06MOSCOW12878, GAYDAR’S WEEKEND INTERVIEWS LEAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW12878 2006-12-12 08:51 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2480
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #2878/01 3460851
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 120851Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5783
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 012878 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/12/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PINR KDEM RS
SUBJECT: GAYDAR'S WEEKEND INTERVIEWS LEAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT 
ALLEGED POISONING UNANSWERED 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns:  1.4 (b). 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) A December 6 Financial Times article and two TV 
interviews with ex-Prime Minister Gaydar broadcast the 
weekend of December 8 have shed little light on Gaydar's 
alleged poisoning November 22 in Dublin.  Although Gaydar's 
Moscow doctors have been unable or unwilling to state that 
Gaydar had been intentionally poisoned on November 22, Gaydar 
himself joined Anatoliy Chubais in asserting that he had been 
poisoned; Gaydar went further in connecting the alleged 
attempt on him with the killing of ex-FSB operative 
Litvinenko.  Gaydar, while asserting that he did not believe 
the perpetrators were Russian officials, allowed that it was 
possible that others in Russia could have been behind the 
attempt on him.  Gaydar denied to the Swedish Ambassador that 
he had been poisoned and was "angry" that others, presumably 
Chubais, had alleged foul play.  In a later conversation, 
Gaydar told our Ambassador that what he experienced was not 
run-of-the-mill food poisoning.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) Ex-Prime Minister Gaydar followed his December 6 
article in the Financial Times with two interviews on Moscow 
television over the weekend of December 8 in which he 
continued to assert that he was poisoned on November 22 while 
at a conference in Dublin. (Gaydar fell ill at the 
conference, was hospitalized in Dublin then returned, at his 
own request, to Moscow where he spent several days 
recuperating in a clinic. United Energy Systems Chairman 
Anatoliy Chubais was quick to label Gaydar's illness a 
poisoning, and implied that exiled Russian billionaire and 
foe of President Putin Boris Berezovskiy might be 
responsible.  In the Times article, Gaydar was careful to 
note that doctors in Moscow did not use the word "poisoning" 
in their diagnosis "for reasons of professional ethics." 
(Gaydar said they could not make such a diagnosis as sixty 
hours had passed since the poison had allegedly entered his 
system.  He said nothing in the article, or in the 
interviews, to suggest that doctors in Ireland had suspected 
poisoning.  The Irish Embassy confirmed to us that they had 
no evidence to support a claim of deliberate poisoning.) 
 
3. (C) In an interview with the REN weekly news program 
"Nedelya" broadcast December 9, Gaydar said he was certain 
that he had not been poisoned by Russian officials, but he 
thought it possible that others in Russia or the secret 
services of some other state could be responsible.  In a 
second interview, broadcast on December 10 the NTV program 
"Segodnya," Gaydar again asserted that he had been poisoned 
and termed the intentions of the perpetrators to be "not in 
the interest of the Russian state."  In the television 
interviews, Gaydar linked what had happened to him with the 
poisoning of ex-FSB agent and London-based critic of the 
Putin government Aleksandr Litvinenko.  The only evidence of 
such a link offered by Gaydar was the timing of the two 
events. 
 
4. (C) Gaydar's allegation that he had been poisoned has 
provoked varying preliminary responses here, with some 
accepting his version at face value, and others more 
skeptical.  Gaydar family friend and Ekho Moskvy journalist 
Yevgeniya Albats told us December 8 that she had met Gaydar 
and his daughter Mariya on December 7.  Albats thought Gaydar 
had been poisoned, but seemed uncomfortable with that version 
of events, and later in the conversation suggested that 
Gaydar was "under some pressure" from Chubais, who had 
asserted almost immediately that Gaydar was the victim of 
foul play and was pushing Gaydar to hew to that line.  Albats 
admitted that Gaydar's Moscow physicians had to her knowledge 
not confirmed Gaydar's allegations. Gaydar has presented 
different versions to his diplomatic contacts.  A 
Moscow-based Swedish diplomat, on the other hand, told us 
that Gaydar had told his ambassador that he was angry and 
embarrassed at allegations that he had been poisoned.  In a 
later conversation, immediately prior to the publication of 
the Financial Times article, Gaydar told our Ambassador that 
what he experienced was not run-of-the-mill food poisoning. 
 
 
5. (C) In a December 9 conversation, "Other Russia's" Garry 
Kasparov --who is otherwise predisposed to believe the worst 
about the current government-- rehearsed many of the 
arguments used by observers here to cast doubts on Gaydar's 
version of events: 
 
-- why was Chubais immediately so certain that Gaydar had 
 
MOSCOW 00012878  002 OF 002 
 
 
been poisoned? 
 
-- if Gaydar thought he had been poisoned, why would he 
return to the likely home base of those attempting to poison 
him?  Kasparov found Gaydar's rationale, in the Financial 
Times piece, that he returned to Russia because the Moscow 
doctors were more familiar with his medical history, "not 
convincing"; 
 
-- Gaydar's doctors have not confirmed that he was poisoned; 
 
-- it was odd that the Dublin doctors would not ha
ve been 
alert to the possibility of poisoning, as the Litvinenko case 
was unfolding at the same time in London; 
 
-- if he had been poisoned, why was Gaydar so certain that 
"Russian officials" could not be the culprits? 
 
6. (C) A colleague at the British Embassy also found Gaydar's 
version of events "not convincing," but was not willing to 
exclude the possibility that the former Prime Minister may 
have been poisoned. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
7. (C) Although on a much smaller scale than the murder of 
Litvinenko, this episode is even more difficult to 
understand, as it cannot even be said with certainty that 
Gaydar was poisoned.  Whether it was a failed murder attempt, 
an attempt to distract attention from the Litvinenko murder, 
or just food poisoning is not clear and may never be. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

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