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moldova

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  MOLDOVA

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
33,843

Population
4,431,570

Principal
ethnic groups

Moldovans 64.5%
Ukrainians 13.8%
Russians 13.0%

Capital
Kishinev
(Chisinau)

Currency
Leu (plural: Lei)

President
Vladimir Voronin

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Background:
Formerly ruled by Romania, Moldova became part of the Soviet Union at the close of World War II. Although independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Nistru (Dnister) River supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic. One of the poorest nations in Europe and plagued by a moribund economy, in 2001 Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a communist as its president.

Update No: 256 - (23/04/02)

The political situation in Moldova is tense. Demonstrations and political murder are parts of the story.

Oppositions mounts
The communists have been back in power for a year and have been pushing for closer ties to Russia, even to joining the Belarus-Russia Union. This has aroused strong opposition, including rallies in Chisinau, protesting against Russia re-entering the school curriculum as a compulsory subject, which has been dropped.
The government, under President Vladimir Voronin, has declared demo's illegal, while it has been harassing the opposition figures, notably the leaders of the Popular Party Christian Democrats (PPCD), whom it wants to investigate, if not to arrest. Shades of Stalinism!

Political assassination
On March 21st one of the three top PPCD leaders, deputy head, Vlad Kubriakov, simply disappeared. The government immediately denounced this, but whether rogue elements in the security services were involved is unclear.
What is especially sinister is that Kubriakov was a member of the European Parliament, conferring immunity from investigation. Somebody wanted to get at him all the same. Voronin has instituted an enquiry - but to be conducted by the security services. Nothing is likely to come of it. A most murky tale.

Western wariness
The communists are backing down over any attempt to put the clock back, but only half-heartedly. In fact not enough to impress the IMF, which is refusing to cooperate. Moldova is likely to remain something of a run- down post-communist backwater.

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AVIATION

EBRD to buy Air Moldova stake

The Moldovian government has approved plans to sell a stake in national airline Air Moldova to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Interfax News Agency quoted the deputy head of the civil aviation administration, Yevgeny Dvornik, as saying. 
The EBRD is prepared to allocate US$3.6m for the purchase of a stake in the airline. Air Moldova Director General, Afanasy Yeshanu, said that, at the current stage of negotiations with the EBRD, Air Moldova is being valued and a plan is being developed for the implementation of the investment project. He reckons that the bank could end up with a stake of 20% to 25% in the airline. Air Moldova operates four aircraft at the moment: an Embraer 120, a Tu-134 and An-24, as well as an Embraer 140 leased from Dutch airline KLM. Germany's UniStar Ventures, which was set up and is financed by Dresdner Bank, owns 49% of Air Moldova and the government owns 51%.

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ENERGY

Moldovan starts getting cheaper power supplies from Russia, Ukraine


Russia started on 1st April supplying electricity to Moldova at the price of 2.35 cents per 1 kWh just according to schedule, Basapress News Agency has reported. 
The price is 13 per cent lower than the previous one. In parallel, Ukraine supplies electricity to Moldova, too. 
Energy Ministry officials told Basapress that the zone coefficient for electricity imports was established at 1.8 in peak hours and at 0.6 when consumption is minimal. 
The supply operator, Itera, has already signed contracts with power producers in Russia and Ukraine and accepted the removal of financial guarantees from its agreement with Moldova. Itera will cover 90 per cent of the needs of electricity for the North and Northwest power distribution grids (REDs) and 80 per cent during the winter. 

Moldovan government cancels ban on oil imports by lorry

The government has conceded after a long conflict with oil importers and removed the ban on the transportation of oil products from Romania and Ukraine by truck for a period of 9 months, Basapress News Agency has reported. The decision affects more than 100 container vehicles carrying petrol and diesel oil through the Leuseni and Palanca customs check points.
The ban has been the cause of protests of employers, unionists and drivers since October 2001, and the subject of court rulings. The Court of Appeal awarded victory to the importers, but did not order the cabinet to lift the ban, which pushed many small firms to the edge of bankruptcy. The 120 vehicles transport about 200,000 tonnes of high quality fuels yearly and the revenues from imports of oil products by truck amounted to 250m lei.

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