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YUSHCHENKO RECEIVES COURAGE AWARD

Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko, the populist politician who survived dioxin poisoning while forcing out Ukraine's pro-Russian government last year, was bestowed Tuesday with this year's John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy praised Yushchenko's personal courage and said he has inspired those struggling for democracy across the globe.

The award, given in a ceremony in Boston, comes a little more than two months after Yushchenko took office riding the crest of a popular uprising during which masses of supporters camped out in the Ukrainian capital, claiming that a Kremlin-backed candidate stole a disputed election.

The government was forced to allow a second vote, which Yushchenko won.

After the election, Yushchenko claimed that the Russian-backed regime of his predecessor, Leonid Kuchma, had tried to assassinate him. Yushchenko suffered near-fatal poisoning during last fall's presidential election, which left his once-smooth face sallow and pocked.

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