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Chubais links ex-PM mystery ailment to journalist, ex-spy death

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Russia's electricity giant head and architect of the 1990s reforms said the mystery illness of his reformer colleague was linked to the recent killings of an investigative journalist and an ex-spy.
ST. PETERSBURG, November 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's electricity giant head and architect of the 1990s reforms said the mystery illness of his reformer colleague was linked to the recent killings of an investigative journalist and an ex-spy.

Former acting Premier Yegor Gaidar's daughter said her 50-year-old father started vomiting and fainted at a conference in Dublin Friday and remained unconscious for three hours. Gaidar was in a grave condition, and doctors have not identified the reason yet.

"Yegor Gaidar was on the verge of death November 24," said Chubais, who was first deputy prime minister under former President Boris Yeltsin. He quoted "professionals who know the situation" as saying that it did not look like natural sickness.

The chief executive of Unified Energy System said Russian authorities were not involved in the incident.

"If it were so, Moscow would have been a far better place for it than Dublin," Chubais said.

The Kremlin's reputation has been overshadowed by two recent high-profile killings. Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist and a Kremlin critic, was gunned down in Moscow in October in an apparent contract killing. Alexander Litvinenko, a defector spy who allegedly investigated the murder, died in London last week from suspected radioactive poisoning.

Following his death, Western media circulated a statement where he blamed the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin for his "poisoning."

Both Politkovskaya and Litvinenko were linked to Russia's fugitive oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who had vast clout under Yeltsin but is now living in London with a British passport. Berezovsky is wanted in Russia on fraud charges and attempts to organize a coup.

"The deadly triangle - Politkovskaya, Litvinenko and Gaidar - would have been very desirable for some people who are seeking an unconstitutional and forceful change of power in Russia," Chubais said.

Gaidar has been brought to a Moscow hospital. He is now in "a satisfactory condition and not in intensive care," Gaidar's daughter Maria said.

Along with Chubais, Gaidar was a pioneer of Russia's privatization campaign following the U.S.S.R. collapse in the 1990s. Both politicians have been criticized for the rapid pace of reforms, also referred to as "shock therapy", because they deprived many people of their long-time savings.

In the early 1990s, Gaidar was deputy prime minister, economics and finance minister, In 1992, he de facto headed the government.

In the mid-1990s, he was a member of parliament and is now head of the Institute for the Economy in Transition.

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