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Yuschenko: A beautiful revolution


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Yushchenko's opponent refuses to concede defeat.

Viktor Yushchenko declares victory in Ukraine's election.
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DAVOS, Switzerland (CNN) -- Viktor Yushchenko, the newly elected president of Ukraine, said he is very happy that "our beautiful revolution" made so many people happy.

Kiev's Independence Square became the site of huge protests after Yushchenko was first deemed the loser in the November 21 presidential election runoff.

He was brought to power in December after the popular protests forced the annulment and rerunning of a flawed presidential poll and was inaugurated last Sunday.

The president told CNN on Saturday his country faces difficult problems, including widespread corruption at every level of government, and he is determined to fight it.

One of the ways to do it, he said, is to cut bribery by reducing the number of public officials in Ukraine and increasing wages of those who keep their positions.

Commenting on Ukrainian-Russian relations, the president noted that what Russia was doing during the latest elections in Ukraine came close to being interference in its internal affairs.

"My last meeting with (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin was focused precisely on the problem, how can we turn this page over. And I think we found a very good understanding on the issue," Yushchenko said.

"I fully realize and appreciate it that Russia is our eternal strategic partner."

One day after being inaugurated, Yuschenko visited Moscow on his first foreign trip as president, attempting to smooth relations with the Kremlin, which is concerned about losing sway in Ukraine under the Western-oriented new leader.

Ukraine's powerful neighbor had staunchly backed Yushchenko's rival for the presidency, Victor Yanukovych.

Ukraine is home to the Russian navy's Black Sea fleet at Sevastopol and pipelines for Russia's economically vital gas and oil exports. Historically it has been seen by its much bigger neighbor as part of its sphere of influence.

On Saturday, media quoted Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, a fierce critic of Putin, as saying he wants to leave Britain, where he has been given political asylum, and move to Ukraine.

"Yes, I want to move to Kiev," Berezovsky told Interfax news agency.

"I don't want to do business in Kiev, I just want to live there."

In an interview with news Web site gazeta.ru, he said he was confident Ukraine's new leadership would not extradite him to Moscow, where he is wanted for fraud and embezzlement.(Full story)

CNN's Ryan Chilcote contributed to this report


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