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December 16, 2004
A Warning Signal From Yanukovych?

Ukrainian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych gave a statement that sounds suspiciously like a warning of a potential military takeover of the nation if the rerun of the final election stage goes against him:

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, facing a new election battle against a liberal challenger buoyed by vast street protests, said on Thursday Ukraine had been cast into a crisis which could turn to disaster after the new vote. ...

Speaking at his headquarters, Yanukovich restated his opposition to the Supreme Court ruling that led to the new vote.

"This is not a conflict between the opposition and the authorities. It is a crisis which is determining the future of Ukraine," he said, while declining to answer questions.

"Moreover, a real danger exists that after Dec. 26, Ukraine may be on the brink of a full-scale crisis."

At first blush, this statement comes across as either (a) preparation for another hijacked election and the inevitable street protests that would follow, or (b) Yanukovych's refusal to accept any losing result by claiming fraud in the new runoff -- and using the military to retain power in either case. There doesn't seem to be any other reason for Yanukovych to make that dire prediction. It sounds like Yanukovych wants to prepare a case for declaring a national emergency, one that would keep him in power indefinitely.

Yanukovych, however, may find that power denied him as his one-time allies have started to jump ship. Current president Leonid Kuchma has apparently cut ties with his proteg now that Yankovych's support has all but collapsed in Ukraine:

The prime minister was backed in the earlier vote by outgoing President Leonid Kuchma, but he has since turned on his former ally, saying the president did nothing to stop more than two weeks of street rallies by Yushchenko's supporters.

Nor is Kuchma alone in backpedaling away from the suddenly radioactive prime minister. Yanukovych's prior campaign manager and now-former head of Ukraine's central bank has repudiated the PM as well. Yanukovych's public support is drying up, making it highly unlikely that he will retain control of Ukrainian security forces after another election debacle like the last. If he loses a fair election -- an almost certain outcome now -- he won't have a prayer of convincing the military to install him in a putsch. That may not keep him from trying it, and today's missive shows that Yanukovych intends on keeping his options open.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 16, 2004 3:21 PM

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» Yanukovich Stokes Backers' Fears from The Herkimer Diaries
At one campaign stop after another Wednesday, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich hammered a new message in his presidential rematch against pro-Western opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko: Vote for me, or the foreigners will steal your country and make... [Read More]

Tracked on December 16, 2004 4:57 PM

» Yanukovych is pissing into the wind from SCSU Scholars
As I pointed out earlier this week, we now are fairly sure there was an attempt to do this on November 28th, before the Ukrainian Supreme Court ordered the revote. Yanukovych could not persuade Kuchma then to follow through on the threat. To make his... [Read More]

Tracked on December 16, 2004 5:07 PM

» http://www.powerpundit.com/archive/.php from Powerpundit
Captain Ed thinks that Ukrainian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych may be signalling a potential military takeover if the things in the Ukraine don't go his way.... [Read More]

Tracked on December 16, 2004 8:48 PM

» A Yanukovych Warning? from Powerpundit
Captain Ed thinks that Ukrainian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych may be signalling a potential military takeover if the things in the Ukraine don't go his way. Others think that Yanukovych is "pissing into the wind."... [Read More]

Tracked on December 16, 2004 8:56 PM

» Orange alert: threats of violence from The Key Monk
Same trick, different Soviet-era stooge. PM Yanukovych claims that "a real danger exists that after Dec. 26, Ukraine may be on the brink of a full-scale crisis." In other words, if the Ukrainians don't vote for me over my rival (the pro-Western, pro-NA... [Read More]

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» Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovich Promises NOT to Play Fair from rightpundit.com
Current Ukrainian Prime Minister and government picked candidate for President Viktor Yanukovich issued what can only be called a vieled threat to violently thwart any electorial victory by opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko in the court-mandated re-v... [Read More]

Tracked on December 18, 2004 12:05 AM



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