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Last Updated: Monday, 27 October, 2003, 15:53 GMT
Russian press condemns tycoon's arrest
Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Press fears Khodorkovsky arrest could threaten foreign investments

The Russian press has sharply criticised the arrest of the giant Yukos oil company's chief executive, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for alleged fraud and tax evasion.

The papers say the affair will do long-term damage to President Vladimir Putin's prestige, the economy and Russian democracy as a whole.

A coup d'etat has taken place in Russia. The law-enforcement bodies have seized power. Everybody knew long in advance that the coup d'etat was on the cards. But the president has done nothing to prevent this coup... An obvious thing took place on Saturday: Mikhail Khodorkovskiy was deprived of freedom. But a less obvious thing took place too - President Putin lost power.

Novaya Gazeta - liberal weekly (article by Yuliya Latynina)

The instinct for political survival forces the authorities to select their own oligarchs... Their blatant goal is to move their own people closer to the source of wealth. There is a problem here, though: the old ones are sitting near this wealth and won't budge to make space. So they should be pushed!

Novaya Gazeta - liberal weekly (article by Pavel Voshchanov)

The arrest of the head of Yukos is a blatant declaration of war on civil society. As a result of this war, whatever its outcome, our country, economy, policy and social stability will suffer enormous damage... The most depressing thing is that this is irreversible... from now on a possibility of a sudden and arbitrary arrest will hang over each member of the elite.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta - heavyweight broadsheet (article by Yevgeniy Ikhlov)

Like the last straw that breaks the camel's back, this arrest signifies the most difficult and unnecessary crisis during Vladimir Putin's presidency... The major part of the elite will be loath to march in file under the supervision of the chief prosecutor, the interior ministry and the federal security service. If freedom is taken away from them, they will have nothing to do in Russia. And they will blame the president for this."

Moskovskiy Komsomolets - mass-circulation Moscow daily (article by Aleksandr Budberg)

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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