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The Leonid Kuchma surrounding prepares assault at its chief life

In the Ukrainian regional newspaper Molod Cherkaschiny, a sensational article has appeared reporting about possible attempt at the Leonid Kuchma life, while the plotters are the President closest surrounding.

The author of the article, Vladimir Yeremenko quotes his conversation with a Kiev journalist who is well disposed towards force ministers. While appearing in these circles, she is said to learn possible “rescue scenario” which Ukrainian elite had worked out for itself.

The president’s position is so unstable now, that the Kuchma surrounding has to think about its future, the journalist said to the article author. The regime can cope with internal opposition, though anti-Kuchma spirits are spreading in the West. The previous aim – to keep Kuchma till next presidential election – looks more and more unreal. So, as “the load” is too heavy, as the West starts to freeze accounts, not only that once of Kuchma, but of his assistants, too, as the process of the Kuchma downfall becomes irreversible, the President’s friends will burn all bridges not to fall together with Kuchma.

There are two variants of the President “extradition.” According to the first, the Kuchma brothers-in-arms “will take the side of the opposition and arrest the chief.” Though, this is not the best way, for “they would have to agree to second roles, because the first ones will belong to the opposition representatives.” So, the Kuchma brother-in-arms will have no guarantees in the future (not saying that the opposition hardly will believe in good intentions of some  today’s Kuchma supporters). Though, there is one more solution, a “surgical” one, which would save the President retinue from most of problems. It is the assault.

Actually, the Leonid Kuchma life is said to have been attempted several times. At least, brave reports of Ukrainian Security Council could be remembered, which averted these same attempts. One attempt was averted by Azerbaijanian special services. The Ukrainian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Boris Alexeenko told to journalists from the newspaper Fakty i Kommentarii: “In 1995, when Leonid Kuchma came on his first visit to Azerbaijan, an assault both at the Ukrainian and the Azerbaijanian presidents was being prepared. Leaving the Bina airport, the presidential column should have pass a bridge before driving in the city of Baku. While under the bridge, a bomb was put, equivalent 300 g of TNT. If the bomb had blown up, both presidents and their surrounding would have been killed, while all houses (this is a very populated district) at a distance of 3 km from the spot would have been annihilated.”

In 1999, the Ukrainian Security Service workers detained a man who was said to had planned a terrorist act against Leonid Kuchma during his visit to Sumy Region. According to Ukrainian Security Service, the detained person had several previous convictions. “The detained confessed he had accomplices who were wanted by the police,” – the Security Council press service reported.

In 2000, then-chairman of Ukrainian Security Service, Leonid Derkach said at the summit of the CIS state heads in the city of Yalta, an assault was being prepared at one of the leaders. According to the Security Service head, four Chechens were detained  and several Middle-Eastern people. What happened further with them? In what did the investigation result? Was there a trial? The Security Service is silent.

I remember also the “conspiracy of mushroomers,” the veterans of Soviet Army who supposedly intended to explode the Chenobyl power station and overthrow Kuchma. At that time, some critics supposed the Security Service head wanted himself to occupy the presidential chair and intended through disclosing these assaults to raise his rating. Though after the “cassette scandal” Leonid Derkach was retired and all the conspiracies stopped.

This time the idea of an assault is said to be born in the presidential surrounding itself. “The President will be killed with his own people,” – quotes the author of the article the words of the mentioned-above journalist (though, I would assume the question is likely about the former force ministers), - while the opposition will be certainly accused of this act. “The assault would untie hands of the current presidential administration which would find support in people, offering strict measures against the killers.” According to the article, Kuchma could escape by sending in his resignation, while the presidential surrounding could accelerate the development of the situation and deliver a preventive blow.

“The scenario of the assault is ready, the participants are appointed and special addresses to the nation are prepared,” – Yeremenko quotes the insight. The Kiev journalist waned Yeremenko all she said is not for publication, though as she did not come to the next meeting, Yeremenko understood it as signal for action. “My publication will probably stop the train which is already on the way to the disgraceful destination,” – Yeremenko writes.

In the article, there is a footnote: “the publication is devoted to April 1, 2005, when we all can drink – with relief or sympathy” (After the presidential election? Though, it should take place in 2004…)
Probably, we have to do with a canard which is aimed at study of the interested persons reaction? Anyway, the Kuchma surrounding has not reacted yet.

Andrei Lubyensky

Translated by Vera Solovieva