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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 1,964 1,621 1,500 141
GNI per capita
 US $ 590 460 400 157
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Moldova


Area ( 


ethnic groups 
Moldovans 64.5%
Ukrainians 13.8%
Russians 13.0%


Leu (plural: Lei)

Vladimir Voronin

Update No: 301 - (30/01/06)

A historic predicament
The Moldovans are mighty glad for the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, which lies between themselves and mighty Russia. They feel protected by a large neighbour, now run by a friendly regime, looking, like themselves, westwards, indeed Westwards.
To their immediate west lies Romania, with which they have close linguistic, cultural and other historic ties. Romania also now looks Westwards, indeed, it aspires to join the EU next year.
In the 2001 elections a pro-Russian Communist party won the majority of seats in the Moldovan Parliament and appointed a Communist president, Vladimir Voronin. After a few years in power relationships between Moldova and Russia deteriorated over the Transnistrian conflict. In the following election, held in 2005, the Communist party made a 180-degree turn and was re-elected on a pro-Western platform, with Voronin re-elected to a second term as a president by parliament.
During the 2005 parliamentary elections the Russian Federation tried to influence the election process by intensively favourable coverage of pro-Russian candidates in the Russian mass media and by organizing meetings and agitation campaigns using the Russian CIS-EMO organization (so-called "Elections Monitoring Organization"), which is not recognized internationally as an independent election observer. This organization was proven to have poor records from the previous Kyrgyzstan election. 
As a response to the security threat, Moldovan authorities denied entry to the Republic of Moldova for the members of the CIS-EMO organization. Some who nonetheless made their way into the Republic were found distributing leaflets and actively participating in the election campaign, despite not having a valid Moldovan passport or any proof of Moldovan citizenship or any permission from the election authority. These members were consequently deported from the country. This action angered the Russian side. As a consequence, Russian-Moldovan ties greatly weakened, and the nation is split between building ties with the West or with Russia, its present predicament. 
The ethnic Moldovans look to the West; but the Russians in de facto independent Transnistria to Russia. The Moldovans would be well advised to let them go hang. They are a hopelessly corrupt lot, indeed a useless lot.

OSCE Ljubljana summit on Transnistria flops
The presidents of Moldova and Romania said after meeting in Bucharest that they were disappointed with the annual Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit regarding the Transnistria dispute, held on 5-6th December. 
The summit was expected to make progress in convincing Russia to withdraw its troops from Moldova's separatist region. But Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said he and Romanian President Traian Basescu were dissatisfied with the OSCE event. Both also criticized the election in the pro-Russian territory later in December, which its rogue of a president, Igor Smirnov, overwhelmingly won. 
Voronin expressed satisfaction that both the OSCE and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) decided to shun the poll. "We have also discussed tomorrow's so-called elections for Transnistira's so-called Supreme Soviet -- elections which are not being recognized by the OSCE," Voronin said. "I am happy that the executive body of the Commonwealth of Independent States, secretary [Vladimir] Rushailo, has declared that elections are not going to be monitored by them."
Voronin, speaking in Bucharest at a joint news conference with Basescu on December 10th, said the Ljubljana meeting failed for the third time to come up with a solution regarding the Russian troops' withdrawal from Moldova's separatist region. "First of all, we have discussed the results of the OSCE summit in Ljubljana," he said. "We are both very unsatisfied by the results of the summit, because for the third consecutive year, no decision has been made at the summit regarding the Transnistria problem."
Basescu, meanwhile, reiterated Romania's total support for Moldova's territorial integrity: "Our point of view regarding the Transnistria conflict is very clear: Chisinau must obtain political control on its whole territory, in accordance with the constitution of the Republic of Moldova."
However, Voronin expressed disappointment with the result of a newly launched European Union monitoring mission along Transnistria's border with Ukraine. The mission was launched on 30th November and aims to quell rampant arms, drugs and people's smuggling across Transnistria's border with Ukraine. 
Voronin said he's disappointed with the results so far: "We have been expecting very positive results [out of the EU monitoring mission on the border between Transnistria and Ukraine], but our initial information does not prove that such results can actually take place."

Romania to help Moldova counter Russia's gas weapon
Basescu and Voronin also discussed Russia's plans to phase out subsidized gas prices for ex-Soviet republics that are now independent countries and charge them international market prices, presaging the very event that startled the world on New Year's Day, when Russia slashed its gas supplies to Ukraine. 
The initial decision, announced by Russia's Gazprom on November 29th, was widely criticized as a means to pressure ex-Soviet states such as Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova who are seeking closer relations with the West.
In a commitment that must have gladdened Voronin's heart, Basescu said that the Romanian government is ready to offer Moldova gas and electricity in case prices charged by Russia rise excessively. "I reassured President Voronin that in case of any difficulties Moldova could face regarding an excessive rise in the price of natural gas and electricity, it should not hesitate to appeal to Bucharest for help," he said. "We will always be ready to support Moldova, no matter how big the difficulties."
Voronin was in Bucharest on a one-day visit. He and Basescu were later due to open the Moldovan Wine Festival in Bucharest. Romanians doubtless regard an eventual re-union of their country with Bessarabia as an inevitable and welcome development, even though it is not likely to happen.

EU urges Russia, Moldova to resume gas talks
This is not something the Kremlin wants to see happen, however. Ironically, the more Moldova develops its relations with Romania and Ukraine, the more reasonable the Russians are likely to be.

This is attested by an interesting report by Alexander Shishlo of RIA Novosti :- 
The European Union urged Russia and Moldova on January 10th to resume negotiations on supplies of Russian natural gas to the former Soviet republic. 
Against the backdrop of the recent culmination of a bitter gas dispute between Russia and neighbouring Ukraine, Austria, which is currently presiding over the EU, released a statement calling on both parties to resume bilateral talks to achieve a fair and mutually acceptable solution. 
Earlier, Sergei Kupriyanov, spokesman for the Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom, said the company expected to sign a contract on gas supplies with Moldova shortly, which surprised many observers. 
"A contract [on natural gas supplies] with Moldova for 2006 has not been signed yet, but the Moldovan side has assured us that all [related] issues will be coordinated soon, and the contract will be signed," he said, adding that Gazprom's proposed price of US$160 per 1,000 cu m was "economically justified." (Far more then the current Ukrainian compromise price).
On January 2nd, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin discussed by phone the situation around gas supplies from Russia with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko, who promised the Moldovan leader to help the country with gas supplies from Ukrainian reserves. 
Voronin said Gazprom's price was not a fair market price since Russia and Moldova jointly ran operator Moldovagaz, but said "the Moldovan government should continue negotiations with the Russian side.



Moldova to allocate US$10m for defence needs 

Moldova will allocate almost US$10 million for its military needs in 2006, Moldovan Defence Minister, Valeriu Plesca, said recently, RIA Novosti reported. 
"The government earmarked 126 million leus (about US$10 million) for military purposes in 2006, which is 8.8 per cent more than last year," the defence ministry's press service quoted the minister as saying. Plesca said the defence ministry would use the funds to modernise the country's air defence system.



GPRS roaming launched in Moldova 

The Moldova based GSM network operator, Moldcell, has launched, what it says is the first GPRS Roaming service in Moldova. Moldcell subscribers that have both Roaming and GPRS services activated have the opportunity to enjoy the GPRS Roaming Services, New Europe reproted.
The first bilateral operators on December 27th were Turkcell, Turkey, and Azercell, Azerbaijan. The usage of GPRS Roaming services doesn't require new settings for mobile phone. These will be available on the base of GPRS and MMS regular settings for Moldcell network.





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