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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 December, 2004, 12:19 GMT
Putin sees Western poll intrigues
Vladimir Putin
Putin said Poland should focus on its own problems
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of applying "double standards" in elections, including Ukraine's presidential poll.

Referring to Ukraine, he voiced concern about "attempts to solve political issues illegally" and about "a desire to isolate the Russian Federation".

He said he would ask President George Bush to clarify the US position on Russia's ties with its neighbours.

He also poured scorn on the elections in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Iraq.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Mr Putin said: "Now there's an election in Iraq but the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) has said they will be verified from Jordan - isn't that a farce?"

The year was far from easy, not only for our country, but for the world as a whole
Vladimir Putin

Mr Putin expressed anger at Western "double standards" over Kosovo and Latvia, saying the democratic rights of Serbs and Russians were being ignored.

Mr Putin backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine's election, whose official victory was declared fraudulent by the opposition and the country's supreme court.

He condemned the role of Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, who was quoted as saying "Russia without Ukraine is better than Russia with Ukraine".

Revolutionary colours

Mr Putin said Mr Kwasniewski, who had mediated in the Ukraine election crisis, was talking like a person looking for a new job.

"If we interpret this [statement by Kwasniewski] as striving to limit Russia's ability to develop relations with its neighbours, then it means a desire to isolate the Russian Federation," he said.

He said he hoped isolating Russia was not the goal of US policy.

"If it's indeed so, then the position on Chechnya is becoming more understandable. That means that there, as well, a policy aimed at creating elements that would destabilise the Russian Federation is being conducted," he added.

In a scornful reference to the revolutionary symbols in Georgia and Ukraine, Mr Putin said he was against "permanent rose or sky blue revolutions". In Russian, the words "rose" and "sky blue" are also slang for "gays".

The overthrow of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze in November 2003 was dubbed the "Rose Revolution," while Ukraine's has been nicknamed the "Orange Revolution".

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