Books on Moldova
Leu (plural: Lei)
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
Update No: 280 - (29/04/04)
Moscow Fails To Name Troop Withdrawal Timing
President Vladimir Voronin heads the Communist Party of Moldova, which won an outright victory at the polls over two years ago in 2001, scoring just over 50%. Under the Moldovan constitution the president is elected by parliament, which duly chose Voronin.
He is popular, a paradoxical fact in what is now Europe's poorest country. He is deemed honest, something that was not thought to be true of any of his predecessors since independence in 1991.
The TransDnestr Bugbear
The evacuation of Russian troops from the breakaway province of TransDnestr was suspended at the end of 2003, after Voronin had refused to sign a document which he had himself initialled only several days earlier. He suddenly got cold feet at allowing his republic to fall totally under the spell of the Russians
The TransDnestr strongman Igor Smirnoff runs a state within the state. His regime is notoriously corrupt and only survives because of the presence of Russian troops. The province is de facto independent, a largely Russian ethnic enclave on the left bank of the river Dnestr.
Voronin have welcomed a plan proposed by Russia in November to resolve the dispute between Moldova and its secessionist region of Transdniester. It calls for Moldova to become a demilitarised federation in which Transdniester would have special status. The federation would recognize Russian and Romanian as official languages. The plan calls for the country to vote on a new constitution in October 2004.
Russia presented the plan on November 17th to Moldova and Transdniester and to fellow mediators Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Russian-speaking Transdniester declared independence from then-Soviet Moldova in 1990. Moldovan forces and separatists fought a short war in 1992 that ended when Russian troops imposed a truce.
The two sides have yet to reach an agreement on the status of the region, where some 2,500 Russian soldiers are still based.
University Diplomas To Be Written Out in Romanian and English
The Russians among the population dislike the cultural and linguistic ties that Moldova has with Romania. They fear absorption in a Greater Romania one day. This is not likely any time soon, Premier Adrian Nastase knows that he has enough on his plate already without taking on the Moldovan basket case of an economy.
Moves are made all the time to ameliorate relations with the Romanians, as with the wider world.
From now on, Moldovan universities will be writing out diplomas in Romanian and English in pursuance of a three languages policy. This is necessary for the continuation of education and for those seeking employment abroad, as many are."
Moldovans sacrifice 70,000-100,000 lambs for Easter
Moldova is continuing its old traditions for all that. Moldovans slaughtered between 70,000 and 100,000 lambs for Easter. A senior specialist at the National Institute of Economy and Information said that the data about the lambs was an indication that at least some people were doing reasonably well.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS
IMF puts Moldovan programme on hold
Moldova's economic reform has slowed down, and there have been setbacks in certain areas, Marta de Castello - Branco, deputy director of the IMF European II Department, summed up her week-long visit to Moldova. It would be premature to start talks with Moldova in these conditions, Castello-Branco said, Infotag News Agency reported.
The blueprint of the national strategy of economic growth and poverty reduction is a high quality document, Castello-Branco said. "However, we would not like it to be purely declarative and tell only of the cabinet's intentions to settle these issues. Specific measures should be taken to implement the strategy," Castello-Branco said.
The situation with state budget revenues has improved but the IMF is concerned that this has been achieved not through economic growth but at the expense of money coming from Moldovan citizens working abroad, she added. As a result, this money went not to finance economic development but to consumption.
Castello-Branco described as negative developments the remaining obstacles for the export of a number of goods, the cabinet's measures on monopolization, economically unjustified protection of some industries and [state] control over bread and wheat prices.
"In terms of law making, one could not describe as progressive the cabinet's decisions on the offshore duty, amendments to the law on oil products and on declaration of incomes by civil servants," Castello-Branco said. Such actions by the authorities do not contribute to the improving of business climate and the inflow of foreign investments, Castello-Branco said.
Castello-Branco believes that lowering the inflation rate which especially affects low-income people should be one of the cabinet's top priorities.
FOREIGN LOANS & AID
World Bank offers Moldova US$5m for rural investments
The World Bank will offer Moldova a US$5m loan to continue the implementation of the Rural Investments and Services Project, the Moldovan news agency, Basapress, reported on 5th April.
The negotiations on the loan were completed recently at the World Bank's headquarters in Washington, the agency added.
Japan to furnish 4th tranche for 2KR project
Moldova and Japan have signed an agreement on supplying the republic with the fourth tranche in the framework of the Japanese Grant Aid Project of the Increase of Food Production (2KR), einnews reported recently.
For this money - YEN 260m or US$2.4m equivalent - Moldova will obtain tractors. These machines will be purchased by the Japanese side through a tender, and will arrive in Moldova by the end of summer. The tractors will be given to local farmers on leasing terms, with 25% of the tractor price to be paid right away, and the remaining 75% - within 4 years. The 2KR Project has been under way since 2001. Moldova has already received 426 tractors (Massey Ferguson and MTZ-80 models) and 76 Sampo combine harvesters. To purchase them, the government of Japan provided three tranches - US$3.5m, US$2.3mand US$2.5m.
MINERALS & METALS
Moldovan steelworks sold to Austrian-Ukrainian company
The Austrian-Ukrainian company Hares Group has purchased a 90 per cent stake in the Moldovan metallurgy plant in Rabnita, from the international group of companies Itera and from other companies, Interfax-Ukraine News Agency reported.
Itera's press secretary, Yevgeniy Ostapov, said that 90 per cent of shares of the Moldovan metallurgy plant were put up for sale. Of them, 75 per cent belonged to Itera and 15 per cent to other shareholders.
Itera has decided to concentrate on the oil and gas business, searching for new deposits and supplying fuels, therefore all the other assets will be sold, Ostapov added. "Although our company provided the Moldovan metallurgy plant with natural gas, this was not our business," Ostapov said.
He said the sale of 90 per cent of shares of the Rabnita plant ended on 24th March. However, he did not provide any details about the price of the deal with Hares Group.
The main headquarters of the Hares Youssef Handels Ges.m.b.H is in Vienna
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