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Confirmed: Ex-Democrat MP arrested for treason and espionage, talking with aide to Russian military attaché in Moldova

On March 17th, the former Democrat deputy in the Moldovan Parliament, Iurie Bolboceanu, was arrested by the law enforcement bodies, being accused of treason and espionage, reports Newsmaker.md (March 19th), referring to two anonymous sources.

March 20th, 13.41, Chișinău time- The information on Bolboceanu’s arrest was confirmed by a source from the Security and Intelligence Service of Moldova for Ziarul de Gardă. ZdG’s source stated that there is enough proof and claimed that it is a case of classical espionage, mentioning that Moldova is a target of espionage actions from both West and East.

UPDATE, 14.21, Chișinău time: A representative of the Prosecution Office together with two officers of the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) confirmed the arrest of MP Bolboceanu, but did not confirm that he collaborated with a spy of Russia, mentioning only the term of “spy of a state”. The officers stated that the MP used to have a meeting with the spy every month, in order to offer a briefing of the socio-economical situation in exchange for money. They added that Bolboceanu used to collaborate with the foreign services for several years with different persons/agents of that foreign state. Moreover, Moldova’s SIS is monitoring other cases of spying.

Bolboceanu was arrested after the officers of the Prosecution office for fighting organized crime and special cases conducted searches at his house. The ex-Democrat MP is accused of treason and espionage in the context of his relation with, Alexandr Grudin, the aide to the military attaché of Russia to Moldova- “interested in obtaining national security information”.

According to the information obtained by Newsmaker, Bolboceanu and Grudin were conducting “strong measures of conspiracy”.

“Taking in account the events in Ukraine, one cannot exclude the possibility of the involvement of the Russian special services officers in organizing or supporting events oriented towards the destabilization of the socio-political situation in the country”, reads the prosecution document, obtained by NM.

Iurie Bolboceanu was also a figure in the 2014 case (Ziarul de Gardă) on the attempts to buy deputies for 200 thousand euros, meant to make them independent of the governing coalition and to make them not take part in the voting on several laws on the Association of Moldova and the EU. At that time, on 6 March 2014, Bolboceanu quit the Democratic Party caucus from the Parliament, but his move was not investigated.

Some might regard Bolboceanu’s arrest as a revenge action conducted by the Democrats in regard to his treason to the party, but also as another move of the governing coalition to show off in a diplomatic conflict with Russia to make an apparent good impression to the EU.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy. Inquiries at [email protected]

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2018 World Press Freedom Index: Moldova down to position 81

2 May 2018- Reporters without Borders (RSF) published their 2018 index of freedom of the press around the world.

The ranking of 2018 places Moldova on the 81st place, 1 position down compared to 2017 (80) with a score of 30,41 (-0,40).

RSF did not change its position on the media ownership and polarization in Moldova:

Moldova’s media are diversified but extremely polarized, like the country itself, which is characterized by chronic instability and the excessive influence of its oligarchs. The editorial line of the leading media outlets correlates closely with the political and business interests of their owners. Journalistic independence and media ownership transparency are major challenges. As media outlets battle with each other in a climate exacerbated by the Ukrainian crisis, the broadcasting regulatory authority’s lack of independence and excesses in the “fight against propaganda” continue to be a source of concern.

Romania was ranked 44th with 23,65 points, Ukraine 101st with 31,16 points, while Russia 148th with 49,96 points.

According to RSF, the freest media can be found in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Finland. The countries with the worst media freedom ranking are Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan.

The RSF underlines in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index that the global situation of the press is worsening, especially in Europe:

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The entry procedure on the left bank of the Nistru River will be simplified

The leader of the self-proclaimed Transnistria, Vadim Krasnoselski, signed an order establishing simplified control procedures at the entrance to the region. The decision comes in the context of winter holidays. The simplified procedures will be valid for the period December 30 – January 15, IPN reports on the regional press.

Krasnoselski also wanted to temporarily open additional ways of crossing the means of transport with passengers through the following points: Valea Adâncă-Zagnitkov, Ploti-Krutîe, Vinogradnoe-Novîi Butorî, Gruşca-Nemirovka, Krasnî Oktiabri-Vetrujeni, Raşcov-Vadul -Rascov, Ţîbulevka-Ţehanovka, Teia-Calfa.

Passengers, citizens of Ukraine and of the Republic of Moldova, will present the identity document or the document confirming the residence visa in one of the neighboring localities. Also, at all checkpoints, a simplified regime of goods verification will be applied during this period, except for those that are forbidden in the Transnistrian region.

Source: IPN

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Chișinău and Tiraspol sign protocols to solve issues of Latin script schools, telecommunication, diploma recognition and land ownership

On November 25th, the political negotiators of the Republic of Moldova and the separatist Transnistrian administration met in Bender to discuss technical issues ahead of the upcoming 5+2 negotiations in Vienna.

Accompanied by 5+2 mediators and observers, Reintegration Minister George Balan and the so-called “foreign minister” Vitalyi Ignatiev signed 4 protocols elaborated at the expert groups level. The protocols focus on 4 key issues:

  • Recognition of diplomas issued by education institutions in the Transnistrian region– the parties agreed to Chișinău accepting (apostillation) a neutral diploma issued in Transnistria;
  • Elimination of barriers in the telecommunication domain- establishing a direct connection of fixed and the mobile telephone network, as well as internet, after the negotiations between operators on both banks of Nistru river;
  • Elimination of barriers to the functioning of Romanian language (Latin script) schools in Transnistria- setting minimal rent and utility prices for the buildings rented out to these schools, setting 10 years as the minimal rent period for the buildings, providing the adjacent lands in use to the schools, providing conditions for free movement of teachers and pupils of these schools, but also the needed materials for their functioning;
  • Allowing farmers to use their lands across Tiraspol-Camenca road in Dubăsari district- applying the “2006 Mechanism” of distributing the lands to those persons owning them initially, stopping the use of lands by Transnistrian firms or persons (2014 distribution), stopping the penal cases against the latter by Chișinău.

Solutions to these problems are expected to be delivered by the joint expert groups.

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