Russian lawmakers sneer at Yuschenko proposal to set up tribunal on Soviet regime (Ukraine)

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Two members of Russia's State Duma, in interviews with Interfax, sneered at an initiative by Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko to set up an international tribunal to investigate alleged crimes by the Soviet regime and said he himself deserved being put on trial for "crimes against his own people."

Since I am convinced that it was the Americans who brought Yuschenko to power in order to ruin Russian-Ukrainian relations as much as possible, I see his initiative to set up an international tribunal as political death throes," said Alexei Ostrovsky, chairman of the Duma Committee on the Commonwealth of Independent States and Liaison with Compatriots.

"Descendants of present-day Ukrainians will set up another tribunal, one to investigate Yuschenko's crimes against his own people, whom he has brought to complete poverty for his five years of presidency," Ostrovsky said.

Another Duma deputy, Vladimir Kashin, deputy leader of the Communist Party, spoke in the same vein.

"Viktor Yuschenko, who is in his last days of presidency, should himself be put on trial for numerous crimes against his own people," Kashin told Interfax.

"Getting into a fever now that the presidential election is drawing near, Mr. Yuschenko, in the hope of earning extra points, either puts pressure on a court that has described the famine of the Ukrainian people in the USSR in the 30s of last century as 'genocide' or puts forward a strange proposal to set up an international tribunal to judge the former Soviet regime," Kashin said.

He called Yuschenko's tribunal initiative "a purely populist, public relations move aimed at winning over voters who hold nationalist positions and those who supported the Bandera movement [anti-Soviet guerrilla movement in western Ukraine in the 1940s led by Stepan Bandera] or even collaborated with the fascists."

"These feverish moves of the outgoing Ukrainian president aren't worth taking seriously," Kashin said. "All his so-called initiatives will sink into oblivion quite soon. But I am convinced that Mr. Yuschenko himself must be put on trial for driving his country into chaos and poverty and setting the Ukrainians and Russians against each other for his five years of presidency."

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