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Moldova President Igor Dodon visiting Putin: After next elections, I will ask for cancelling the Association Agreement with the EU

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On January 17th, the President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon, met Russia President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Moldo-Russian relations.

The Presidents reportedly talked on the Transnistrian conflict settlement, returning the Moldovan goods on the Russian market, situation of Moldovan working migrants in Russia, economic and commercial cooperation, but also that in the humanitarian and cultural spheres.

In a joint press conference with Putin, Dodon also declared that he would pledge to cancel the Association Agreement of Moldova with the European Union, if his former Socialists’ Party (PSRM) wins a majority at the next Parliament elections.

“I pledged for the cancelling of this Agreement. This document has brought nothing to the Republic of Moldova. We lost the Russian market. (…)

I don’t exclude that, after the next Parliamentary elections when I hope that PSRM will obtain a Parliamentary majority, this Agreement will be cancelled”, declared Dodon.

Moreover, Dodon said that he came with the initiative to sign a memorandum of collaboration with the Eurasian Union: “I proposed that in some weeks we adopt the document. It is a first step of re-approaching. I also asked mr. Vladimir Putin to examine the possibility for the Republic of Moldova to obtain the observer position in the Economic Position in the Euroasian Union”, added the Moldovan President.

In his turn, Putin welcomed Dodon’s visit and showed interest to discuss issues of market sharing, migrant managing and settlement of Transnistrian conflict.

“Moldova is an important partner of Russia in the region. Unfortunately, we know that the relations between our countries are not the best lately. The diminishing degree of (business) affairs by two times speaks about it. I hope that your first visit in Russia will be an impulse to the development of the relations on all dimensions. Surely I and my colleagues are congratulating you on the victory in the elections”, stressed Putin.

Both agreed to accelerate the negotiations process on solving the Transnistrian conflict.


The Presidents exchanged gifts as well. Thus, Dodon gave Putin a sculpture of former Moldovan ruler Dimitrie Cantemir and the Russian czar Peter the Great as a sign of “centuries’ friendship”.

On the other hand, Putin offered to Dodon a Battle chess table and a map of the old Moldavia kingdom. Dodon had for no reason to stress that once Moldova contained a part of the current Romania, while the latter contains now a part of Hungary.

Igor Dodon is conducting his first foreign visit as President in Moscow, Russia. He stressed for several times that the relations with Russia are crucial for Moldova.

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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Politics

9 years passed since the 7 April 2009 anti-Communist protests

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Source: Radio Europa Liberă

7 April 2018- Nine years passed since the violent anti-governmental protests in Moldova from 7 April 2009.

On 6 April 2009, young Moldovans started to gather in the Great National Assembly Square, central Chișinău, protesting against the new Parliamentary majority of the Communists’ Party, led by Vladimir Voronin, won at the elections on 5 of April.

Source: zdg.md

Source: elldor.info

The protests escalated on 7 of April with marches of more than 15 thousand people on the central boulevard of Chișinău and chants against Voronin’s Communists. The rally eventually ended in a big group of protesters (read: provocateurs) making their way into the Presidency and Parliament buildings, after throwing pavement stones into guarding police officers and windows.

Source: publika.md

Then-President of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, called the protests a “coup d’etat,” while the Prime-Minister Zinaida Greceanîi ordered the police forces to make use of any means, including guns, to stop the violence.

On the night of 7 to 8 of April, approximately 200 people were arrested and tortured either in the Great National Assembly Square or the police departments.

One person, Valeriu Boboc, is thought to be the only official victim of the police brutality on 7 April 2009. Other 3 young people were found dead after 7 April 2009, but their cases were not linked to the protests.

Out of the 71 initiated penal cases, most were abruptly ended with no sentences. 11 policemen received suspended sentences.

Quite some police officers and politicians involved in the violent abruption of the protests from 7 April 2009 are still close to the power, proving the point that young people did not achieve the goal of change after the “Twitter Revolution”.

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Politics

EU report on Moldova Association Agreement: Considerably more progress is needed

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Source: euneighbours.eu

5 April 2018- The European Union presented a new report on the implementation of the Association Agreement by the Republic of Moldova.

The European officials recognize Moldova’s “some progress” in the implementation of reforms in line with the Association Agreement, but also the stabilization of the economy with conditional support from the international partners.

“The EU remains Moldova’s main trade partner. In 2017 total EU-Moldova bilateral trade amounted to EUR 4 billion, which represents a 18% increase compared to the same period of the previous year. The EU share in Moldova’s export has been increasing steadily since the entry into force of the AA/DCFTA, and it accounts for around 55% of Moldovan total trade”, reads the report.

Nevertheless, the EU underlines the need for considerably more progress in areas like anti-corruption fight, rule of law, democracy and good governance. The EU is particularly concerned about the widespread corruption in Moldova, the independence of justice, law enforcement and national anti-corruption authorities. The limited progress on the 2014 banking fraud investigation also raises doubts about the will to prosecute the guilty ones.

Here is EU’s assessment on different dimensions of Moldova’s Association Agreement implementation:

  • Democracy, human rights, and good governance

The EU is concerned that the Moldovan Parliament completely disregarded Venice Commission’s recommendation not to implement the mixed electoral system. Moreover, it points out to the fact that party and campaign financing issues were not fully addressed. The concentration of media ownership and monopolization of the advertising market is also relevant in this regard.

The EU acknowledges Moldova’s progress achieved in drafting an Audiovisual Code, continuing the Public Administration Reform and the alignment of budget planning with international practices (though lacking larger public participation in formulating and monitoring the annual budget).

On the human rights and rule of law, the EU reveals the lack of trust in the justice system, pointing at several examples of dysfunctionalities: the dismissal of a judge based on an unconstitutional opinion of intelligence services, the widespread use of pre-trial detention, the death of a mentally ill detainee in custody, only 3 out of 17 prisons compliance to minimum standards of detention. The report mentions the limited progress on the implementation of plans to combat discrimination, and women and domestic violence.

On Civil Society Organisations, the EU takes note of Chișinău’s attempts to limit the foreign funding for CSOs with political activities.

On Foreign and Security Policy, the EU takes note of the President Dodon’s rejection of the National Security Strategy, but also about the progress in the Transnistrian conflict settlement.

  • Economic development and market opportunities

The EU acknowledged the progress of the reforms in the banking and financial sectors, reforms particularly driven by the National Bank of Moldova.

The business environment is thought to be affected by corruption and inconsistent policies, accompanied by regulatory burden. The access to finance of SMEs is considered to be difficult.

The report mentions that the authorities claim the transposal of 10 out of 25 EU directives in the area of health and safety.

The reform of the pensions and health systems needs to be continued and developed, the EU believes.

On trade, the EU reports accounting for 55% of Moldova’s total trade with bilateral trade increasing in 2017 by 18% and some products like plums and grapes exceeding the zero-duty tariff rate quotas. The report reads that there are still discrepancies in product legislation, as well as sanitary and phytosanitary standards.

The reforms in public procurement are considered to be slowed down by conflicts of interest and lacked transparency.

  • Connectivity, Energy Efficiency, Climate Action, Environment and Civil Protection

The report takes note of the advancement in the transposition of the 3rd Energy Package by the Moldovan authorities by increasing the independence of the energy regulator. Still, the unbundling of gas and electricity transmission and distribution from production remains to be completed. 

On energy procurement, the EU mentions the irregularities in the 2017 energy procurement contest, though much more improved.

On climate change and environmental protection, the EU reports that the Moldovan authorities still lack the permanent institutional framework for combatting issues in the field.

  • Mobility and People to People Contacts

The report mentions that more than one million Moldovan citizens have benefitted from the visa-free regime since 2014, but that some related benchmarks in the anti-corruption and anti-money laundering are not met.

The report also lists the EU funding going to Moldova and its citizens.

The EU-Moldova Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), entered into force on 1 July 2016.

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Justice

Former MP Chiril Lucinschi condemned to 5 years and a half of prison for money laundering

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4 April 2018- The Court of Chișinău (Buiucani) condemned Chiril Lucinschi, former MP, and son of second President of Moldova Petru Lucinschi, to 5 years and a half of imprisonment. The sentence is also accompanied by a penalty fee of 27500 Lei for false declarations, and a ban of 4 years on occupying public positions.

According to the Anticorruption Prosecution Office of Moldova, half of Lucinschi’s two lands, his house, and 23 thousand euros were confiscated within the case.

“There is a feeling that the sentence was written in a place other than court. This sentence is illegal. We showed all proof destroying the accusations”, said the ex-MP after the court session, quoted by Newsmaker.

Lucinschi will be out of domicile arrest but under judiciary control until the final sentence is made public. Prosecutor Eugen Rurac did not indicate if he would appeal the decision, while Lucinschi’s lawyers said that they would contest the sentence and the 10 months long house arrest of their client at the ECtHR.

God forbid if you end up in court and have to face the Moldovan justice. I am sorry about the law students: they learn one thing and have to face another one. From the very beginning, the proof presented by the prosecution was illegal and the court should not have received it”lawyer Corina Stratan told Newsmaker.

Ex-MP Chiril Lucinschi risks up to 10 years of imprisonment for money laundering

Chiril Lucinschi was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Center and the Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office on May 25th. Lucinschi is accused, together with three representatives of a company, of money laundering from Banca de Economii (BEM), Banca Socială and Unibank.

Chiril Lucinschi, son of the second President of the independent Moldova Petru Lucinschi, has been a Liberal-Democrat deputy since December 2010. He left the Parliament in February 2017 and ceded 75% of shares at TV7 to an association of journalists.

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