Monitor: Reaction to the continuing political crisis in Russia

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VIKTOR CHERNOMYRDIN may not be the ideal choice for prime minister, but at this moment of political and economic peril he would be better than the volatile vacuum of power that now exists. His rejection for a third and final time in the days ahead would most likely lead Yeltsin to dissolve Parliament and call new elections later this year. Given Yeltsin's unsteady leadership, Russia cannot afford more months of political paralysis. The Communists and their allies may be bluffing, since many members of Parliament fear the loss of their seats and the privileges that come with them. But unlike earlier confrontations with Yeltsin, this time the Communists may sense electoral advantage in the growing economic turmoil and Yeltsin's unpopularity. It would not be the first time that the Communist Party tried to exploit economic hardship for its own advantage. Lenin perfected the strategy in 1917.

The New York Times

YELTSIN'S NOTORIOUS duplicity means parliamentarians are aware of the need to have concrete measures in place before approving Chernomyrdin. To do otherwise would allow the president to cheat them again. If Yeltsin were willing to compromise with elected representatives, the route out of the crisis would be so much simpler.

Moscow Times

THE FAILURE on Monday of political leaders to take the first step towards halting the slide into greater economic crisis by agreeing on a new prime minister who could form a government which could begin to take control, has left Russians feeling dismayed and betrayed. Some of the hard-line Communists working to stop a government being formed are said to want a new revolution to return Russia to its Communist past. But few Russians appear to want that. Most simply want a government put in place which can begin dealing with the economic crisis before it becomes so bad that it destroys all the gains made since the fall of Communism. A break-up of Russia would be like the break-up of former Yugoslavia. But if this led to civil wars like those in Bosnia and Kosovo these would be civil wars with nuclear weapons. So it is not just the Russians who need a leader to emerge in Russia. So does the whole world.

Sydney Morning Herald