Moldova

Moldova

Postby YMix » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:32 am

Moldova takes action on EU-Russia money laundering

BRUSSELS - Moldova has launched criminal proceedings in a money laundering case involving its biggest bank, the Russian mafia and six EU countries.

The move comes after a UK-based investment firm, Hermitage Capital, filed a complaint with the Moldovan prosecutor in June.

Documents obtained by Hermitage indicate that a Russian organised crime group - dubbed the Kluyev Group - in 2008 wired $53 million of stolen money from an account in Russia's Bank Krainiy Sever to two accounts in Moldova's Banca de Economii.

They also indicate that Banca de Economii later wired the money to multiple accounts in Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Switzerland and Hong Kong.

Moldova's anti-graft body told EUobserver in a written note on Wednesday (6 February) that: "A criminal prosecution was started by our institution - the National Anti-Corruption Centre - on money laundering in December 2012. The case is now being investigated. No Moldovan bank accounts have been frozen up to now."

It said it cannot name the suspects because of "presumption of innocence."

It added that Moldova's Prime Minister, Vlad Filat, has "declared he would monitor this case" due to its high-profile nature.

The development is part of an affair with implications for EU-Russia and US-Russia relations.

Hermitage says the Kluyev Group embezzled hundreds of millions of euros from Russian tax authorities and conspired with senior Russian officials to murder its accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, in 2009 after he exposed the scam.

The US has imposed a visa ban on the Russian officials involved, causing outrage in Moscow.

Several national parliaments in the EU have called for similar action.

Authorities in Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Switzerland are also investigating the money trail.

Meanwhile, the state-owned Banca De Economii, Moldova's biggest lender, is already neck-deep in problems.

Its former chief, Gregory Gachkevich, who ran the bank at the time of the Kluyev Group transactions, was last week stopped by police at Chisinau airport because the bank, on his watch, also doled out huge, unsecured loans to offshore firms, putting it at risk of collapse.

For his part, Hermitage Capital chief Bill Browder says the money laundering case poses questions for Moldova's EU aspirations.

Prime Minister Filat is aiming to sign a political association agreement and a free trade pact with the EU in November.

He is also hoping the EU will this year take steps toward a future visa-free deal.

"Moldova is a key transit point for the money laundered from the Magnitsky case, so a genuine investigation will exponentially increase the ability of European law enforcement agencies to make arrests and expose the people behind this network," Browder told this website.

"What the Moldovans do or don't do will be a test of whether they are a reliable partner for further involvement in EU structures," he added.
“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done, too.” - Donald J. Trump, President of the USA
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Re: Moldova

Postby Azrael » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:57 am

Moldova belongs in the EU. It shouldn't be harder to cross from Romania to Moldova than from Romania to Bulgaria.
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:38 pm

“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done, too.” - Donald J. Trump, President of the USA
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Re: Moldova

Postby Azrael » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:43 pm

Looks interesting. Any chance it will get released in the U.S.?
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:16 pm

Frankly, I've no idea. I don't think it's available outside of Romania and Moldova.
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:38 pm

Political Factions Threaten to Derail Moldova’s European Course (Part One)

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 36
February 26, 2013 04:43 PM Age: 19 hrs
By: Vladimir Socor

Until a few days ago, Moldova was on course to sign or at least to initial an Association Agreement with the European Union this year. Moldova was outpacing the other countries in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program toward the goals of association and free trade with the EU. In recent months, Moldova became the only Eastern Partner country to be offered a prospect of eventual EU membership, conditional on performance, by top European officials. Within Moldova’s coalition government, Prime Minister Vlad Filat’s team holds the ministries implementing the EU-Moldova Action Plan (the ministries of foreign affairs, internal affairs, justice, finance). Filat and his team interact directly with the EU and European governments and have earned high-level European support.

Those goals, and the country’s whole institutional setup, are now threatened by the country’s wealthiest businessman, Vlad Plahotniuc, and his allies, who are attempting to remove Prime Minister Filat’s team or at least to slash its powers. Plahotniuc and his allies seek to retain their share of control over law enforcement agencies, which can be useful in protecting business interests. Plahotniuc operates inside the governing coalition through Parliament Chairman Marian Lupu’s Democratic Party, where Plahotniuc is officially deputy leader but calls the shots, including appointments to law enforcement services on this party’s quota (see below). They are now conducting criminal proceedings against Filat’s team for political intimidation. In parallel, unidentified perpetrators are eavesdropping on the prime minister’s phone conversations and disseminating bits from the intercepts. The coalition government’s third component is Mihai Ghimpu’s small Liberal Party, bitter rival to Filat’s Liberal-Democrat Party on overlapping segments of the electorate. Ghimpu is allied with the Plahotniuc-Lupu tandem to cut down Filat’s party.

In early February, the National Anti-Corruption Center headed by Democratic Party appointees launched criminal investigations against Finance Minister Veaceslav Negruta and Health Minister Andrei Usatii; and it threatened a criminal investigation against Internal Affairs Minister Dorin Recean. All three ministers belong to Prime Minister Filat’s Liberal-Democrat Party. To mitigate perceptions of selective law enforcement, the Anti-Corruption Center has also announced an investigation against Culture Minister Boris Focsa from Lupu’s Democratic Party.

On February 15, National Anti-Corruption Center chief Viorel Chetraru dispatched his agents armed with submachine guns, wearing combat uniforms and masks, to search government offices that are headed by Prime Minister Filat’s appointees. The Anti-Corruption Center detained the head of the Main Fiscal Inspectorate, Nicolae Vicol, for a 20-day term for investigation on vaguely phrased charges. The Anti-Corruption Center also searched the premises of Filat’s chancellery; and summoned the chancellery’s deputy head, Eduard Banaruc, for questioning on February 18. Those scenes were amply televised from footage supplied by the same Anti-Corruption Center (Unimedia, Jurnal.Md, Publika TV, February 15–18).

The February 15 morning raids were timed to the opening of Parliament’s 2013 session. Their instant goal was to intimidate Filat’s party into cancelling the motion to remove Plahotniuc from the post of first vice-chairman of parliament, in a vote scheduled for that same day. The first vice-chairmanship had been created specially for Plahotniuc in 2010, although it is not provided for in the Constitution. The motion nevertheless went ahead and abolished Plahotniuc’s post with the Liberal-Democrat Party’s votes and those of the Communist opposition. Beyond that immediate issue, however, the raids and investigations are overtly aimed at generating criminal charges motivated politically against Filat’s team or his appointees. Vicol’s 20-day preliminary detention is widely seen as designed to pressure him into making those kinds of allegations for political use by the Anti-Corruption Center. Indeed on February 18, the Center’s Chetraru implied that Vicol was being pressured by higher-ups to participate in tax-related corruption. In his turn, Chetraru stepped up pressure on the government by announcing that his Center would call in Filat with [unnamed] ministers and others for questioning (Publika TV, February 18).

On February 18, an anonymous group self-titled “Prosecutors for Truth” disseminated bits from purported recordings of the prime minister’s and internal affairs minister’s telephone conversations with the same Vicol. Most of these selective bits do not seem to reveal criminal activity or intent, but rather some political instructions to the Fiscal Inspectorate chief. In one case, Filat is heard instructing Vicol to stop unfair tax pressures against the German automobile components manufacturer Draexlmaier, following complaints by the German ambassador in Chisinau. The Draexlmaier company is one of the main European investors in Moldova, with factories in Chisinau and Balti (Unimedia, Jurnal.Md, February 18–20).

No court has authorized those wiretaps. No one knows whether these may be the first bits from more extensive, unlawful intercepts at the disposal of those seeking to topple the government. While unauthorized wiretaps may not be used as evidence in a court of law, their political impact can potentially destabilize Filat’s team. Intercepting the prime minister’s telephone—while also searching his chancellery by armed agents on behalf of one faction in the government—is in any case an assault on Moldova’s state security.

The Anti-Corruption Center is not known to possess the technical equipment for such eavesdropping. The Security and Information Service (the main state security agency) is believed to possess such equipment, but this is only guesswork, and it seems entirely possible that private interests conducted the eavesdropping on the prime minister. Filat’s Liberal-Democrat Party has requested the General Prosecutor’s Office to launch a criminal investigation into the wiretapping. It described this unlawful action as a blow to national security and—alluding to Plahotniuc—as political blackmail on behalf of one individual (Moldpres, February 19).

From the moment of his removal as first vice-chairman of parliament on February 15 (see above) to date, Plahotniuc has insisted that his removal must necessarily trigger Prime Minister Filat’s immediate resignation for the sake of balance in the governing coalition. Lupu’s Democrats and Ghimpu’s Liberals are closely following Plahotniuc’s line in their daily statements to date (Unimedia, Jurnal.md, February 20–26).

Aware that the prime minister’s resignation would ipso facto entail that of the entire government, Lupu and Ghimpu want an interim prime minister and caretaker government, so as to force a re-distribution of powers and institutions in their own favor. They are calling for such a re-negotiation “from a zero basis.” They pretend that Plahotniuc and Filat represent symmetrical political factors in the coalition, although this is obviously not the case. Plahotniuc has no official leadership post and no popular mandate; whereas, Filat has such a mandate as prime minister, and his party holds more parliamentary seats (31) than Lupu’s and Ghimpu’s parties combined (15 and 12, respectively). Retaining and expanding these two parties’ share of government portfolios, crucially including quotas in law enforcement agencies, seems more important to them than the continuity and success of Moldova’s European integration course.

Indirectly, however, the attempt at accrediting a Filat-Plahotniuc symmetry reflects the reality of two competing power centers in this coalition government. Some of Ghimpu’s disappointed supporters in the press are urging him to “demonstrate that he is not in Plahotniuc’s pocket” (Nicolae Negru in Jurnal de Chisinau, February 22). Lupu, however, does not seem to be asked or expected to demonstrate this.


http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews[tt_news]=40509&tx_ttnews[backPid]=27&cHash=363bef4cbe6514cfa006965bfacc2218
“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done, too.” - Donald J. Trump, President of the USA
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:41 pm

Part 2

http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews[tt_news]=40514&tx_ttnews[backPid]=27&cHash=02b04b3669d4bcbff876135c8251521e
“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done, too.” - Donald J. Trump, President of the USA
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:47 pm

Moldovan Politics Begin to Resemble Post-Orange Revolution Ukraine

As a series of political crises rumbled through the European Union and the United States, Moldova’s own recent political earthquake has barely registered in the West. Yet, trapped in the biggest political impasse since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldovan ruling elites are engaged in an uncompromising feud, resembling an Italian vendetta. In fact, what is unraveling today in Moldova greatly resembles the failure several years ago of the pro-Western parties in Ukraine.

This comes as a bitter disappointment to those EU states that supported Moldova in its European integration aspirations over the last few years. The European Union invested many hopes (and less treasure) in Moldova’s Alliance for European Integration (AIE), the ruling coalition of three self-proclaimed “democratic” parties. The three AIE members, including the Liberal-Democratic Party (PLDM), the Democratic Party (PDM) and the Liberal Party (PL), today appear unable to put aside their differences—not even for the sake of political self-preservation (see EDM, February 26, 27).

Moldova now faces the plausible risk of snap elections, as a motion of no confidence, initiated on March 5 by the Communist Party (Kommersant.md, February 28), toppled the Vlad Filat government after gathering the necessary number of votes in parliament with the help of the PDM. This will be a risky gamble for all parliamentary parties, according to one of the latest public opinion surveys openly available (Ipp.md, November 2012). This November 2012 poll suggested that public support for the Communist Party, the PDM and PL was in decline, and the PLDM, led by Prime Minister Filat, was the most trusted party among 40 percent of those interviewed. Nonetheless, the latest corruption scandals in the government would likely also negatively affect the prime minister and his party. A February survey revealed that a staggering 84 percent of respondents was unhappy with the performance of the current political leadership (Publica.md, February 25), which suggests broad distrust of all AIE members.

[...]


http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews[tt_news]=40548&tx_ttnews[backPid]=27&cHash=569f3953de7acc7934d9270ff1ad683a

It looks to me like today's Moldova resembles Romania in the late '90s, when the Democratic Convention (CDR) defeated the Social Democrats (heirs of the pre-1989 Communist Party) and then collapsed within two years as its member parties began fighting among themselves for power. A pretty sad sight for me.
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Re: Moldova

Postby Azrael » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:14 am

If people are upset it is probably a good time to have an election. I would imagine that most voters don't approve of Vlad Plahotniuc's machinations and would punish his enablers in the polls. It's probably better to have an election sooner rather than later, so Vlad Plahotniuc's allies don't have more time to muck things up even more.
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:10 am

Moldova fears violent conflict amid “state border” concept issued by Transnistria
June 17, 2013

Moldova’s separatist region of Transnistria is making some steps forward in enhancing its secessionist process started two decades ago. Evgheny Shevchuk, the so-called president of Transnistria issued on June 10 the “Law regarding the state border of Transnistria.”

According to the bill, the separatist region will cover some towns and villages which are currently under the legitimate authorities of Moldova. The document affirms that “the state border cannot be modified unilaterally by neighboring countries.” The illegitimate structures based in Tiraspol said they will take any action necessary to defend the border when the “state” security is at stake.

Authorities in Chisinau do not see with good eyes the latest developments in the region. Moldovan President, Nicolae Timofti criticized the decision taken by the separatists, saying that he will never recognize the so-called law on state border of Transnistria.

“The issue is being always monitored by our state,” the President said. “I will never recognize the law regarding the border of the Transnistrian region.”

The Moldovan head of state claimed that Tiraspol’s actions are meant to destabilize the situation in Moldova, especially before EU’s Eastern Partnership Summit that is due to take place in November 2013.

“Someone seeks to destabilize the situation in the Republic of Moldova. When Moldova reaches its own levels of problem-solving mechanisms, such as the EU integration, provocative situations emerge,” Nicolae Timofti pointed out.

The Government of Moldova said the decision conflicts with both the judicial framework and the logic of Transnistrian conflict resolution, and the real needs and interests of the population on both banks of the Nistru River.

“Such actions clearly prove the existence of some hidden interests which are different from those shared by the Government in Chisinau and the entire international community – peaceful settlement of conflict by establishing a special status of the Transnistrian region as a component of Moldova – a sovereign state with territorial integrity,” the Moldovan Government said in a press release.

The separatist authorities tried to hinder any positive evolutions on the Chisinau-Tiraspol axis in the past few months. Several clashes have been registered on April 26-27, when the Transnistrians tried to established new illegal checkpoints between Moldova and their region. The inhabitants of Varnita village - being under the legitimate sovereignty of Moldova - set-back to avoid any other illegal installments in their region.

[...]


Pro-Moldovan article written in questionable English, but people will probably want to know that the Russian press is also discussing a possible armed conflict and does not seem upset about it.
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:14 am

Rogozin Threatens Moldova with Sanctions over Association Agreement with the European Union

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin visited Moldova on September 2–3, in his parallel capacities as President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy “on Transnistria” (“po Pridnestroviyu”) and as Russian co-chairman of the Russia-Moldova Inter-Governmental Economic Cooperation Commission.

This visit had no other purpose than to threaten Moldova with economic sanctions and the definitive loss of Transnistria, in the event that Moldova concludes the association and free trade agreements with the European Union at the Vilnius summit in November. On the morrow of Rogozin’s visit, Russia’s chief sanitary inspector Gennady Onishchenko threatened to re-impose restrictions on the import of Moldovan wines, fruit and vegetables to Russia.

Rogozin held talks with Moldova’s Prime Minister Iurie Leanca and Deputy Prime Minister Valeriu Lazar (Moldovan co-chair of the inter-governmental commission). Rogozin also issued those warnings in three statements with overlapping content for the media in Moscow, Chisinau, and Tiraspol, respectively. He enumerated Russia’s possible responses to the Moldova-EU agreements (Interfax, September 1, 2; Rossiya-24 TV, Itar-Tass, Novyi Region [Tiraspol], September 2; Jurnal de Chisinau, September 2):

Russia would “inevitably revise its existing trade agreements with Moldova,” implying possible restrictions on the access of Moldovan agricultural products to the Russian market (Russia’s ambassador in Chisinau, Farit Mukhametshin, had recently aired this warning explicitly [Infotag, August 30]).

Chisinau “would make a serious mistake” by concluding the agreements with the EU even as “hundreds of thousands of Moldovans work in Russia,” implying possible restrictions on Moldovan migrant labor in Russia;

“Energy is important, the cold season is near, winter on its way. We hope that you will not freeze this winter” (parting shot at his press briefing in Chisinau), alluding to the unsettled situation with the Gazprom-Moldovagaz supply contract;

Moldova “would lose Transnistria, if Moldova continues moving toward the European Union;” and metaphorically, “Moldova’s train en route to Europe would lose its wagons in Transnistria.”

Rogozin attacked Moldova’s “so-called pro-European government” for “disregarding its own people, and all the more [disregarding] Transnistria,” in the process of negotiating the Moldova-EU agreements. The first part of this statement alludes to the erosion of the EU’s popularity in Moldova and the rise of Russia’s popularity there, emboldening local pro-Russian parties to demand pre-term elections or a referendum on Moldova’s external orientation. The second part of that statement seems to reflect Russia’s position that its Tiraspol protégés should play a role in Chisinau’s foreign policy decisions—a key tenet of Russian proposals to “federalize” Moldova. Reflecting that same view, Rogozin reproached Chisinau for having signed a military cooperation agreement with Romania, “a NATO country, without consulting Tiraspol” (Infotag, September 2).

Chisinau has actually invited Tiraspol to sit in the economic negotiations with the EU as part of Moldova’s delegation, but Tiraspol has seldom taken up these invitations. Chisinau has also held many information sessions for Transnistria business circles to take advantage of the impending Moldova-EU agreements. Moldova is keen in its own interest to have Transnistria and its population included in Moldova-EU agreements and projects. Tiraspol authorities have not responded thus far. Instead, they emphasize their own orientation toward Russia and its Eurasian groupings.

On September 3, Russia’s consumer goods and sanitary inspectorate (Rospotrebnadzor) chief, Gennady Onishchenko, announced that his authority has rejected a consignment of 28,000 liters of Moldovan wine, purportedly for falling short of Russian sanitary criteria. Onishchenko had issued two warnings to that effect during August. His September 3 announcement, however, added a threat of embargoing Moldovan wines, “reverting to the 2006 situation,” when Russia imposed a politically motivated full ban on Moldovan and Georgian wines and agricultural products. Moscow relented little by little during the ensuing years on Moldovan wines, and only in 2013 on a trickle of Georgian wine.

Moldova has been heavily hit, wines being its number one export article by far, and Russia its largest market by far. Moldovan wine exports to Russia declined in value from $235 million in 2005 (the last pre-sanctions year) down to $61 million in 2012; and from a Russian market share of nearly 50 percent reported in 2005, down to 10 to 12 percent market share annually in recent years in Russia (Interfax, Moldpres, September 3).

Rogozin, basically, nodded when Moldovan officials tried to pin him down on recognizing Moldova’s territorial integrity and borders. Russia’s recognition is on paper only, and sometimes not even on paper. Rogozin’s parallel appointments, as Russian presidential envoy “on Transnistria” and Russian head of the Russia-Moldova inter-governmental commission, exemplify this deliberate ambiguity. The Russian government deals with Chisinau and with Tiraspol in separate channels. Moscow handles its relations with two parts of Moldova’s territory on two different tracks, both of them under Rogozin’s supervision, but operating separately from each other. The Russian government routinely deals with Tiraspol directly, bypassing Chisinau. The unlawful presence of Russian troops also negates Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in practice, despite its recognition on paper.

Putin’s envoy failed to impress the Moldovan government into concessions. He did not obtain Chisinau’s consent for the opening of a Russian consulate in Tiraspol, or re-equipping Russia troops there, or re-opening Tiraspol’s military airport. The Moldovan government and the EU are irreversibly on course toward concluding association, trade, and visa liberalization agreements. However, Russian economic sanctions, if imposed, could destabilize Moldova politically, and play into the hands of the Communist and Russophile opposition.
“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done, too.” - Donald J. Trump, President of the USA
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Re: Moldova

Postby Endovelico » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:50 am

YMix,
What political, cultural or historical reasons are stopping Moldova from rejoining Romania?
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:28 pm

Off the top of my head:

- Moldova's political class is understandably not keen to make itself redundant through unification. I assume it's better to be the president of Moldova than a Romanian senator. After the unification, I doubt that Moldovan politicians would be able to reach any elected high office in the new country. The Romanian majority would be suspicious of people who are at best "country relatives" and at worst outright strangers. A Slavic family name does not help at all.

- culturally speaking, the two countries have spent more time apart than together. We speak the same language and we share some common cultural traits, but beyond that our cultural history divides us. We took a lot of our culture from the West, wholesale. They got theirs from Russia.

- worse, I suspect that Romanians tend to see in Moldovans only their own failings, magnified. Romania's upper and middle/educated classes have spent more than a hundred years looking west, trying desperately NOT to be Eastern Europeans. The Moldovans remind us of everything we would rather ignore or forget about ourselves.

- the unification drive of the early '90s is dead. Romanians wouldn't mind it, but plenty of Moldovans are not particularly eager to rejoin the mother-country for various reasons. Especially those who don't look upon Romania as their mother country.

- historically speaking... Romania abandoned Moldova to Russia in 1940. Maybe they've forgiven us, maybe not, but it doesn't speak well for the future. Moldova is as bad a place to defend as ever. If the Russians ever come knocking again, will we be able to defend it? Most likely not.

- from the economic point of view, unification would be an unmitigated disaster. One of the poorest countries in Europe uniting with definitely the poorest country in Europe. What's not to like?

- Romania has lost 2 million people (out of 23 million) to the west after the end of the Cold War, most of them of working/tax-paying age. Moldova has lost somewhere between 1.2 and 2 million people out of an estimated population of 3.5 million. Nearly all the Moldovans who can work (and think) are gone, leaving only the old and the children behind. Unification means that Romania's already strained pensions/social security system would have to support them all.

The silver lining: the combined wine industries of Romania and Moldova would be enough to keep the newly unified country drunk non-stop. Plus, Moldovan women are also pretty and uninhibited.
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:16 pm

EU warns Russia over trade 'threats' to ex-Soviet bloc

The European Commission has warned Russia that it is "unacceptable" to use threats against ex-Soviet states which are seeking closer ties with the EU.

The warning from EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele came after Russia banned imports of Moldovan wine and spirits, citing quality concerns.

Mr Fuele said the EU had no such issues with Moldova's alcoholic drinks.

Moldova called the Russian move unfair, echoing similar concerns in Ukraine and Armenia about Russian pressure.

Russia is offering former Soviet republics a customs union - a partnership that Belarus and Kazakhstan have already joined.

The Commission - the EU's executive - is preparing to sign association agreements with Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine in November. Such agreements are seen as key milestones towards eventual EU membership.

But last week Armenia's President Serge Sarkisian said his country was interested in joining the Russian-led customs union. The Commission responded with concern, saying Armenia could not operate two different sets of trade rules.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to establish a future "Eurasian Union" - a trade bloc similar to the EU, but without the commitments to democratic values and open competition which are fundamental to EU membership.
Plea to Russia

In a speech to the European Parliament, Mr Fuele said "the development of the Eurasian Economic Union project must respect our partners' sovereign decisions".

"Any threats from Russia linked to the possible signing of agreements with the European Union are unacceptable. This applies to all forms of pressure, including: the possible misuse of energy pricing; artificial trade obstacles such as import bans of dubious WTO [World Trade Organisation] compatibility and cumbersome customs procedures; military co-operation and security guarantees: and the instrumentalisation of protracted conflicts.

"This is not how international relations should function on our continent in the 21st Century. Such actions clearly breach the principles to which all European states have subscribed."

Mr Fuele also said the EU's association agreements "are not conceived at Russia's expense". Rather, Russia would "benefit greatly" from closer European integration, he stressed.

Moldova's President Nicolae Timofti called the Russian import ban on its alcoholic drinks "unfriendly and un-Christian".

Romania - an EU member - has told neighbouring Moldova that it will increase imports of Moldovan wine.

Mr Fuele said the Commission was also considering "how to further increase the wine quota for Moldovan exports to the EU", and would provide technical help for Moldova to boost its exports in other sectors such as poultry.

Moldova is one of Europe's poorest countries, not helped by the unresolved Trans-Dniester conflict, which left a big strip of its land in the hands of pro-Moscow separatists.

Ukraine's strategic importance for Russia historically far outweighs that of Armenia or Moldova, and Ukraine's heavy reliance on Russian gas has given Moscow considerable leverage.

Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom has previously cut supplies to Ukraine in the winter, complaining of overdue bills. Ukrainian politicians have condemned what they see as political pressure from Moscow.

Ukraine says it is reforming its laws to comply with EU requirements - but EU concerns about human rights remain a big obstacle. The EU has urged Ukraine to release opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko from jail, after a trial which was widely seen as politically motivated.
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Re: Moldova

Postby Azrael » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:26 pm

YMix wrote:The silver lining: the combined wine industries of Romania and Moldova would be enough to keep the newly unified country drunk non-stop. Plus, Moldovan women are also pretty and uninhibited.

Forget Romania. Moldova should be the 51st state.
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:19 pm

Moscow Trumps Its Own Ethnic Card in Moldova
By: Paul Goble

Moscow’s imposition of a wine embargo against Moldova as part of the Russian effort to dissuade Chisinau from pursuing closer ties with the European Union is not working as the Russians had hoped. In fact, Moldova had been exporting only about a quarter of its wine to the Russian Federation when the embargo was imposed, down from 85 percent in 2006. But the region of Moldova hardest hit and least happy as a result of Moscow’s decision is Gagauzia, the Orthodox Christian Turkic autonomy in southeastern Moldova that the Russian government has often used together with Transnistria for leverage against the Moldovan authorities. This Russian defeat may not be the end of the story, however; indeed, it may prompt some in Moscow to try to press harder against Chisinau one way or another in the coming weeks (regnum.ru/news/fd-abroad/moldova/1709999.html).

Moscow’s pressure on Moldova concerning that country’s desire to link itself with the European Union rather than with Russia’s Eurasian Union—much like the pressure Russia has been exerting on Ukraine and even Belarus—is making nationalists out of many of the members of the titular nationalities in all three. But what is especially striking and perhaps much more unexpected is that the Russian government is so overplaying its hand on this occasion that Moscow is simultaneously losing support among minorities in these countries that it had long taken for granted.

One of these minorities is the Gagauz nationality of Moldova. Numbering approximately 200,000, Russian Orthodox by religion and Russian and Turkic by language, the Gagauz have been a reliable ally for Moscow in the past (see EDM, March 19, April 2). Indeed, over the past 25 years, Gagauz national activism has almost perfectly tracked Russian efforts to bring Chisinau to heel. When Moscow wanted to put pressure on Moldova, the Gagauz stepped up their demands; when Moscow sought better ties, the Gagauz remained quiet. But now, things are changing—at least judging by the new attitudes of Gagauz officials like Vitaly Kyurkchu, who heads the economic development administration there, and Mikhail Formuzal, the “bashkan” or head of the autonomy. They are angry—and at Moscow more than at Chisinau.

In the words of the former, Moscow has demonstrated by its actions that “agreements within the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] are meaningless, and consequently, the organization itself is an illusion,” sentiments much different than anything he has publicly said before. Whereas, Bashkan Formuzal remarked that anyone who now talks about “the hand of Moscow” in Moldova is simply wrong. “Russia is not interested in Moldova; Russia is interested [only] in Transnistria.” And according to the Gagauzlar website, as cited by Regnum.ru, the pro-Russian parties in Moldova all show a customary “habit”—they like to “talk” about providing support and autonomy to the Gagauz, but in fact they “do not defend the interests” of the Gagauz or Gagauzia.

Such comments suggest that Gagauz efforts over the past ten days to set up their own “brand” for wine are not so much a stalking horse for Russian interests, as would have been assumed in the past (http://gagauzia.info.md/index.php?do=static&page=a1). Rather, it was likely the result of Gagauz anger about being lumped together by the Moscow wine ban against Moldova as a whole and a step dictated by their fear that they will continue to be ignored or even mistreated by the Russian government.

And yet another development in Gagauzia may have to be similarly re-interpreted as a result of Russia’s overbearing approach. Many among the Gagauz have been unhappy by the high failure rates in high school exams among the Gagauz, at least some of whom are more likely to know Russian rather than Moldovan in addition to their native Turkic language. According to some local educators, as many as a quarter of all those completing their studies fail to earn a certificate because of problems with Moldovan (regnum.ru/news/fd-abroad/moldova/1709999.html).

Such students had been transferring to schools in Transnistria, where Russian is the language of instruction in most schools. In the past, such educational ties might have been expected to contribute to the formation of a joint Transnistrian-Gagauz front against Chisinau, but apparently not now. The reason is simple: most of the students who transfer to Transnistrian schools never return. They continue their educations in either Transnistria or in the Russian Federation, secure jobs there, and never return to their native territory.

That has left many Gagauz leaders furious because this outflow of young people is not only accelerating the region’s demographic decline but also constitutes a serious brain drain, one that at least some among that nationality now apparently blame less on the Moldovans than the Transnistrian authorities. As the publication Yedinaya Gagauzia, typically a cheerleader for closer ties with Transnistria and Russia, put it last week, however grateful the Gagauz might be for these educational opportunities, if students continue to leave, “who will remain to Gagauz in Gagauzia [sic]?”


Still unreported by the Western media is the fact that Russian authorities have started rounding up the Moldovan migrants (mainly day laborers) whose papers are not in order. That's something like 100,000+ people out of the 500,000 (or 700,000, according to the Russian media) currently in the Russian Federation. Let's hope that Western Europe can take them.
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Re: Moldova

Postby Azrael » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:57 pm

Perhaps the U.S. can take them.

Dianda's Italian Bakery and Cafe in Fair Oaks village in California has half a dozen young women from Moldova serving customers.
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:50 pm

Russia and the Moldovan Communists’ Red October (Part Two)

Last month, the Kremlin snapped its fingers and Armenia turned its back on Europe literally overnight, choosing to join the Russia-led Customs Union instead of concluding association and free-trade agreements with the European Union (see EDM, September 6, 11, 18). The Russian government is almost certainly looking at instruments and openings for turning Moldova around, from the EU toward Russia and a Eurasian construct.

The Kremlin launched its efforts to reorient Armenia and Moldova on the same day, September 2. On that date, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan flew to Moscow at President Vladimir Putin’s invitation to embrace the Eurasian choice. And on that same date, Putin’s special envoy, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, landed in Moldova to threaten reprisals against that country’s European choice.

Moldova’s situation, however, differs essentially from Armenia’s, presenting the Kremlin with quite another mix of challenges and opportunities that necessitate a far more sophisticated Russian policy.

Russia’s goal in Moldova cannot be to accomplish a sudden volte-face, but rather to slow down the Moldova-EU integration process, discrediting it and bringing it to a grinding halt. Toward that goal the Kremlin can use economic coercion (which it has already threatened), deploy economic incentives of its own (which it has yet to offer in any coherent way), promote Russian takeovers of key economic assets to negate Moldova’s European orientation (with Moldovan hands facilitating such Russian takeovers), further destabilize Moldova’s fractious politics and inter-ethnic relations (so as to prevent the formation of an internal pro-EU consensus), agitate against European “moral decadence” through the medium of the Russian Orthodox Church (to which most ethnic Moldovans inertially belong), and threaten Moldova with the definitive loss of Transnistria (without offering a positive incentive on Transnistria conflict-resolution as yet).

In Chisinau and Tiraspol on September 2–3 (see EDM, September 4), Rogozin issued a series of direct and indirect warnings against Moldova. Should its government go ahead and conclude the agreements with the EU, Rogozin declared, Moldovan exports would lose access to Russia’s market; Moldova might suffer during winter without Russian gas supplies; Moldovan migrant workers could face administrative hardships in Russia; and the Transnistria “wagon” would be de-coupled from Moldova’s “train” if the latter proceeds toward Europe. Attending a pro-Eurasia conference in Chisinau, Rogozin termed the participants as “the thinking part of the Moldovan people.”

During the first week of September, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, paid a pastoral visit to Moldova. While avoiding politicized statements, Kirill’s visit served to consolidate the Russian Church’s influence on the Moldovan faithful, i.e., on mass voters. With this in mind, the government and other politicians had to go out of their way to show deference to Kirill. Within Moldova’s own Metropolitanate (canonically subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate), a vocal faction agitates against the spread of European “moral decay” to Moldova.

On September 10, Russia’s consumer goods inspectorate (Rospotrebnadzor) head and chief epidemiologist, Gennady Onishchenko, announced the suspension of all Russian imports of Moldovan wines (traditionally Moldova’s number one export article). During the following days, Onishchenko warned that Russia might suspend imports of other Moldovan agricultural products also on sanitary and phytosanitary grounds. Russian customs returned some consignments of Moldovan fruits and vegetables. On September 19, during the Valdai Discussion Club meeting, Putin sarcastically deprecated Moldovan wine and predicted that it could not find markets in Europe (Interfax, September 19).

On September 23, Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister and Economics Minister Valeriu Lazar reported that Gazprom had consented to prolong the supply agreement with Moldova by one more year, as a result of negotiations just held by Lazar in Moscow. The existing, five-year agreement was signed in 2006 and has been extended from year to year after its expiry. On the eve of his Moscow visit, Lazar had publicly proposed that Moldova turn over its gas distribution network to Gazprom in order to offset Chisinau’s arrears for past deliveries. Such a hasty step, however, is not supported by the coalition government’s majority and seems unwarranted as long as Gazprom does not seek to collect Tiraspol’s arrears, which are tenfold larger than Chisinau’s (Interfax, September 30).

On September 30 the spokeswoman of Russia’s Migration Service, Zaluna Kornilova, warned that a large number of Moldovan guest workers are liable to be banned from Russia for noncompliance with Russian laws and labor market regulations. This first warning is relatively soft, as it does not envisage an outright expulsion of offenders in most cases, but rather the interdiction of their return to Russia after the expiry of their existing labor contracts. The actual figure of Moldovan workers in Russia and the value of their remittances are not known, but they are estimated to number in the hundreds of thousands, and their remittances are crucial to keeping Moldova’s economy at least afloat. On October 2, an obviously concerned Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca telephoned Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to ask yet again for a migrant labor protection agreement to be negotiated between Russia and Moldova. The Kremlin has declined this Moldovan plea for years. Medvedev responded evasively to Leanca’s latest plea (Kommersant, September 30; Kommersant.md, October 2; RFE/RL, September 30, October 3, 4).

The Moldovan Communist Party is poised to exploit the government’s predicament. The Communists’ “velvet revolution” campaign (see Part One, EDM, October 3) seeks to paralyze the political system and destabilize governance as such, ahead of the November 27–28 Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, where the EU-Moldova agreements are to be initialed. The Communists’ and Moscow’s respective time-tables, however, extend beyond Vilnius. Should they fail to block the association agreement’s initialing, they would probably intensify their efforts to block the agreements’ signing and ratification by Moldova in 2014.
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:53 am

Milestone: The EU Signs Association Agreements with Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia

by Chris Borgen

On Friday, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia signed the Association Agreements with the European Union that have been at the center of so much controversy among Russia, the EU, and these states. Preventing Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia from signing these agreements had become an important foreign policy goal for Moscow (see, for example: 1, 2, 3) after significant pressure, and perhaps some incentives, from Moscow, former Ukrainian President Yanukovich’s decided at the last minute not to sign the agreement at the EU’s summit in Vilnius in November precipitated the demonstrations that began in Kiev. Those were followed by Yanukovich fleeing, Russia’s intervention in and annexation of Crimea, and the ongoing tensions over the future of Ukraine. Moldova and Georgia have also faced threats of economic and/or energy embargoes as well as the ongoing Russia-backed separatist issues in Transnistria, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia.

After the diplomatic disputes and the pipeline politics, the secessionist movements and Russian military incursions, Maidan Square and Crimean annexation, the signing of these treaties are a significant milestone, and hopefully a turning point. Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia are committing themselves to a path of greater economic and normative integration with the EU. The EU is committing itself to allowing market access to the EU; more generally, the EU will likely become increasingly involved the in the internal policies of these countries, although they are not member states.

What is clear is that this is a significant moment, President Poroshenko of Ukraine called it the most important moment for his country since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. What is not yet clear is how relations with Russia will evolve from this point. Here are some issues to consider…While the agreements signed today do not make Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia members of the EU, they provide significant market access and also provide obligations for the harmonization of domestic laws with EU standards.


More at the link.

There goes the near abroad. The Russians are somewhat unhappy, judging by the latest bans on various European products.
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:45 pm

Encouraged by Initial Russian Moves in Ukraine, Transnistria Now Fears for Its Future
Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 12 Issue: 11
January 20, 2015 04:44 PM Age: 19 hrs
By: Paul Goble

No one was more encouraged by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military moves in Donbas (eastern Ukrainian region encompassing the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces) than the leaders of Transnistria. This breakaway Slavic-dominated region in northeastern Moldova viewed Moscow’s actions as opening the way to the establishment of a land bridge between itself and the Russian “continent.” But now that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has stalled and Ukrainian and Moldovan positions have hardened, no one is more discouraged about the future than the leadership in Tiraspol. Some of them are now even talking about their breakaway region being “in deep crisis” and “in fact, on the edge of death.”


No $hit.

One of their number, Dmitry Soin, a deputy in the Supreme Soviet of the self-proclaimed but unrecognized “republic,” suggests that unless Moscow comes to its rescue, the “pro-Russian enclave, which over the course of 24 years has demonstrated its loyalty to Moscow,” will enter a crisis from which it may not emerge. This crisis, he says, was produced by the coordinated efforts of Ukraine and Moldova to blockade the “republic.” Standing behind Kyiv and Chisinau, Soin argues, has been the European Union and the United States, which are “objectively interested in the liquidation of the pro-Russia enclave so that Moscow will not be able to use it to pressure the southwestern portion of Ukraine and so that Moldova will have opened to it the path to EU membership (Regnum.ru, January 11).


Ukraine should've blockaded Transnistria in the early '90s.

In words dripping with bitterness, Soin says that the issue of Transnistria and its future is “not simply” about what will happen to that “republic” but also about the future status of the Limited Contingent of the Group of Russian Forces and Peacekeepers of the Russian Federation located there. The West is unanimous in its commitment to the idea that “Russia must retreat from the banks of the Dniestr.” Is Russia going to go along? Or is it, in this dire moment, going to come to Transnistria’s rescue.


I hope not.

The situation of Transnistria, Soin continues, has deteriorated sharply over the last ten months since Ukraine issued a travel ban on Russian male citizens aged 16 to 65, lest they join anti-Kyiv fighters there. At the same time, the Moldovan government exacerbated the situation by putting obstacles in the way of Transnistrian residents who wanted to travel to Russia. Some of those who were blocked, he says, have been deported to Russia against their will. This policy has had the effect of decapitating the leadership of the unrecognized “republic,” while keeping others in Transnistria from travelling at all. According to the Transnistrian parliamentarian, “these people have been deprived of their right to live in their own homes,” a violation of their human rights. The breakaway region has lost many of its best leaders and can easily lose more whenever Chisinau decides, Soin asserts.

The economy of Transnistria is in a tailspin, which further adds to the “republic’s” problems, he says. On the one hand, the separatist region exists within a virtual economic blockade; and on the other, this year, the agreement allowing Transnistria to trade with the EU independently of Moldova runs out—a reality that Chisinau can use to further tighten the screws on Tiraspol. For now, at least, Transnistria has little or no ability to join the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) given Kyiv’s stance.


Transnistria's economy is based on money laundering and contraband. The "country" cannot pay for its imports, it cannot pay for gas and it can barely pay the pensions. If the Russian Federation stops the flow of gas through the pipelines crossing Ukraine, I have no idea how Transnistria is supposed to get gas.

Moreover, the population of the “republic” is declining at an increasing speed. Over the last 24 years, it has fallen officially from 750,000 to 500,000, and unofficially to 300,000, a figure which Soin says is “objective.” As a result of all these factors, Soin continues, “for the first time in its 24 years of independence [sic], the Transdniestr Republic is on the brink of death.”


Amazing. Half of the population doesn't want to starve in Tiraspol.

The Tiraspol government has compounded these problems by some mistaken decisions, the parliamentarian says, but it cannot do the right thing or overcome outside pressures from Moldova, Ukraine, the EU and the United States unless it receives help from the Russian Federation. And the “republic’s” prospects will become even worse if its four geopolitical opponents act and Russia does not.

In this situation, Soin argues, Moscow must face up to several unpleasant realities. First, if Transnistria disappears and Moldova reabsorbs it, there will be a quarter of a million Russian citizens and approximately the same number of Russian compatriots who will become second-class citizens in Moldova and who will likely seek refuge in the Russian Federation. Second, Russia will lose control over much of the property Russians own in Transnistria, ownership that is defended by Tiraspol’s laws but will not be protected by Moldovan ones. And third, Moscow will have to deal with the consequences of a geopolitical defeat that will extend far beyond Transnistria and hurt Russia’s standing as “a superpower.”


Even better. Tell your Russian minority to go back where it came from. I'm even in favor of footing the bill; a one-way Aeroflot ticket for each of the 500,000 Russians living in Moldova and Transnistria, courtesy of Romania. Money well spent.

As a superpower, Soin says, Russia is “obligated to ensure both the security of its citizens and compatriots [as well as] its military and economic objects, wherever they are located—including, of course, in Transnistria.” The question today is whether Moscow can and will meet that obligation, or whether Transnistria will cease to exist.
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Re: Moldova

Postby Parodite » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:15 pm

I looks like the Transnistrians need International Resque more than ever.
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Re: Moldova

Postby noddy » Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:41 am

id never heard of the place!

another bit of russian exceptionalism.
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Re: Moldova

Postby Simple Minded » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:29 pm

Parodite wrote:I looks like the Transnistrians need International Resque more than ever.


I think if the Northern Europeans/Anglo-Zionists produced more documentaries like this, that show how "they" often use their superior technology and superior intellect to do good, it would assuage some of the fears of "those people" who identify with "victim" cultures.

Supermarionation seems like a great place to live, aside from the nepotism......
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Re: Moldova

Postby Simple Minded » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:31 pm

noddy wrote:id never heard of the place!

another bit of russian exceptionalism.


I think it is a suburb of Transylvania.......
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Re: Moldova

Postby YMix » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:48 pm

noddy wrote:id never heard of the place!

another bit of russian exceptionalism.


It goes well with the other mafia "state": Kosovo. That one is Washington's doing.
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