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Last Updated: Monday, 27 December, 2004, 17:15 GMT
Press savours Yushchenko win

Early press reactions to opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko's victory in Ukraine's presidential election show relief tinged with concern about relations with Russia, the country's traditional partner.

The opposition-leaning Kiev daily Gazeta po-Kiyevski is glad that Mr Yushchenko submitted to a re-run, rather than claim victory on the back of the massive street protests against his arch-rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

"Experience shows that if a president comes to power at the bidding of an obstreperous crowd, this offers carte blanche to another such crowd to depose this president and set up someone to replace him," it says.

"It seems Ukrainian society has grasped that a legally-elected president is worth ten who are placed on the 'throne' to satisfy the demands of revolutionary speeches," it concludes.

Cometh the hour?

The newspaper also interviews a poet, Oksana Zabuzhko, who believes Mr Yushchenko is the right man for Ukraine in its current situation.

"People used to say that nobody can deny Yushchenko is a good man, but being a good man is not a profession," she says.

"Now it turns out that this is just what our corrupt society needs - there are rare periods in history when this is all that is needed."

Orange rules

In Russia, there is acceptance that the opposition has prevailed - coupled with questions about the Kremlin's earlier support for Mr Yanukovych.

An article in the liberal daily Gazeta carries the simple headline: "The Revolution Won".

It notes the prevalence on the streets of Kiev of the colour orange - the symbol of Mr Yushchenko's campaign.

"Every third person in Kiev was wearing orange ribbons on election day," it observes.

"Almost all dummies in shop-windows had orange clothes on them, and orange scarves, ribbons and caps were sold at the entrance to every underground station."

Izvestiya carries an attack on Russia's perceived interference, headlined "Moscow spin doctors convinced nobody but the Russians".

"The only result of the massive interference in the Ukrainian election by Russian spin doctors is our images of the 'good guy Yanukovych' and 'Russia's enemy Yushchenko bought by the Americans', as well as a scornful attitude towards the latter's 'mercenary' and 'blockhead' supporters," it says.

The business daily Kommersant comments that Mr Yushchenko's victory "reflected the (Russian) power elite's inability to use its administrative resources" to influence the result.

Polish pride

Meanwhile, there is a glow of satisfaction in neighbouring Poland.

The orange revolution has raised high hopes that could now bring great disappointment
Trybuna (Poland)

"A happy day for Ukraine", declares the right-of-centre Zycie Warszawy.

"Viktor Yushchenko has won", it says, "and with him, democracy and the country's future".

Moreover, it adds, "everyone acknowledges that Poland played a big part in making sure there was a re-run of the second round".

But the left-of-centre Trybuna is more cautious, warning that winning the election in such a divided country will prove to have been the easy part.

"The orange revolution has raised high hopes that could now bring great disappointment," it fears.

"Ukraine will have to choose what road it takes into the future. The worst outcome would be to see the country divided in two."

Rzeczpospolita believes that "if Yushchenko is not docile enough, Moscow has dozens of means, political or economic, to persuade Ukrainians that their place is with Russia".

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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27 Dec 04 |  Europe


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