Friday, March 04, 2005
Ukraine's former interior minister was found dead of an apparent suicide Friday, just before he was to meet with prosecutors for questioning about the 2000 slaying of an investigative journalist, dealing a blow to an investigation that could also implicate former President Leonid Kuchma.
Yuriy Kravchenko had been implicated in organizing the killing of Heorhiy Gongadze, who wrote about top-level corruption under Kuchma.
The death of the journalist � who was found decapitated in a forest outside the capital � sparked months of protests against the former president, who the opposition alleged had ordered the killing.
Kuchma, whose decade in power ended in January after the election of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, repeatedly has denied any involvement.
"Before God, before the people, before my conscience I'm clean," Kuchma told journalists in Karlovy Vary, a spa town in the Czech Republic where he has spent the past few weeks. He said he would return to Ukraine on Saturday and was prepared to talk to prosecutors, Czech and Ukrainian television reported.
I hope he has bodyguards provided by the Yushchenko government. Neeka says it's definitely two bullets in Kravchenko. She also quotes Kuchma,
"...not many people would've been able to bear the crazy pressure [Kravchenko had been subjected to lately]. [...] I knew him well. He would've never given that criminal order [to kill Gongadze]."
Jeez, I wonder where that pressure came from?
Neeka's got lots more: just scroll. Bob at Abdymok has some of the background.
I see no reason not to think Kuchma's hands are on the gun(s) that killed Kravchenko or the previous ministers I discussed in December. If Yushchenko intends to get to the bottom of who killed Gongadze, he will have to move faster.
(Hat tip: Spitbull.)