Russia 'very disturbed' by eurozone crisis: Medvedev

8th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday that Russia was very concerned about the sovereign debt crisis that is threatening to break up the eurozone, just hours before an EU summit.

"We are very disturbed by this issue because it affects the situation in the whole world and our country too," Medvedev said at a joint press conference in Prague with his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus.

Medvedev spoke as European Union leaders scrambled to find a last-minute deal to save the euro at a crucial summit for a debt-laden currency union.

"The euro problem is taking place in countries that are not similar in terms of economic development," Medvedev said. "The next few months will show what this will come down to."

Known for his strident euroscepticism, Klaus echoed the comments by his Russian counterpart, but warned that finding a solution would require a deep economic and political transformation of Europe.

"The problem is deeper than the euro as such, this is only the tip of the iceberg," Klaus said.

"There is a fundamental solution -- a deep transformation of the method of European integration and of the European political, social and economic systems."

Commenting on a wave of protests sweeping Moscow against alleged mass fraud in the recent parliamentary election, Medvedev urged parliament to convene.

"The main thing is to calm down and give the new parlaiemnt a chance to start working," Medvedev told reporters, as calls mounted for an election re-run amid the allegations of vote-rigging.

Around 1,000 people have been arrested in three days of protests in Moscow over the alleged rigging of the polls and organisers have vowed to stage a mass protest in the capital at the weekend.

While admitting the protests were "a manifestation of democracy", Medvedev warned people must "be obedient and not violate the law and the demands of the Russian government."

"I think people must be allowed to express their opinion, it's normal to want that, but that must not create problems in Moscow," he insisted.

Earlier Thursday freshly re-elected Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the United States of provoking the post-election protests that have posed a surprise challenge to his decade-long era of domination.

"They heard the signal and with the support of the US State Department started active work."

On Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton complained the weekend parliamentary election was neither free nor fair, a concern echoed by the last president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev who on Wednesday called for them to be re-run due to ballot rigging.

But Putin accused the West of funding Russian NGOs to the tune of "hundreds of millions of dollars" with the aim of questioning the validity of the elections.

Independent poll monitoring group Golos has said it was subjected to severe harassment by the authorities since the build-up to the elections, with its communications paralysed and its chief detained for hours.

© 2011 AFP

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