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Economy

The debt of Moldovagaz to Gazprom has exceeded $6,200,000,000

On the occasion of the 20th founding anniversary, the Moldo-Russian company Moldovagaz meets with record debts to Gazprom. Thus, at the end of 2018, it reached the level of 431,660,000,000 ₽ or about $6,210,000,000 at the exchange rate.

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However, in his report, Gazprom mentions that Moldovagaz’s debt is zero and that the huge debt of $6,210,000,000 is included in the “reserve for credit losses” category. The majority (over 90%) belong to Transnistria, the region which paid absolutely nothing for what has been delivered by Gazprom since 2006.

The same document shows that last year payments made by Gazprom for the transportation of Russian gas on the territory of the Republic of Moldova to other states decreased by more than 22% to $47,100,000,000, which shows that the volume of transported gas has diminished.

Moldovagaz in its current form was founded in May 1999 and Gazprom has a 50% share, the Government of Moldova – 35.33% and the authorities in Tiraspol – 12.44%.

Reintegration

Protecting public health or violating freedom of movement? Protests in Transnistria

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On July 02, a protest has been registered in Ribnita (a city in the Transnistrian region). Dozens of city residents who work in Rezina (Moldova), blocked the bridge across the Dniester that connects the two localities. People complained they are not allowed to go to work because the Tiraspol authorities cancelled their permits to cross the bridge.

More than 70 people demanded free access to Moldova, as well as respecting their right to free movement. They also requested the cancellation of the obligation to stay in quarantine for 14 days upon return from Moldova.

On June 29, a decision of the Transnistrian authorities has been made, stating that the residents of the Transnistrian region are allowed to enter and leave the region without being quarantined upon return, in case they go to Moldova for maximum 12 hours.

Moreover, citizens from Transnistria, employed by companies on the right bank of the Dniester, were granted a temporary permit issued by the Tiraspol authorities in order to travel freely to their workplace and back. Once the permits were cancelled, these people were left without the possibility to go to work.

The Tiraspol authorities claimed that the permits were cancelled because at least 10 employees of factories in Rezina, who are residents of Ribnita, were infected with COVID-19. Therefore, avoiding a second wave of infections among the inhabitants of the Transnistrian region is aimed, according tot the the so-called Minister of Internal Affairs, Ruslan Mova.

Mova warned that people who organised the protest could be held accountable. He claimed people from Transnistria still have a choice, as they can enter the Republic of Moldova and stay there during the coronavirus pandemic or they can be quarantined when returning to Transnistria.

“The abusive actions of the Transnistrian structures are described as an act of defiance of the basic acts of the peacekeeping operation and a total disregard for the decisions approved at Unified Control Commission,” is mentioned in a press release of the the Bureau for Reintegration Policies from Moldova. The Transnistrian side’s manner of distorting the truth, misinforming the Commission and trying to manipulate public opinion was condemned by the Moldovan delegation, highlighting that the reduction in the Commission’s authority is a consequence of Tiraspol’s actions, as it also mentioned in the press release.

Source: Alexandr Podgoretchi

On the other hand, the OSCE Mission to Moldova expressed its deep concern about the unexpected cancellation by the Transnistrian side of permits for the residents of the region, is mentioned in an OSCE statement cited by INFOTAG News Agency

Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Claus Neukirch, urged the region’s authorities not to create artificial obstacles to the free movement of residents. “Although health measures are needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there must be a functioning mechanism to allow people to travel to their jobs, access healthcare services and other urgent needs even during the pandemic,” Neukirch said.

The OSCE Mission to Moldova also urged the Transnistrian administration to dismantle all border checkpoints installed in the last five months.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tiraspol unilaterally installed 37 illegal checkpoints in the Security Zone. Such actions impeded the free movement of about 50 thousand inhabitants from 11 localities and tensioned the relations between Transnistria and the Republic of Moldova, according to a statement of the Government.

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Politics

The effect of Russia’s constitutional changes on the Transnistrian region

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A nationwide referendum is held in the Russian Federation between June 25 and July 1 in order to amend the constitution of the country.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the opportunity to vote during several days was provided. The voting process is held outside and, in addition, contactless voting at home, electronic voting and voting using the Mobile Voter mechanism are available.

In the Transnistrian region, voting was allowed for three days, from June 28-30, the whole process being organised under similar conditions as in Russia, the Tass News Agency announced.

According to a survey conducted at 800 Russian polling stations from June 25 to June 28, the majority of voters opted for the amendments, 23.6% opposed them and 0.4% invalidated the ballot paper,

Beside the amendment offering the possibility of prolonging the presidential term of Vladimir Putin (until 2036 instead of 2024), there are a a few controversial amendments to the Russian fundamental law.

Source: Facebook| The Center for the Study of the Transnistrian Conflict Consequences

Russian federal territories

One of the most important articles of the Constitution of the Russian Federation that could be amended is article no. 67,  which provides for creation of federal territories in Russia and introduction of the expression “subjects of the Russian Federation”.

“By making this change, Putin wants to make sure that certain federal subjects do not leave the Russian Federation, such as Chechnya, Tatarstan or Crimea, the latter being illegally occupied by the Russian Federation. The territory of the Republic of Moldova doesn’t belong to  the Russian Federation. However, taking into consideration the priorities that President Dodon and socialist have, one could draw a parallel.

During the propagandist Moscow parade, Putin mentioned in his speech that all neighbours ‘are part of the Russian world’. Moldova, according to Vladimir Putin, is part of his strategic interest. The fact that 11% of the Moldova’s territory is hosting occupation troops proves it one more time,” said security policy expert Rosian Vasiloi.

Previously, President Igor Dodon claimed that federalisation is the only solution to solving conflicts in the Republic of Moldova, including the Transnistrian one.

Source: Facebook| The Center for the Study of the Transnistrian Conflict Consequences

Russia as the legal successor to the Soviet Union

In the same article, a paragraph was introduced, saying that the Russian Federation is the legal successor of the Soviet Union. Another amending paragraph states that the Russian Federation honours the memory of the “Fatherland’s defenders” and ensures the protection of historical truth. “The diminution of the importance of the act of heroism in the defence of the Fatherland is not allowed.”

Historian Andrei Cusco mentioned that the victory in World War II is a myth that represented the main pillar of the regime’s ideology after Putin came to power in 2000. “Russia has taken certain moments from the Soviet communist narrative and reinterpreted them to serve the interests and visions of the current regime,” Cusco said.

The Criminal Code of the Russian Federation prohibits the dissemination of information that expresses a clear disrespect regarding the days of military glory and memorable dates in Russia related to the defence of the Fatherland, as Meduza informed.

A good example is the reaction of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Moldova to the TVR Moldova declaration that June 22, 1941 was the day when Romania entered the World War II to liberate the Russian-occupied lands in the summer of 1940. “For Romanians, this date went down in history as the day of starting the fight for the reunification of the nation. The President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon, is not of the same opinion, as he stated that today is the day when the occupation of Bessarabia began,” it is said in the article.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation qualified the material as “uncivilised and extremely dangerous, because it justifies the war criminals.”

“Such tricks offend most Russian citizens who remember the common heroism of the Red Army that saved Europe from the Nazi plague.”

The perfect Russian child

One more completion to the constitution refers to children education, namely patriotism, citizenship and respect for the elderly.

The same approach existed during the USSR, when the principles of a very cultured man were considered love for the socialist homeland, friendship, companionship, humanity, honour, love for socialist work, etc.

 Marriage of a man and a woman

Another newly introduced amendment provides for the protection of the family, maternity, paternity and childhood, defending the institution of marriage as a union of a man and a woman, creating the conditions for a decent upbringing of children in a family, as well as for the fulfilment of the obligation to take care of parents.

Yet, another video promoting the amendment of the constitution promotes homophobia as well.

Crime against Russians

The Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner believes that the way of voting the amendments is not democratic. “There are many proposed amendments. Among them, there are those that I would be willing to support, but there are those that I am against of. Unfortunately, everything is organized in such a way, that either you order the entire dinner or none of the dishes,” he said.

Liubov Sobol, a Russian politician and lawyer at the Anticorruption Foundation, claimed that resetting Putin’s mandates to zero is a crime against Russians. “20 years were enough to implement all the reforms needed for our country. We saw that Putin failed. Corruption is flourishing in the country, we have a low level of education. There must be a change of power, and all eligible candidates must be allowed to run for president. People have to make a choice.”

This text is a translation. The original article here.

Photo: Facebook| The Center for the Study of the Transnistrian Conflict Consequences

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Diaspora

Record remittances sent to Moldova during the COVID-19 pandemic – expert’s explanation

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The remittances sent by Moldovans from abroad reached a record level in May 2020. The last time there was a larger amount of money transferred from abroad was only in October 2014.

The economic policy expert Veaceslav Ioniță believes that the significant increase is, paradoxically, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to his estimations, during the period of April-May, when there were quarantine and closed borders, Moldovan citizens could not bring into the country around $150 million. Part of this money were transferred through official transfer systems, that reducing the amount of unofficial transfers, is noted in the opinion published on the page of the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDSI) “Viitorul”.

According to the expert, one third of all money from abroad are usually transferred to Moldova through informal ways, without using any official money transfer channels. “Each year, Moldovans receive almost $1.2 billion through official transfers, but also they sell on the foreign exchange market about $2.1 billion. The difference of 900 million dollars per year is the money that is introduced into the country through informal ways,” said the expert.

The total recorded transfers between April to May amounted $227 million, that being $14 million more than in 2019. At the same time, the foreign exchange sales during this period represented only 50% of the last year’s amount – $259 million. “April and May 2020 were the only two months in the history of transfers, when the money came almost exclusively through official channels. This explains this ‘miraculous’ growth,” concluded Veaceslav Ioniță.

The number of Moldovan citizens aged 15 and over who were working or were looking for a job abroad was 352 700 in 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data. That represented 35,68% of the total available workforce of the country in the same year.

People living in the Republic of Moldova, along with the whole economy of the country, are greatly dependant on the remittances sent by the Moldovan citizens who live abroad. About 20% of all families with children in Moldova are supported by a family member who is a migrant. The concentration of such families in rural areas is three times higher than in urban areas, according to data from the NBS cited by the UNDP Moldova.

This money represent not only an important source of income for people living in Moldova, but also contribute to the increase of GDP nominal value. In 2018, the Republic of Moldova has been listed the 9th in a world ranking of remittances related to GDP, with a share of 16,1%, according to the World Bank data.

See also: Who? How? Where? Why? The migration profile of the Republic of Moldova

Due to the negative impact of COVID-19, remittances sent to Moldova are expected to decrease by 24-27% in the future, informed the UNDP Moldova. Decreasing remittance flows were predicted by the World Bank in the whole world. It was estimated that about 17% of all migrants have already stopped remitting to their families. In such a way, 23,4% of Moldovan households risk to be placed below the poverty line if they did not receive remittances.

Photo: Sharon McCutcheonUnsplash

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