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Investigation Continues into Suspected Poisoning of Former Russian PM


A former Russian prime minister who became mysteriously ill a few days ago says he is feeling better. Yego Gaidar became sick while on a visit to Ireland, and doctors have been unable to identify a natural cause of his illness. This is raising speculation that his illness may be linked to the poisoning of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died last week in London. Bill Gasperini has more from Moscow.

Aides say Yegor Gaidar, 50, is slowly recovering. Meanwhile, the investigation continues into why he suddenly got sick last week during a speaking tour in Ireland.

The 50-year-old was rushed from Ireland back to Moscow, where he is now hospitalized. His doctors say he may have been poisoned.

His case comes amid an investigation into the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died of radiation poisoning on November 23 in London, the day before Gaidar became ill.

The former spy had become a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, which has strongly denied allegations it was involved in his death.

Former Prime Minister Gaidar's supporters say the two cases may be related, although there is no evidence of that yet.

Moscow author Yevgenia Albats is a close friend of Gaidar. She suspects he was poisoned.

"What we know by now is that the cause of his disease was not food poisoning, but we do know it was poisoning," she said. "Gaidar barely survived, he was in a extremely dangerous condition."

Gaidar was the first prime minister in post-Soviet Russia, and is most remembered for economic shock therapy that was widely blamed for throwing millions of Russians into poverty in the chaotic 1990s.

The former prime minister, who now heads a Moscow research institute, remains a firm believer in free-market principles and is a frequent critic of current Kremlin policies.

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