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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 13:31 GMT
Press sees Moscow hand in Ukraine crisis
Ukrainian protesters resting
The unrest shows no sign of abating

With no clear signs emerging of a definitive solution to the political stand-off in Ukraine, newspapers there and in its powerful neighbour, Russia, are engaged in intense debate over the crisis.

A leading independent daily in Ukraine blames both sides for exacerbating the crisis, and there is criticism in the press of Moscow for its perceived role.

In Russia, one leading paper believes that Moscow might be forced to intervene if the situation deteriorates.

Another ups the ante by speculating that Mr Yushchenko might be suffering from leprosy, which it fears could put regional security in jeopardy.

Who is to blame for the fact that the situation in our society has reached the critical point of a social explosion? It seems that both the authorities and the opposition are to blame, although the authorities are most to blame... It has to be said that while the authorities paid no attention to the people's demands, the opposition hastily declared their candidate as president, ignoring legal procedures. You have to abide by the law even if you are sure your opponents do not.

Ukraine independent daily Den

Everybody understands that this cannot go on for much longer. The authorities are retreating eastwards and dragging things out. Kuchma is depressed, he does not know how to pull Ukraine out of the crisis he and his entourage provoked.

Nobody doubts today that Mr Kuchma co-authored and co-produced the separatist idea. There is no doubt either that "assistant producers" of this show sit in Russia's highest offices. The question is different now: is the situation developing according to Kuchma's scenario?

Ukraine opposition daily Ukrayina Moloda

With their typical arrogance, the Russians are trying not to show their admiration for what is going on here and what ended in their country a long time ago. When the people speaks its mind and, most importantly, the authorities listen, this is called democracy

Ukraine economic weekly Invest Gazeta

The events in Ukraine have delivered a powerful blow to Russian President Putin's reputation. He must have been convinced that his support would be quite enough for Ukrainian citizens to elect anyone. But there is a limit to what spin doctors and the Russian president's authority can do.

Ukraine pro-opposition tabloid Vecherniye Vesti

Increasing tension and mass psychosis in Ukraine, as well as political diktat are the trump cards which Viktor Yushchenko's team is using to seize power. But ultimatums are seen as a sign of weakness in politics. Mass blackouts and limited power supplies - Ukraine had to go through this several years ago. Are they going to plunge Ukraine into darkness again?

Pro-government tabloid Kiyevskiye Vedomosti

Despite some hasty conclusions, a Yushchenko presidency is not a solution either. Even if eastern Ukraine does not rise up in rebellion immediately, it will do so before long as a reaction to Yushchenko's policies. And Russia will again be forced to intervene, but in far worse circumstances. It is important, as a worst-case scenario, to give every possible support to the pro-Russian regions - eastern Ukraine and Crimea. War must be avoided while this is still possible. But after a certain critical point is reached, the only option is a war which has to be won.

Russia's Izvestiya

It is virtually clear already that no verdict by the court on the elections is likely to resolve the political crisis in Ukraine. Passions are already running too high and the gulf between the opposing forces is too immense.

Comment in Russia's Krasnaya Zvezda

Only the Central Electoral Commission, and not parliament, is entitled to determine the results of the voting. Any other position - no matter how well-meaning - plays into the hands of pro-American forces in Ukraine.

Comment in Russia's Communist Party daily Pravda

In September the opposition's presidential candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, was struck down by a strange illness, the consequences of which have manifestly affected his face, disfiguring his features. Yushchenko's supporters even claimed he had been deliberately poisoned. An e-mail to us raises another, extremely serious aspect of this problem which we feel unable to ignore. The author of the e-mail says Viktor Yushchenko is probably suffering from leprosy, an extremely dangerous disease. If this is acknowledged, then it raises the question not just of Yushchenko's health, but also the security of countless people, including national security - and not only of Ukraine.

Article in Russia's Sovetskaya Rossiya

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.

The press in Ukraine
18 May 04 |  Europe
The press in Russia
21 Sep 04 |  Europe

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