Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 77

At this initial stage in his presidency, Vladimir Voronin has thrown the European rhetoric of his predecessors Mircea Snegur and Petru Lucinschi overboard. Asked in Moscow whether Moldova aspired to join European institutions, Voronin replied that his country would join Europe together with Russia, Belarus and other CIS countries. While soft-pedaling his campaign promise to raise the issue of Moldova’s accession to the Russia-Belarus Union, Voronin declared in Moscow that his country might join some forums of that Union as an “observer.” Was Voronin aware that Slobodan Milosevic had requested that same status for Serbia?

Regarding GUUAM, Voronin stated that Moldova would consider withdrawing from that group “if GUUAM impairs the Russian Federation’s, and by implication Moldova’s, interests”–as if the two sets of interests were interchangeable.

Although Russia accounts for the lion’s share both of Moldova’s foreign trade and foreign debt, economics were barely touched upon during Voronin’s visit. Its one result in that sphere is a decision to exclude the Spanish company Union Fenosa from the tender to acquire two electricity distribution networks in Moldova. Union Fenosa is one of the precious few Western investors who ventured in Moldova. Last year it acquired three electricity distribution networks–out of the total of five–and made a promising start toward rescuing those three. Now, however, Chisinau questions that privatization deal and will not allow the remaining two networks to be privatized with Western capital. Instead, Chisinau will now keep those as state property and turn them over on the basis of a concession to Russia’s gas export company Itera.

Voronin also met in Moscow with Gennady Zyuganov and other leaders of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Zyuganov will attend and address the congress of Moldova’s Party of Communists, which is scheduled to be held next week on the anniversary of Lenin’s birth.

On that occasion, Voronin and his team will undoubtedly pay obeisance, not so much to Bolshevism as to Soviet Russia’s state legacy in the imperial peripheries, such as Moldova was and may soon become again if abandoned to its fate (Flux, Basapress, Infotag, Itar-Tass, Russian Television, April 17-19; see the Monitor, March 5, 7, 9, 13, 21, 27, April 5, 9, 16, 18).