Boris Yeltsin's survival of an impeachment attempt relieved many in Asia on Sunday, although some said Russia's political and economic confusion prove it's time for the long-standing leader to step down.
In Japan, where reports of the failed impeachment were front page news, many people said change in Russia is impossible until Yeltsin leaves.
"The main cause of confusion in Russia right now is Yeltsin - a leader who is in weak health and does not have the power to give adequate guidance," an editorial in Japan's national Sankei Shimbun newspaper.
Others in Japan said they simply didn't like the Russian president.
"Yeltsin is far too concerned with maintaining his own power," said Yasunori Momose, a 52-year old university professor. "I don't like his attitude," he added.
On Saturday, Russian lawmakers rejected five impeachment charges against the president, any one of which could have led to Yeltsin's removal from office.
The motions accused Yeltsin of starting the 1994-96 war in Chechnya, destroying the Soviet Union, ruining the Russian military, causing deaths in a 1993 standoff with parliament and waging genocide on the Russian people by destroying the economy.
But some in Asia were relieved that Yeltsin will remain in office.
In Malaysia, where a meeting of finance ministers of the 21-member the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum was taking place, officials expressed renewed hope in the Russian government's ability to tackle domestic issues.
"The government can now work without obstacles," said Oleg Vyugin, Russia's deputy finance minister, adding that Russia would soon be able to pass the legislative reforms needed for aid from the International Monetary Fund,
The IMF has tentatively agreed to lend Russia $4.5 billion, but is waiting for parliament to pass a legislative package on economic policy before disbursing the first installment.
IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus said the IMF was ready to work with Russia's new government and offer financial help.
"Our line is absolutely crystal clear," Camdessus told reporters.
Meanwhile, word of Yeltsin's political survival made few waves in countries like Australia and the U.S., where politicians and the press regarded the impeachment vote as a purely domestic issue.
The White House said Russian lawmakers' decision Saturday against impeaching President Boris Yeltsin was "an internal matter."
"We respect their constitution, and we're looking forward to working with Russia's leaders," White House spokeswoman Julia Payne said in California, where President Clinton was on a fund-raising trip.