Monitor: Reaction to Russia's economic meltdown and its global effect

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IN RUSSIA, nobody feels that dues must be paid: not the government and not the taxpayer. But until taxes are paid, Russia will go on from crisis to crisis. There is only one way: apply the law. But this requires cutting the link between politics, business and finance. Yeltsin has brought back Chernomyrdin, whose main political asset is immobilism. Someone else will have to establish a market economy where you pay your dues, or you go to jail.

Herald Tribune, Paris

THINGS ARE bound to get worse before they get better. It is highly unlikely that Chernomyrdin will be able to undo the damage of the last few weeks. The stock market looks set to keep sliding downhill, and price increases are almost certain to follow the devaluation. Moreover, the Kremlin's decision to deal with the latest round of financial woes by suspending some foreign debt payments for 90 days, as well as letting the rouble slide, is troubling. It adds to the impression that Russia is unstable and dangerous and its leaders untrustworthy.

St Petersburg Times, Russia

THESE MERRY-go-round politics have sent a ripple of panic through the West. The rouble's difficulties were echoed in the plight of other national currencies. The financial markets' fears of a Russian collapse have led to demands that the West stop bailing Russia out, and the Russians solve their own financial problems. It is a solution as blind as the panic that spawned it.

The Age, Australia

NOT A day passes without more monetary, financial or economic bad news. After Russia, which will be the next country to founder? One very dark scenario could be possible: a Latin American recession, which would horribly shake Wall Street and provoke mass panic and huge withdrawals in American households - what would happen then, nobody knows. Psychological phenomenon have taken on such importance in contemporary economics that turnaround can never be ruled out. The world economy is now in the hands of the markets. The Asia crisis hasn't led to the general ruin which some predicted. But it has taught us that economic matter has become explosive.

Le Monde, France

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