Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma told a press conference on April 5 that he is worried by the situation in Crimea, where feuding between rival parliamentary factions has paralyzed parliament and government for nearly a month. (Interfax-Ukraine, April 5) Kuchma hinted that Kiev’s patience is wearing thin. He said "concrete decisions" would soon be taken over Crimea and the port of Sevastopol. "If we don’t do this, someone else will," he said in an apparent reference to Russia. There has been speculation since the present crisis began that Kuchma would impose direct rule from Kiev. In a dig at the Ukrainian parliament, Kuchma said Crimea should serve as a warning to those who want to replace Ukraine’s presidency by a parliamentary republic. He did not mention that there was even more bitter feuding in the Crimean leadership in 1994 when Crimea experimented with presidential government. Then, as now, the conflict was caused not by the form of government but by intra-elite disputes for control of real estate.
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