Books on Moldova
Leu (plural: Lei)
Update No: 288 - (01/01/05)
Moldova says Russian military presence illegitimate
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has described as humiliating Russia's
presence in Moldova. "What could be the reason for preserving Russia's
presence in Moldova, especially taking into account its symbolic scale? Are we
capable of being friends with Moscow only under the threat of a thousand of
Russian gunmen? Or maybe these soldiers are resolving Russia's global strategic
tasks in the Balkans?" Voronin said at a recent congress of the Moldovan
Party of Communists that he leads.
"This military presence is insulting our people and our neutral state,
which sincerely believes in friendship and strategic partnership with Russia
without military mediation and without humiliating ultimatums," he said.
"This is why we did not sign a memorandum [a Russian plan for settling the
conflict over Transdniestria], which would have extended Russia's military
presence for another 20 years. We believe Moldova cannot and must not aid and
abet in concealing the real amount of armaments that are being kept in
Transdniestria," Voronin said.
He described the Russian troops in Transdniesrtia as "the last shield for
the separatists." The self-proclaimed Transdniestrian republic is seeking
independence from Moldova, part of which it was before the collapse of the USSR.
The Moldovan Foreign Ministry has issued a statement calling the limited Russian
military presence on Moldova's territory unfounded and illegitimate. The
statement was circulated following a comment by the Russian Foreign Ministry,
which was described in Chisinau as a "gross interference in the internal
affairs of Moldova." "The Russian Foreign Ministry's comment does not
answer the question concerning the legitimacy of the presence of a limited
Russian troop contingent on the Moldovan territory," the statement says.
Addressing OSCE foreign ministers in Sofia on December 6, Moldovan Foreign
Minister Andrei Stratan described the Russian military presence in Moldova as
"occupation" and Moldova as its "victim".
On December 15 the Russian Foreign Ministry circulated a comment saying that
"such interpretation of the real state of affairs can't be assessed other
than absurd, irresponsible and obviously unfriendly."
International organized crime obstructs Transdniestria settlement - Voronin
Voronin has suggested that the conflict over Transdniestria has still not been
settled because of a corruptive complicity among some of the former and current
Moldovan and Transdniestrian government officials and international organized
crime. Speaking at the congress of the Moldovan Party of Communists that he
leads, Voronin called the Transdniestria conflict "the main issue of
Moldova's statehood," adding that this is "not a conflict between
public interests of the residents of the left and right banks of the Dniester
Recalling events that predetermined the Transdniestria conflict, Voronin said
that Chisinau and Tiraspol "launched a cynical game" in the early
1990s, which led to "a protracted bloody drama."
As a result, "a criminal economic scheme" has been set up, which
"would draw no less eager interest of international organized crime even if
Transdniestria would be three square meters in size," he said.
Voronin harshly criticized Moldovan opposition, saying that it "fiercely
condemns Chisinau steps aimed at isolating that pirate enclave."
"Attempts have been made to shield large money with large state interests
of large countries, although in reality the Transdniestria settlement should be
handled not by diplomats in a five-sided format but by prosecutors from Russia,
Moldova, and Ukraine, with Interpol engaged," he said.
The history of the problem
Transdniestria -- populated mainly by Russian speakers -- unilaterally
declared independence from the rest of Moldova, which is mainly
Romanian-speaking, in 1990. Russian forces were forced to intervene in the
region in 1992 after fighting between the opposing sides left hundreds dead. It
effectively broke away from Moldova after a 1992 war that left more than 1,500
dead before ending in a truce.
Reunification talks between Moldova and the rebel province have been suspended
since July, when separatists closed two Moldovan-language schools in the region.
One of the schools has since been reopened, but Moldova's President Vladimir
Voronin is refusing to continue direct talks with separatist leader Igor
Smirnov. Moldova said on September 30th that it was fed up with trying to end
its long-running territorial squabble with Transdniestr by dealing directly with
the separatist region and instead wanted the United States and the European
Union to step in.
Trans-Dniester is not recognized anywhere internationally, but receives support
from Russia. Moldova has opposed restarting negotiations with Trans-Dniester in
the current format, with the talks mediated by Russia, Ukraine and the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Moldova is unhappy that
Russia and Ukraine often side with the separatists, and wants more European
involvement in the settlement talks.
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said that henceforth there would be no more
negotiations with the separatist authorities because talks between the two have
got nowhere. "Negotiations have been unsatisfactory and counterproductive;
while Moldova applies the terms of the agreements signed, Transdniestr ignores
them in 99 % of cases," he said.
"Negotiations between the five (Moldova, Transdniestr, Russia, Ukraine and
the pan-European Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) have been
going on for 12 years now, but nothing has come out of them," said Voronin,
adding that he wanted greater involvement by the EU and the United States to
find a solution.
Stepping into the breach, Pierferdinando Casini. Italy's Chamber of Deputies,
said on November 5th, at a meeting with his counterpart in Moldova, Eugenia
Ostapciuc, that the EU considers "the Trans-Dniester conflict as a possible
threat to the stability of the region and to international security.We are
concerned by the halting of talks and the recent escalation of tensions between
the two sides." Italy would act as Moldova's advocate to help the former
Soviet country in its European integration.
The EU's new ambassador in Moldova echoed Casini's comments. "The EU wants
to play a more active role in the settlement of the conflict," said Ian
Boag, after meeting with President Vladimir Voronin. Boag added that the EU and
Russia can discuss the Trans-Dniester conflict without getting into a
But the US and the EU are unlikely to make any progress with the embattled
and retrograde leadership in Transdniestr. "Unification with Moldova is out
of the question after Chisinau has refused to form a federation with the
Dniester region," Dniester regional leader Igor Smirnov said at an
international scientific conference in Tiraspol. The conference was dedicated to
the 80th anniversary of the Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
He said Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin had resiled from his own
federalization idea "under the pressure of the United States, the European
Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)."
Smirnov called for holding a referendum, in which residents of the Dniester
region will decide on their future. "International observers must watch the
plebiscite, so that its results become a law for us and the international
community, primarily in the person of the United State, the European Union and
the OSCE," Smirnov said.
Meanwhile, Voronin has again criticized the Moldovan opposition and called it
"the fifth column of the Dniester region." "There are forces
inside and outside Moldova, which do not want the existence of the independent
Moldovan state," he said at another conference marking the 80th anniversary
of the Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
The Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was established within Ukraine
in 1924 and existed till the establishment of the Moldovan Soviet Socialist
Republic on August 2, 1940. After the disintegration of the former Soviet Union,
nationalist parties, which took office in Chisinau, proclaimed the policy of
unification with Romania. In response Tiraspol established its own state, which
triggered an armed conflict.
FOOD & DRINK
Efes to finance Moldovan brewer
Efes Breweries International has plans to invest US$10m into its Moldovan
subsidiary Efes Vitanta Moldova Breweries in 2005, New Europe reported recently.
Vitanta's Director General Yakov Tikhman said the investment improves on the
US$7m invested in 2003-2004. Efes Vitanta saw sales of US$25m in 2003. Tikhman
said sales were expected to reach to increase 20% in 2004.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS
Moldovan president, Bulgarian Speaker discuss bilateral ties
The development of trade and economic relations between Bulgaria and Moldova and
the European integration were the main topics of talks between the Bulgarian
National Assembly Chairman, Ognyan Gerdzhikov, and Moldovan President, Vladimir
Voronin, Gerdzhikov said recently, BTA web site reported.
Trade and economic relations are important as there is no sense in good
political relations, if they are not followed by trade and economy, Gerdzhikov
added. In 1997 the trade between the two countries exceeded US$100m, while
currently it stood at some US$20m, which according to him is unacceptable.
President Voronin expressed the categorical determination that Moldova will
follow the steps of Bulgaria for integration in Europe, the National Assembly
chairman said. Commenting on the request of the Bulgarian community in Moldova
for a simplified Bulgarian citizenship procedure, Gerdzhikov said that experts
are preparing documents on the exact formula for obtaining citizenship.
The Bulgarian ambassador to Moldova, Evgenii Ekov, said that the number of
Bulgarian citizenship applications increased after Moldova amended its
constitution and six laws to permit dual citizenship. A total of 820
applications have been received in 2004 so far, and half of them are from
Bulgarians living in the Transdniestr, he added. According to him, 99 per cent
of the candidates receive Bulgarian citizenship.
Taraclia State University has been commissioned with the responsible but noble
mission to develop cultural relations between the peoples of Bulgaria and
Moldova, to throw bridges not only between the territories of two friendly
states, but between past and future as well, Gerdzhikov said, as he addressed
the lecturers and students of the higher educational establishment.
More than 18,000 Bulgarians live in the Taraclia region. They are descendants of
Bulgarians from northeastern Bulgaria who migrated there at the end of the 18th
and the beginning of the 19th century. The living of more than half of the
90,000 Bulgarians who live in Moldova is related to agriculture. Mostly tobacco
and vines are grown in Bulgarian villages. The Bulgarian parliamentary
delegation also visited the Bulgarian village of Korten.
Refinement to phone service under way in Moldova
The national fixed-line operator Moldtelecom recently started providing access
services to the Dniestr fixed-line telephone network through IP-telephony,
Moldtelecom officials said, Infotag news agency reported.
Access to the fixed-line telephone network of Interdnestrcom [the only company
which provides fixed-line and mobile telephone services to the CDMA standard in
Dniestr region] is possible through two methods: the one-to-one cards for
IP-telephony and the IP VIP Call telephone service.
The fixed-line telephone connection between Moldova and Dniestr region has
continued to be blocked since September 2003. [Since then, Dniestr residents can
call to Moldova through a third operator, while Moldovan residents have no
possibility of calling Dniestr region.]
Moldova to invest in new railway
The Moldovan government will build a railway section that will ensure railway
transportation with the country's southern regions bypassing Transnistria, RBC
The railway will bypass the Bendery station that has been controlled by
Transnistrian military authorities since the beginning of September 2004, the
press service of the Moldovan government told RBC. US$22m was allocated for the
implementation of this project from the Moldovan budget. The construction is
expected to be completed by December 1st, 2005.