Igor Dodon, the former leader of the party of Socialists of Moldova, elected President of Moldova as from 23 December 2016, made his first official visit as the head of the brotherly States since 2008. According to Mr. Dodon, the aim of his visit was the settlement of “fundamental issues of bilateral relations faced by the citizens of the Republic of Moldova: trade, migration, and conflict in Transnistria”. He strongly hinted that he is configured to adjust policy in relation to Russia by his predecessors: “Moldova is a small country. There should be no bias… the last time was too much anti-Russian rhetoric”.
On the question of cultural and political magazine “E-Vesti” about the trade issues interesting to Moldova from the point of view of the national interests, Mr. Dodon drew attention to the fact that previously 80% of agricultural production of Moldova were sold to Russia. But after the country signed an agreement with the EU on free trade, more than half of Russian exports turned lost. “We started to solve this problem at the beginning of 2015, we has been created, for example, Gagauz enterprises, which can now deliver their products to the Russian market. Also we started to open a few dozen companies on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. But systemically, we have not succeeded to solve this problem,” he said.
The aim of Moldova is to return to the free trade regime with Russia, which, in turn, sees the threat of re-export from the EU and, in particular, from Poland. The extension of the list of enterprises allowed to supply goods to the Russian market is negotiated now, as well as the revision of the customs duties that “do less competitive” Moldovan goods on the Russian market.
As has told on a press-conferences the President of Moldova, now it is told about the signing of the framework agreement of Moldova with the Eurasian Union (EEU) and he asked Vladimir Putin to give the country observer status in the EurAsEC (Eurasian economic Commission).
In addition, according to the press service of the company “Gazprom”, on 17 January 2017 Igor Dodon held talks “on cooperation in the gas sphere,” about the Russian gas supply to Moldova and transit through Moldova’s by state-owned JSC “Moldovagaz”. The current contracts between companies are valid until 2019. In 2016, the supply amounted to 3 billion cubic meters.
In response to the second question by “E-Vesti” about the vision problems of labor migration from Moldova, Igor also outlined specific achievements in the alleviation of 300’000 of his countrymen.
According to evaluation of I. Dodon, Russia currently has about 700 thousand citizens of Moldova, including those with Russian citizenship (officially – 500 thousand). About 250 thousand of them have violations of immigration laws and afraid to leave Russia in order not to lose the opportunity to come back here, and another 50 thousand Moldovans who have lost the opportunity to work here, would like to come again from Moldova.
“Fundamentally the President Putin has told, – shared Mr. Dodon – that 50 thousand citizens of Moldova who are placed in Moldova and do not have serious violations, for example, criminal, they could freely come back to the Russian Federation with appropriate registration (in the coming weeks a solution will be signed)…
For the remaining 250 thousand people we will search solutions.”
Concerning the issue of Transnistria, the Moldovan President expressed hope “to get closer to the solution in 2-3 years .”