Monitor: World opinion on Russia's political turmoil

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The Independent Culture
IT TURNED out that President Yeltsin was not changing horses in mid-course, but changing parachutes during a jump - which, it goes without saying, is a risky matter.

Izvestia, Moscow

BORIS YELTSIN'S reappointment of a prime minister he fired only five months ago seems an act of desperation. When he cashiered Viktor Chernomyrdin in March, Mr Yeltsin derided the long-serving premier as a spent force. By returning this same politician to power now, the president will have convinced many of his countrymen that the same disparagement could be applied to him.

The Washington Post

RUSSIANS SICK of watching their country speed through crisis after crisis like a roller- coaster with ruined brakes had better brace themselves.

In firing the government, Yeltsin has forced Russia to retrace the same stretch of track it covered five months ago. He has developed a bad habit of firing staff members whenever one of them threatens to steal his limelight - and whenever he wishes to create the impression that he really is doing something about the economy.

Many passengers in the roller-coaster must be asking themselves if yet another downward spiral of political squabbling and economic chaos has begun.

Russia Today, Moscow

WHEN PRESIDENT Boris Yeltsin signed the decree appointing Viktor Chernomyrdin as prime minister, the ailing Russian leader could well have been playing out the last act of his remarkable political career. Giving Chernomyrdin unprecedented powers as the heir apparent could make for a more stable government but it will also slow attempts to take the fiscal measures needed to stabilise Russia's finances.

Moscow Times

WHILE HE may lack ideas on how to tackle Russia's never-ending problems, Mr Yeltsin is never slow when it comes to claiming it wasn't his fault.

But most Russians long ago stopped believing that the man at the top is not to blame. They now see him as a buffoon who has presided over the wholesale decline of the country.

South China Morning Post