.

Being the president of Russia didn’t stop Yeltsin from drinking too much, now did it? Let’s run through it one more time: a dude in his fifties shows up at the doctor’s office, complaining about abdominal pain, exhibiting symptoms that clearly point to chronic alcoholism, carrying a medical history of similar illnesses and doctors’ orders to adhere to a strict diet for health reasons, shortly after having gone to a private dinner (and not a banquet) with three other people where a lot of alcohol was served. Of the two rival explanations, one being that he overdid it, and the other being that he was poisoned with a poison that takes months or years to work, the former explanation is far more plausible.

Not usually, but it can. Once again, there exists a skin condition which causes the same sort of lumpy texture as that observed on Yuschenko’s face, and can be triggered by as little as one drink, depending on one’s age, susceptibility, and medical history. In this case, it was someone over 50, with symptoms indicating chronic alcoholism, a medical history of illnesses resulting from it, and doctors’ orders to be on a strict diet.

Just to comment, I generally agree that Russian/Eastern European culture is very different than Western Europe. They are a different ‘civilization’. However, I believe that supposing the election was completely fair, Yuschenko would have won, simply because a majority of Ukrainians equate admission to the EU with modernization and high quality of life. After all, Turkey is certainly very different than Europe, yet the Turkish people desperately want admission to the EU. And I think SK may be underestimating the intensity of Russia’s ‘interference’. Russia probably is responsible for many of the wrongdoings mentioned in the first post of this thread - keep in mind that Putin is a ‘former-KGB-agent-turned-politician’ in the same mold as Brezhnev. He has already seized authoritarian powers that makes the idea of democracy in Russia a joke, so its only natural that he would resort to things like trying to steal elections and assasinations. Or, for another example, think of Putin’s response to the seizing of that school by terrorists… he just sent the troops in blazing. He basically did the same thing when terrorists seized the theater last year. Point being, the leadership of Russia is ruthless, morals be damned.

If Islamic terrorists were to seize a theatre or school in Washington DC or New York, I really don’t think that any American president, Democratic or Republican, would do anything too differently, although the American military would have better weapons.

True enough. But, we wouldn’t release a mysterious gas into the theater and then refuse to tell paramedics what said gas was, as Putin did. And American presidential candidates wouldn’t arrange for their political opponents to be kidnapped shortly before the election, as Putin may have.

If we were to use force in such a case without knocking out the terrorists, then the terrorists would kill everyone the second we broke down the door. The real mistake (and a very bad one) committed by the Russian authorities was that, after the gas was used, the people were just sent home; if they had been immediately rushed to hospitals, they could have been saved.