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American Connections to Revolutions in Former Soviet Republics

The NYT reported on Saturday that Kateryna Chumachenko, the American wife of new Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko will renounce her American citizenship in order to take on Ukrainian citizenship. The article says she worked at the State Department, the Treasury and the White House before going to the Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Could one or more of those jobs be CIA cover? In addition, the Washington Post reported that a US medical team assisted in treating Yushchenko’s dioxin poisoning, although the US has been reluctant to admit it for fear of offending Russia. The article said:

The team’s role in Yushchenko’s recovery from an apparently deliberate case of massive dioxin poisoning has been undisclosed until now, largely because U.S. officials and the doctors did not want to appear to interfere in the political drama of the Ukrainian elections. Yushchenko, whose once-youthful face was mysteriously transformed into a blotch of lesions after the poisoning, visited the private Rudolfinerhaus clinic between the election that was declared fraudulent and the election that resulted in his presidential victory. Yushchenko’s election was a bitter blow to the Russian government, and even today U.S. officials are reluctant to officially say they assisted the medical team. Gregory Saathoff, the lead doctor and executive director of U-Va.’s Critical Incident Analysis Group in Charlottesville, would confirm only broad details after saying he received permission from the family to discuss it “on a very limited basis.” He said the U.S. government was not involved in his team’s work. “It was clear that the U.S. government had no interest or ability in being involved in this situation because this would be interference in the election of another country,” Saathoff said. “The U.S. government was notably hands-off.” But a senior U.S. official directly involved in the operation said it began with a request from Yushchenko’s family for assistance, via an official in the Pentagon, and the State Department provided logistical support during the doctors’ overseas trip. He said Saathoff kept in touch with the State Department in Washington, at one point informing officials they suspected they were being followed — by police or even Russian intelligence agents — and would cut their stay in Vienna short by a day.

In Georgia, the new president Saakashvilli studied, lived and worked in the United States for years before returning to Georgia to become president.

The NYT today says the revolution in Kyrgyzstan did not move Kyrgyzstan any closer to the Western orbit. It was probably just a coup in which one corrupt group took power from the corrupt group already in office.

Ironically so far the revolutions have taken place in the former Soviet republics that are the most democratic (relatively) compared to the other former Soviet republics. What is the lesson from this? For current despots to crack down harder, maybe including Putin?

What does Russia think about this? As usual, the NYT is on top of this, and says Russia might not be too happy about what’s going on in its neighborhood and might be preparing to block similar activities in mother Russia.

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