05/16/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Ukraine Elections Haunted By Gogol

The best guide to the careers of Yanukovych, Yushchenko, and Tymoshenko is Nikolai Gogol, who brought the absurd to Russian literature. In his short story "The Nose," a barber finds the nose of one of his clients in his breakfast roll. The severed nose then takes on a life and an identity of its own. In Ukrainian politics, the disfigured face is that of outgoing President Yushchenko. During the previous presidential election campaign, he survived what could have been a fatal dose of dioxin, and fought the rest of the campaign and then served as president with his face covered with horrible lesions from the poisoning. During his term, European specialists observed the slow purge of the dioxin from his body

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