Ukraine press sees obstacles in Moscow ties

It is interesting to note that of all those questioned, who were in their 20s, pointed out their objection to Russia's imperial ambitions, whereas older Kyivans expressed themselves in a more concilatory fashion toward Russia. An exception was an 80 year old retired construction worker: It is impossible to do honest business with Moscow. Our relations should be friendly, but honest. Instead, they are stirring up trouble in southeastern Ukraine. Russian-speaking people living in Ukraine should respect the Ukrainian nation.

 Assurances that relations between Kyiv and Moscow are on an even keel during the current visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin have fallen on deaf ears in the Ukrainian press.

Newspapers across the political spectrum see bilateral ties as being strained despite the official rhetoric, with the issue of neighbouring Moldova remaining a particular bone of contention.

A commentator in the Ukrainian pro-government weekly Zerkalo Nedeli accuses Moscow of meddling in the recent elections in Moldova, won by the pro-Western Communist Party.

Moscow continues its attempts to actively influence developments Writer in Zerkalo Nedeli

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko "was on the opposite side of the political barricades to his Russian counterpart".

"Russia's active participation in the Moldovan elections has shown that Moscow continues its attempts to actively influence developments in the post-Soviet area," the commentator argues.

Mr Yushchenko's proposal on the eve of the Moldovan elections to revive the GUUAM group comprising five former Soviet states, "which has always been viewed in Moscow as an anti-Russian axis", was no coincidence, the writer believes.

A Moscow correspondent for the Ukrainian parliamentary newspaper Holos Ukrayiny also raises the Moldova issue, quoting a former ambassador to Russia as saying the question of Moldova's troubled Dniester region, where separatist violence led to hundreds of deaths in the 1990s, is unlikely to be easily resolved.

'Verge of collapse'

The correspondent quotes a former Russian premier as saying that if Kyiv were to block its border with Dniester, "Russia may raise the question of which country Crimea and Sevastopol should belong to", referring to the sensitive bilateral issue of the Black Sea region's status.

The pro-government Ukrayina Moloda believes the background to the Putin visit is "a serious weakening of the Russian position in the post-Soviet era".

The tension in relations has not subsided


It describes the organisation of former Soviet states set up by Moscow, the Commonwealth of Independent States, as "on the verge of collapse".

For the independent daily Den , the visit is "symbolic". "Hardly anybody expects major results from Putin's visit."

"Viktor Yushchenko's visit to Moscow immediately after his inauguration was hardly successful."

"Two months have passed, but the tension in relations has not subsided," Den adds.

BBC Monitoring
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/03/20