[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 12:18 GMT
Ukraine press gloomy on cabinet sacking
Ukrainian press

Ukrainian papers are predicting doom and gloom following the unexpected sacking of the cabinet triggered by the gas row with Russia.

Pro-government dailies lament the political instability in the run-up to the March parliamentary election and the weakening of Kiev's positions in the continuing gas talks.

Opposition-leaning papers, meanwhile, fear that the president may be tempted to take drastic action against parliament.

The petty nature of this move by parliamentary has-beens is obvious
Gazeta po-Kievski

"Looking for some deep meaning in parliament's decision yesterday is as dangerous as diving in shallow waters - you expect some depth but instead break your neck," fumes the popular tabloid Gazeta po-Kievski.

"The petty nature of this move by the parliamentary has-beens is obvious, considering that they cannot really replace the cabinet. The oppositionists simply could not deny themselves the little spoilsport pleasure of giving cabinet ministers the 'acting' prefix."

The pro-government Ukrayina Moloda echoes the sentiment. "MPs have proved that whenever they want to demonstrate their strength, need some money or have some other suitable reason, they will be able to sack the government almost every day if they care to," the daily says.

A commentator for the popular independent web site Ukrayinska Pravda says criticism of the gas deal with Russia is unfair.

"The gas agreements reached by the Ukrainians in Moscow would strengthen the positions of any eastern European government. But with the election looming, Ukraine is living under different rules," the commentator says.

Under Moscow's eye

Several papers agree that parliament has dealt the Ukrainian negotiators a severe blow at a time when they are trying to hammer out a long-term gas deal with Moscow.

"The gas front may throw up new problems, just when Ukraine seemed to achieve a lull in the fighting," says Gazeta po-Kievski.

"Russia is carefully watching the political infighting in Kiev. According to our MPs, new gas talks should be started from scratch. But who is to lead those talks now from the Ukrainian side?"

"Ukraine lost on 10 January - the position of its executive has been weakened, and there is little hope for a breakthrough any time soon," agrees Ukrayinska Pravda. "That is exactly what Vladimir Putin's team wanted."

The pro-opposition Segodnya, meanwhile, draws gloomy parallels with the stand-off between the Russian president and parliament in 1993.

When Boris Yeltsin shut down a hostile parliament by his decree, things ended with the parliament building coming under fire and the adoption of a new constitution

It says those backing the president are claiming the sacking of the cabinet is illegal, and "Yushchenko's party has demanded the introduction of direct presidential rule".

"Yushchenko himself has said the dissolution of parliament is possible," Segodnya goes on, referring to a statement later retracted by the presidential press service.

It concludes: "In 1993 in Moscow, when Boris Yeltsin shut down a hostile parliament by his decree, things ended with the parliament building coming under fire and the adoption of a new constitution, which drastically increased presidential powers."

Ukrayina Moloda argues though that the continuing political instability is the price of democracy.

"The former president and his allies could corral MPs into a docile majority in less than a day. Our new president was in Kazakhstan during the sacking of the cabinet, greeting his Asian counterpart Nazarbayev's re-election. That's democracy for you."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

Country profile: Ukraine
02 Mar 05 |  Country profiles
The press in Ukraine
07 Feb 05 |  Europe
Q&A: Ukraine government crisis
10 Jan 06 |  Business
Ukrainian cabinet in gas crisis
10 Jan 06 |  Europe
Ukraine's PM to defend gas deal
10 Jan 06 |  Europe

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific