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MOLDOVA


 

 

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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
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)

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REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
33,843 

Population 
4,446,455

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Moldovans 64.5%
Ukrainians 13.8%
Russians 13.0%

Capital 
Kishinev 
(Chisinau)

Currency
Leu (plural: Lei)

President 
Vladimir Voronin


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 for decades".

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ENERGY

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.

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FOREIGN RELATIONS

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 Agency.
"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 the world."

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