Books on Moldova
Leu (plural: Lei)
Update No: 302 - (27/02/06)
Premature absolution for the powerful
It is indicative of the shall-one-say pre-modern political style in former
Soviet lands that immunity from criminal prosecution is a much-valued privilege
of those in power. No member of the Russian Duma can be charged with a criminal
offence, rather a strong inducement, one would have thought, for the criminally
minded to join up with the pro-regime minded.
Moldova's ruling Communist Party on February 13th submitted a draft law that
grants lifelong immunity to the president of the country. "The initiative
necessitates changes to the law on the presidency and envisages immunity only
for actions carried out while in office," one of the authors of the draft
law, former parliament deputy speaker, Vadim Mishin, told journalists.
It is all right to perpetrate malfeasances so long as one is in office; that
seems to be the upshot of the argument. He said the new rules would apply
"not only to incumbent head of state Vladimir Voronin, but also to all
presidents after him."
"In a democratic and rule-of-law state it is quite natural for those who
held the office of president to have immunity because this job presupposes a
certain amount of risk," Mishin said. Very perspicaciously put.
These are not the first such amendments to legislation regulating the status of
the head of state. In 2001, the ruling Community Party deprived former
Presidents Petru Lucinschi and Mircea Snegur of the right to use
government-provided cars and of some other privileges. So there is a downside to
being a post-political power broker after all. The new law, if adopted, will not
give them lifelong immunity because it cannot be applied retroactively.
The prehensile rebels
Actually, the real crooks in Moldova are in the breakaway province of
Transnistria. Moldova cannot accept the idea of forming a federation with
Transnistria, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin told the radio channel Echo
Moskvy in a recent interview. "If a federation is formed Moldova will
automatically recognize Transnistria as a subject of the federation, but there
is no guarantee it will not declare its total independence the second day,"
Mr Voronin said.
All the negotiations regarding the status of Transnistria come up against
material interests, although the Moldovan law offers Transnistria the largest
rights, the head of state said.
A conflict of interests lays at the core of the Transnistrian issue, Mr Voronin
said. Billions of dollars are annually laundered in the region by means of a
criminal grouping created by Transnistrian structures. These structures have
branches in Chisinau, Kiev and Moscow, and many of those that at present are
part of the Ukrainian leadership and other institutions from Ukraine are
beneficiaries of these services. That is why Ukraine delays the introduction of
the new rules concerning customs control at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, the
Moldovan President said.
At the same time, the head of state voiced confidence that together with Mr
Yushchenko he could solve the issue, because Ukraine, that wants to join NATO
and the EU, is interested in solving the Transnistrian conflict.
Voronin made public his intention to meet in the shortest time Russian President
Vladimir Putin and reach an agreement.
Putin told a meeting with the foreign diplomatic body accredited to Moscow that
"the present Moldovan-Russian relations lack the feeling of trust and
friendship, a feeling that has been typical of the Moldovan and Russian peoples
EU sends expert to help Moldova on energy security
The European Union recently said it was ready to provide advice on energy
security issues to Moldova following the country's recent dispute over natural
gas prices with Russia's Gazprom, Deutsche-Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
A spokeswoman for the European Commission said an EU expert would visit Moldova
to discuss energy problems as well as ways of bringing the former Soviet
republic into an energy treaty linking 34 nations in east and west Europe.
Commission Spokeswoman, Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, said the EU welcomed the
resolution of the gas price dispute between Moldova and Gazprom, which cut off
gas supplies to Moldova and Ukraine at the start of the year. "We will
continue to follow developments very closely," she said but insisted that
the EU did not intend to get involved in any discussions between Moldova and the
Russian gas giant. "We consider the negotiations between Moldova and Russia
are bilateral and it would not be appropriate for us to get directly
involved," the spokeswoman told reporters. The Commission's comments follow
reports that Moldova has reached a four-month deal to buy gas from Gazprom.
Natural gas supplies to the country were cut off on January 1st by Gazprom after
Moldova rejected a price rise. Moldova joined Ukraine earlier this year in
calling for EU help in negotiations on gas deliveries and pricing from Russia.
Voronin seeks warmer Moldovan-Russian relations
Moldovan President, Vladimir Voronin, has expressed his hope that
"warmness and mutual confidence in relations with Russia will be restored
in 2006," the Moldovan presidential press service told Interfax News
"Domestic political developments explain European choice to the same extent
as friendship and strategic partnership with Russia define the future of our
country. I think that Moldovan politicians should treat this partnership as a
promising road on which one will no longer stumble, rather than merely a
tradition," the president said. Playing games with Russia is not a path we
wish to pursue and remains a road for politicians left far away from reality, he
said. The Moldovan president devoted the last part of his speech to relations
with Russia, speaking about "cooperation with all countries and regions of