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Moldovan Republic wheels towards Russia again

Luni, 18 decembrie 2006, 0:00

Relations between Russia and the Moldovan Republic are warming slowly but steadily as tensions are on the rise between the former Soviet state and Romania.

The two neighboring countries have been facing new troubles after a reputed Romanian actor said in an interview for a Chisinau-based newspaper that “historically speaking, Moldova was always part of Romania and sooner or later it will return to its motherland”.

When the interview was published, Moldovan authorities contacted their Romanian counterparts to demand explanations, accusing Romania of interfering with its neighbor’s political affairs.

Under constant economic and political pressure from Russia and continuously falling to Ukraine’s unpredictable tricks, Moldova has to face an intense disinterest from the European Union and the reluctance of the US to get involved in the disputes with Transdniestr, the separatist region west of the former Soviet Republic.

And Bucharest’s dual policy towards the communist authorities in Chisinau have provided little results over the past couple of years.

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin reacted promptly when his Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu said earlier this year that “a single people lives in the two countries”. Voronin did not hide his irritation about Romania’s role as “an attorney” for Moldova in the European Union.

Political relations deteriorated further when Voronin refused an invitation to attend the summit of the French-speaking world, Le Sommet de la Francophonie”, hosted by Bucharest in September. And it all peaked in December when Romanian actor Ion Caramitru, who heads a major theater venue in Bucharest, made the statements about Romania as a “motherland”.

Meanwhile, authorities in Chisinau have been suggesting a stronger interest to improve links with Russia. The Novaya Izvestia newspaper recently quoted Muldovan PM Vasile Tarlev who said his country “does not want bilateral relations to stagnate. As far as we’re concerned, we’re ready to negotiate with Russia anywhere, even on the Moon”.

Russia has been providing more credit to Moldovans at a time when it threatened to boycott meat imports from the EU because of the lack of food safety in Romania and Bulgaria, two countries that will join the EU next year. Moscow has decided to lift a similar embargo applied to wine and meat imports fom Moldova.

And Russian President Vladimir Putin announced further ways of trade relations between the two countries at a CSI summit in Minsk, Belarus.

But a majority of the Moldovan population believe Romania may help the Moldovan Republic more in terms of economy. Lured by the European mirage, some 400,000 Moldovan citizens (10% of the population) have applied or plan to apply for Romanian citizenship as Romania joins the EU on January 1, 2007.

And a study by CIVIS, a Chisinau-based social analysis group, shows some 40% of Moldovans believe authorities in Chisinau should unconditionally accept Romania’s offers to support Moldova in the EU.

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