Books on Moldova
Leu (plural: Lei)
Update No: 297 - (29/09/05)
Ukraine, Moldova seek free poll in rebel region
Ukraine and Moldova asked Europe's biggest security and rights watchdog on
September 21st to oversee a free election in Moldova's breakaway Dnestr region,
run by hardline separatists with no international recognition.
Presidents Viktor Yushchenko and Vladimir Voronin said they had sent a letter to
the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to stage a poll
as part of a plan to break the deadlock in the conflict over the region.
"We signed a letter to the OSCE asking to create an international
commission to oversee preparations for and the staging of a democratic election
in Dnestr," Voronin told a joint news conference. "This is a very
important political development. It must either be fully carried out by the end
of the year or at least be underway in terms of implementation."
Dnestr's Slav leaders are dismissed as illegitimate by the international
community, but have some links with conservative politicians in Russia. They
have called a December parliamentary election and invited international
observers to their self-styled republic on the Ukrainian border. That poll is
almost certain to be ignored.
The OSCE has already said it backs a free, fair election -- part of a peace plan
proposed by Yushchenko's liberal administration.
Dnestr broke away in 1990 when Moldova was still a Soviet republic on grounds
that its Romanian-speaking majority might opt one day to join Romania to the
west. Russian troops intervened to end a brief war between the two sides in 1992
and have remained, despite promises to leave. Moldova and Romania briefly
considered unification of some sort in the 1990s but both have long ruled out
any such notion.
Voronin, the only Communist Party leader in the former Soviet Union, accuses
Moscow of blocking a settlement and now says he wants one day to join the
European Union after earlier calling for closer ties with Russia. He said the
timing of an internationally-recognised vote would be up to the OSCE commission
"once it determines that the Dnestr region is able to hold the election
under the European principles upheld by the OSCE."
Moldova's parliament has called for Russia to withdraw its troops by the end of
the year. Voronin and Yushchenko accuse Dnestr's leaders of large-scale
smuggling and have enlisted the European Union to help patrol the border with
Talks on Transdnestr settlement conclude in Ukraine
Russia presented a wide range of proposals to address the situation in
Transdnestr during talks that ended on September 27th in the Ukrainian Black Sea
city of Odessa, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported the same day.
The two-day round of talks involved delegations from Moldova and Transdnestr,
along with mediators (Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE). The talks ended
Involvement of EU, US in next round of Transdnestr talks
"The parties have agreed to resume talks on the Transdnestr settlement,
with the next round to be held in Chisinau [Moldovan capital] and Tiraspol [Transdnestr
capital] on October 27th-28th," the statement said.
The really positive development is that the United States and the European Union
are expected to join the talks in October, RIA Novosti reported.
The Moldovan head of state was on an official visit to Romania just beforehand.
Voronin and his Romanian counterpart Basescu gave a joint press conference in
the Romanian northern city of Iasi. "EU and USA have to attend the talks on
the statute of Transdnestr. Otherwise, Moldova might refuse to participate in
the talks", Vladimir Voronin had said.
Moldovan separatist leader welcomes US and EU involvement in settlement
What is promising is that the leader of Transdnetr, Igor Smirnov, said
involvement of the US and the EU in settlement talks in his province might have
a beneficial effect, the state news agency reported Sept. 25th.
It looks increasingly likely that the US and the EU may play some role in
resolving the long-running conflict, as Russia said recently that it was not
opposed to the two taking part as observers.
In a report carried on the official Olvia-Pres news agency on Sept. 25, Smirnov,
leader of separatist Trans-Dniester since 1992, said he would welcome the
involvement of the two. "They have a considerable experience in resolving
regional conflicts, such as the Serbian and Montenegrin confederation, or the
proposals for Cyprus and Kosovo," Smirnov was quoted as saying - his first
public comments welcoming the participation of the two Western partners.
The irony about Moldova is that it is the only European country to have a
genuine communist party in charge, which came about in a generally fair
electoral process, according to international observers. Yet it is at
loggerheads with the Putin Kremlin, so nostalgic for the former USSR, over the
Moldova's ruling Communist Party won a parliamentary majority several months ago
in March 6th's national elections with 46.1 percent of the vote. The centrist
opposition Bloc for Democratic Moldova took 28.4 percent, while the Popular
Christian Democratic Party won 9.7 percent.
The Patria Rodina electoral bloc was next (4.95%), followed by the Social
Democratic Party of Moldova (2.92%), the social-political movement Ravnopravie
(2.89%), the Democratic-Christian Peasant's Party (1.38%), and the Party of
Social-Economic Justice of Moldova (1.67%).
Only the first three parties managed to garner enough votes to enter the
101-member parliament. A party must get six percent of the vote to win seats in
The Communist Party, under President Vladimir Voronin, obtained 57 seats, four
short of the 61 -- three-fifths of the seats - needed to re-elect the president
outright. A total of 11 independent candidates and nine political parties
contested the parliamentary poll. About 2.4 million Moldovans were eligible to
vote and the turnout was 63.7 percent.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which monitored
the election was reported by the AFP news agency as saying on March 7th that
despite some flaws, it was generally well-run. The election was "generally
in compliance with most OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and other
international election standards," Kimmo Kiljunen, head of the OSCE's
mission of observers, was quoted as saying. Some 770 foreign observers monitored
Russia Introduces Sanctions against President of Moldova
Russia's Federal Customs Service stopped releasing documentary excise stamps
to importers of Moldova's alcohol. This move signals, the analysts say, that the
undeclared war of the Kremlin against intractable President Voronin has
escalated, reports www.kommersant.com. It is rather an ominous development ahead
of the late October talks on Transdnestr.
First rumours about a delayed release of documentary stamps were in the air in
late September. "We have had no documentary stamps from Russia for a week
already," said Igor Pantya, director of Moldova's Zurbeni vin winery.
"I think we have stamps for a few days more. Then, we will stop the
enterprise. Our entire product goes to Russia, so the work won't make
Nearly all alcohol producers in Moldova face similar problems, as 85 percent of
Moldova's wine is exported to Russia. Now the stock taking for all available
stamps is under way, said Georgy Kozuba, head of Moldova's Union of Wine
Exporters. "If the Russian Federal Tax Service doesn't resume releasing the
stamps, we all will be on the verge of bankruptcy," Kozuba specified.
"The stamp release has not been stopped but become more balanced,"
said Pyotr Kanygin, CEO at Vinny Mir (Wine World) Holding, adding the Federal
Tax Service doesn't release stamps to all importers of CIS as the new stamps are
introduced from July 1, 2006 and some companies have applied for 50 million to
100 million stamps all of a sudden. But Kanygin's supposition finds no proof on
the market. For instance, the big importers of Ukrainian vodka - Nemiroff and
Soyuz-Viktan -have no problems with excise stamps.
Moreover, it seems only Moldova's importers are the sole injured party, which
prompted the market players to speculate about the renewal of undeclared trade
war between Russia and Moldova. The key reason is the obvious shift of Moldova
towards the West coupled with the breakaway from the Moscow control and the
threat to end Russian military standing in Transdniestria.
But should Russia go to extremes, not only Moldova but lots of Russian
enterprises would suffer losses - half of all wine delivered by Moldova to
Russia (60 percent of the country's consumption) is bottled directly in Russia.
In addition, many wineries in Moldova are actually owned by Russian business.
The experts forecast Moldova will seek a compromise with a bad tempered Moscow
over this obvious form of 'punishment.'
Moldova will export grain to Azerbaijan
According to ITAR-TASS news agency the Prime Ministers of Moldova and Azerbaijan
in a telephone conversation have made an agreement that Moldova will export its
new crop grain to the Caucasian country. The Press-service of Moldovan Cabinet
of Ministers said that the amount to be supplied and the prices were to be
agreed upon by joint commission on economic cooperation between the two
countries. It is expected that Moldova will sell to Azerbaijan feed wheat and
seeding materials of sunflower and corn.
Moldova harvested 1.4 million tonnes of grain this year, which is more than last
season by 168,500 tonnes. The wheat crop has reached some 908,000 tonnes.
Mobile phone subscribers up
The number of two Moldovan telecommunications operators' subscribers increased
17.3 per cent in the first half of this year to 923,000 people, the National
agency in charge of communications regulations said, rbcnews.com reported.
In the reported period, Voxtel had 87,770 new customers compared to Moldcell's
48,280. Thus, the market share held by Voxtel was 59.2 per cent compared to 40.8
per cent held by Moldcell. The number of mobile users per 1,000 inhabitants was
273, up 4.1 per cent from a prior-year period. This is to be compared with the
number of fixed communications services subscribers, which was 269 per 1,000