What price Moldova will pay for the return to the Russian market

What price Moldova will pay for the return to the Russian market

White stripe

The new President of Moldova Igor Dodon is the second time in three months of his presidency, visited Moscow. On the morning of Friday, March 17, he spoke in Moscow at a business conference “Business Russia”, devoted to prospects of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. Black stripe in Russian-Moldovan relations is passed, the political risks for Moldova not declared there, the Moldovan leader.

After the conference an announcement in the Kremlin, held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Before that, they met in mid-January, during the first foreign visit of Dodona as President (while he was in Russia for nine years).

The main topic of the bilateral dialogue, according to the presidency, was to be the development of economic cooperation between the two countries. Putin, Dodon said that in two months have managed to achieve that five local companies came to the Russian market. On the return of Moldovan products, the presidents said in January. Then Putin promised that after the necessary checks, the number of Moldovan suppliers can grow. The socialist leader expressed the hope that not only will increase the number of workers in Russian enterprises, but also will be abolished import duties on fruits, vegetables, canned goods and wine products.

Promotion has been the issue of labour migration. In early March he announced that from Moscow he was informed about a “migratory Amnesty” for Moldovans. According to the estimates of Chisinau, more than 250 thousand citizens of Moldova have made immigration violations, and now they will have the opportunity to legalize their stay in Russia. “We will continue to think about how this issue completely close”, — Putin said in the Kremlin.

Finally, any progress on the interaction of Moldova and the Eurasian economic Union (EEU). Two months ago the socialist leader has announced its intention to actively participate in the integration projects on the territory of the former USSR and to develop a partnership with Moscow. He talked about the possible status of observer in the Eurasian economic Union (EEU). 3 APR Moldova will sign the EAEU framework agreement on cooperation, said Dodon on March 17. “I think this will facilitate the return of our goods on the Russian market, and not only Russian, but also the market of the EEU”, — said the President of Moldova (quoted by “RIA Novosti”).

Photo: Mikhail Metzel / TASS

The fly in the ointment

On the sidelines of a conference in Moscow the President of Moldova, commented on the scandal with the withdrawal of Russia’s $22 billion through Moldovan banks. According to anti-corruption prosecution service of Moldova, in the period from 2010 to 2014 from the Russian Federation through Moldova in the offshore was derived about 700 billion rubles (about $22 billion, according to the middle exchange rate of those years). In November 2015, on suspicion of orchestrating the scheme, was arrested financier Alexander Grigoriev. In Russia started investigation of this case. This week, Reuters reported with reference to sources in Chisinau, that the Moldovan intelligence has evidence of involvement in this scheme, a number of FSB of the Russian Federation. According to sources Reuters in the possession of the representative of the Moldovan Prosecutor General’s office of problems with passport control at the airport are directly related to the attempts of the FSB to slow down the investigation. “Now there is a very detailed investigation of this whole scheme, said on Friday the President stated. — I hope that the Russian colleagues of the law enforcement agencies will do everything possible to clarify this situation.” According to him, about the involvement in crime of FSB officers “talk is premature”.

The President-opposition

Dodon was elected President in the first direct presidential elections in Moldova in November last year. This country was led by Nicolae Timofti and the President was elected by Parliament. Timofti adhered to a Pro-European views and spoke primarily about the need to develop ties with the EU. In April 2014, citizens of Moldova received visa-free entry into the European Union, and in June of the same year the country signed the Association agreement and creating free trade zone with the EU. In response, in July 2014, Russia imposed customs duties on the import of Moldovan goods.

Dodon during the first visit to Moscow, promised that in case his Party wins the socialists in the next parliamentary elections in November 2018, he put the question of withdrawal from the Association agreement with the EU. Now Parliament remains Pro-European majority, and the parliamentary leaders criticized the initiative of Dodon’s rapprochement with Moscow. Last week the Parliament accepted the recommendation of officials to refrain from trips to Russia, as it became known that the Moldovan officials are subjected to “humiliating searches” at the entrance to Russia. According to the Moldovan parliamentarians, over the past few months on the screening procedure at the border complained at least 25 officials.

Chairman of the Moldovan Parliament Andrian CANDU threatened non-participation of Moldova in the meeting of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly. However, he criticized the stance of the Parliament, speaking in Moscow, said that the MPs will participate in the event regardless of the statements of the leadership of the Parliament and the government.

After the election of Dodon intensified dialogue on the Transnistrian settlement in January was the first in nine years, the meeting of the presidents of Moldova and Transnistria. The two sides discussed the problems of free movement of citizens, recognition of documents and communications. However, the February visit of Prime Minister of Moldova Pavel Filip to Kiev could jeopardize the rapprochement. Philip agreed with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on the establishment of joint control on the border of Transnistria with Ukraine on the Ukrainian side. The intention to establish such control was declared even in 2015, but the process was frozen.

The head of the foreign Ministry of the unrecognized Republic Vitaly Ignatiev described the initiative as the biggest threat to the negotiation process in recent years. Deputy foreign Minister of Russia Grigory Karasin visited Chisinau and Tiraspol in the beginning of the week, called it “painful for the Transnistrian colleagues.”

The decision of the Kiev and Chisinau on organization of joint control of the Transnistrian-Ukrainian border is today the most sensitive issue for Tiraspol, as with the point of view of threats to national security, and undermine the economic potential of Transnistria, said Anatoly Dirun, scientific Director of the Tiraspol School of political studies. “Having the boundaries of the unresolved conflict that persists in the status quo, primarily due to peacekeeping operations, which are effective, you have to understand that the imbalance of this mechanism to no good will not result. Experience shows that any blockade measures against Tiraspol for 25 years does not lead to the desired result, so you need to sit down at the negotiating table and continue the dialogue”, — said the expert.

The negotiation process can be continued. The Russian foreign Ministry after the visit Karasin said that Moscow will make every effort to the negotiation process between Moldova and Transnistria resumed.