YUSHCHENKO'S POLITICAL BLUNDERS AND POLITICAL FARCE

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MOSCOW, November 24 (RIA Novosti's Arseny Oganesyan) - With political tensions in Ukraine gradually subsiding, there are almost no grounds to fear that the Opposition protests will turn violent. Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko has been sworn as president in a half-empty parliament building, but this has not made his presidency any more real. And it is becoming less and less likely that he will ever make it into the office, in Ukraine at least, as his self-styled inauguration has deprived him of all options for meaningful dialogue with the Establishment.

Ukrainian analyst Mikhail Pogrebinsky believes Yushchenko's inauguration to be a severe political blunder. He says the man might have just as well proclaimed himself president on a square, in the subway, or elsewhere. The thinking was to galvanize the crowd of his supporters.

Alexander Malashenko, of the Carnegie Moscow Center, has told RIA Novosti in an interview that there is no more threat of a violent standoff in Ukraine. And although Ukraine remains a nation divided along political lines, no one here is interested in provoking a civil war, the analyst argues. In his prediction, the most likely scenario will be a settlement "from five angles," that is, the two presidential hopefuls (Yushchenko and incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych) , the outgoing President Leonid Kuchma, Russia, and the West. "The important thing is to reach some consensus," Malashenko believes.

Yushchenko has called on Ukraine's army and police top brass to support the Opposition, but they have not heeded his appeal. Anatoly Tsyganok, Director of the Military Analysis Center, says it is only natural that in a situation like this the army should maintain its neutrality.

The Opposition should have resorted to the legitimate way of challenging the election outcome, through court, that is. They accuse the pro-government candidate of mass election fraud, yet it is absolutely clear that no rigging could have helped Yanukovych gain the 800,000 votes that put him 3 percentage points ahead of Yushchenko.

Another authoritative Russian analyst, Sergei Markov, is certain that the incumbent government is strong enough to neutralize any provocation on the part of the Opposition. And it is highly unlikely that the international community will step in to help the presidential challenger and his associates.

Vyacheslav Nikonov, President of the Politika think tank, believes that Yanukovych is a legitimate winner. And although Ukraine is in for a new spiral of political unrest, it is already clear that Yanukovych will be the nation's next president, not Yushchenko.

Well, the Opposition's revolutionary ambitions have failed to materialize, and the political situation in Ukraine now looks more and more like a farce. Especially given Yushchenko's recent statement that he would not mind a revote in the runoff-this only a day after he proclaimed himself president! That's ridiculous, to say the least.

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