Yegor T. Gaidar, a former prime minister and architect of Russia’s early post-Soviet market reforms, has been hospitalized with a mysterious illness that his daughter and associates said Wednesday could have resulted from poisoning.
Mr. Gaidar, 50, fell ill in Ireland on Friday, the day after Alexander V. Litvinenko, the former Russian secret agent, died in London following an illness caused by exposure to polonium 210, a radioactive isotope. Mr. Gaidar’s spokesman, Valery A. Natarov, said Mr. Gaidar returned to Moscow on Sunday and remained in a hospital, though neither Mr. Natarov nor others would identify it.
Anatoly B. Chubais, an ally of Mr. Gaidar and chairman of Russia’s electric monopoly, said that Mr. Gaidar appeared to have escaped an attempt on his life. He said the case was linked to Mr. Litvinenko’s death and to the recent killing of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
“This miraculously incomplete lethal construct — Politkovskaya, Litvinenko and Gaidar — would have been extremely attractive to those seeking an unconstitutional and forceful change of power in Russia,” Mr. Chubais said in televised remarks from St. Petersburg. He did not elaborate, but his words suggested he did not believe that the Russian authorities had been involved.
Still, the reaction to Mr. Gaidar’s illness underscored the sensation the London poisoning has caused, though the police in Britain have not classified Mr. Litvinenko’s death as a murder case, and the Kremlin has denied Russian officials were involved.
A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, on Wednesday criticized what he called the “completely unexplainable hysteria” over the cases.
Completely unexplainable. Putin has been grasping for more and more power for a couple of years now. It seems relatively clear that the Kremlin was behind Politkovskaya, probably Litvenenko, and maybe behind this. It will be interesting to see what happens when Putin terms out, if he'll seek a top position in the Duma or if he'll change the constitution to stay in power. But Bush looked in his soul, so he must be ok.