Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 69

The Chisinau newspaper Kommunist has published the text of a letter signed by 57 out of the Moldovan parliament’s 104 deputies. The letter welcomes the planned Russia-Belarus Union as "conforming to current international integration tendencies," adhering to European models, and setting a positive example for "further movement toward integration in the CIS." The document, moreover, states that "the breakup of the Soviet Union was a tragic mistake for which our peoples have paid a dear price and continue to suffer." Communist and Socialist deputies, who hold a total of 28 parliamentary seats, drafted the letter and managed to collect the signatures of most of the Agrarians, the dominant group in the legislature. The document is not a parliamentary resolution, but a private expression of the signatories’ collective opinion. (Interfax, April 21; Basapress, Flux, April 18-19)

The letter is at variance with Moldova’s entire political development since 1989, yet, despite its oddity, reflects growing Soviet nostalgia among a political class and electorate faced with the unexpectedly high social costs of reforms. The fact that a majority of the parliament rallied behind this document shows the magnitude of the political obstacles that President Petru Lucinschi must overcome in carrying out the reforms. This alarm signal should help accelerate the presidential camp’s effort to create a United Social-Democrat party in advance of the February 1998 parliamentary elections. The party is meant to cut into the Socialist and Agrarian electorates and to replace the Agrarians as the president’s main political base in parliament.

Armenian, Azerbaijani Presidents Clear the Air after Armed Clashes.