Posts Tagged ‘moldova’

TENS OF THOUSANDS ATTEND ‘PRO-EUROPE’ RALLY IN MOLDOVAN CAPITAL

November 18, 2013

Radio Free Europe on November 3, 2013, reported that thousands of Moldovans gathered in downtown Chisinau for a rally organized by the country’s ruling coalition to highlight public support for further European integration. Excerpts below:

The demonstration’s aims were to signal internal support but also send a message to Brussels in the weeks ahead of a major EU summit in Vilnius on November 28-29.

Eastern Partnership states Moldova and Georgia are hoping to initial Association Agreements with the European Union at the Lithuanian summit, while Ukraine is expected to sign its Association Agreement.

But Russia, still a powerful trade partner and political player in the region, has intensified its efforts to derail those plans for Moldova, as well as for Ukraine and Georgia.

Armenia, another Eastern Partnership country reportedly under pressure from Moscow, complicated its publicly stated EU aspirations recently by announcing its intention to join a Russian-led Customs Union.

The November 3 rally in Chisinau ended with the adoption of a symbolic “Pro Europe” statement describing “the European option” as “the only correct one for the future of our country’s major national interests and the only chance to ensure rights, freedom, and prosperity for all [Moldova’s] citizens.”

President Nicolae Timofti told the crowd that Moldovans will “have to work harder to reach European standards.”

“But we can do this effort, for us and the future generations,” Timofti said. “Moldova belongs to Europe.”

Organizers claimed 100,000 people attended the rally, while other sources put the figure at between 60,000 and 70,000.

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SWEDEN LASHES OUT AT RUSSIAN “ECONOMIC WARFARE” IN EAST EUROPE

September 8, 2013

Reuters on September 6, 2013, reported that Sweden accused Russia of waging “economic warfare” against former Soviet republics that have been considering closer trade relations with the European Union and said the EU needed a strategy to resist Moscow. Excerpts below:

The EU is planning to take steps towards signing trade deals with Armenia, Georgia and Moldova at a summit of regional and EU leaders in November in Lithuania, and could seal a similar agreement with Ukraine.

Closer economic ties with Europe would mark a clear break for the east European countries with their Soviet past, and such plans have fuelled Russia’s concerns over a decline of its historical influence in the region.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, speaking during a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, said Russia has taken advantage of the international focus on Syria to quietly put unprecedented pressure on its neighbors.

“What we have seen during the past few weeks is brutal Russian pressure against the partnership countries of a sort that we haven’t seen in Europe for a very long time,” Bildt told reporters.

He was referring to an EU policy of establishing closer links with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, and supporting democratic reforms in the east, called the “Eastern Partnership”.

…Moscow sees former Soviet states as part of its own strategic sphere of influence, and has set up a customs union and urged them to join it.

Europe views countries in the east as an important energy conduit and wants to see democratic reforms take root in the region. It has never promised EU membership for countries in the region, but spends hundreds of millions of euros on aid.

Bildt said Russia had exerted “extremely heavy pressure” on Armenia to persuade the government in Yerevan to join the customs union led by its old Soviet master, and that Moscow had also tried to intimidate Moldova.

“I see they have been threatening Moldova with a cut-off in gas supplies as well as a cut-off in wine exports. This is economic warfare they are threatening against these countries.”

Moldova’s leaders hit back this week after a Russian envoy warned the tiny former Soviet republic that its pro-Europe policy could bring retaliatory action from Moscow, saying they would not change course.

The Black Sea state of 3.5 million people is heavily in debt to Moscow for cheap gas imports that help keep its economy afloat.

The EU made no joint statements on the issue during the first day of the two-day foreign ministers’ meeting in Vilnius, where the agenda included Europe’s response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria as well as policy towards the east.

But several ministers other than Bildt expressed similar concerns, saying Russia should not view EU policies on its eastern borders as a threat.

“You can have good relations with Russia and still be part of the European family … I don’t understand why some people in Moscow seem to think that there is only one choice countries can make,” Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said.

MONUMENT TO VICTIMS OF STALINISM UNVEILED IN MOLDOVA

August 26, 2013

Allmoldova.com on August 23, 2013, reported that the monument to victims of Stalinist deportations, set up in the square of the Railway Terminal in the capital of Chisinau, was unveiled on August 23. Hundreds of people brought candles and flowers to the monument, while a group of priests of “Teodora de la Sihla” Church blessed it. Relatives of deportees said they ultimately have a place where to remember and mourn for the grandparents, fathers, mothers and siblings who died in the Stalinist gulags, IPN reports. Excerpts below:

Mayor of Chisinau municipality Dorin Chirtoaca said that this monument is among the most important projects in his work. “It cost about 25 million lei. They say that this is a considerable sum, but it is in fact the suffering of the people that has been considerable during the last 70 years. There was much blood and many tears left in cells,” he stated.

Author of the sculpture Iurie Platon said that work on the monument lasted for four years, but the result is worth the effort. “It was team work,” he stated.

The monument to victims of the Stalinist repression, cast in bronze, is three meters in height, 12 meters in length and weighs about 15 tonnes.

It is a symbol of the suffering of thousands of Moldovans who were deported in the 1940 – 1950 by the Stalinist-Communist regime. The deportees were taken by force to Siberia and Kazakhstan by trains from the Chisinau Railway Terminal.