The incumbent president of the Transdniestr republic of Moldova, Igor Smornov, won the presidential election that took place in the republic yesterday. Smirnov gained about 80 percent of the votes, according to information from the electoral committee of the republic. His main opponent, the former head of the administration of the city of Bendery, Tom Zenovich, received only seven percent of the votes in spite of the fact that President Vladimir Voronin and the leader of the pro-Moldavian lobby in Moscow, Yevgeny Primakov, staked on him. The third person running for presidency, the politician without any certain occupation, Alexander Radchenko, received only three percent of the vote.
The reaction from the Kremlin was immediate. First Deputy and foreign minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov stated to the Interfax news agency that Russia did not consider the presidential elections in Transdniestr valid. It was said that the elections “did not have any legal ground from the point of view of international laws.” Russia considers the Transdniestr republic to be “an unrecognized territory.”
It is a rather surprising thing that the Russian officials have just learned that this republic is an unrecognized state. They did not really care about this issue for ten years, and, now, here we go: the elections are illegitimate and the like. The political orientation changed in the relations between Russia and Moldova when Voronin came to power. The president with the pro-Russian position was doing everything possible to make his country become closer to Russia. There is nothing surprising here: Moldova is on the edge of an economic crisis. Chisinau will not be able to pay back $227 million to foreign creditors in the year 2002, and the country will most likely announce a default. The income in the current year made up only 69% of the planned level.
It is Russia that can save Moldova. It was then time for Yevgeny Primakov to get into the picture and work (Primakov is the presidential envoy in Transdniestr). Primakov and Voronin are trying to convince President Putin that it is time for the Kremlin to refuse from the support of the separatists from Transdniestr, for in case of the annexation of the Transdniestr republic, Moldova will join the union of Russia and Belarus immediately.
However, Russia has nothing to fish for in Moldova itself, but there is something to get in the unrecognized Transdniestr republic. The territory of this republic covers over 50% of the industrial potential of the former Soviet Moldavian republic. This snatch is worth it. It’s just getting started now.
In spite of the protests from Tiraspol (the capital of Transdniestr republic of Moldova), Moscow is withdrawing its military hardware from Transdniestr. The central television and the press media are racing to be the first to report about the corruption within the administration of the Transdniestr republic. Moscow is nodding when the president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, claims that the political regime in Transdniestr is corrupted and the mafia has all the power there. Well, the Kremlin is not the entire of Russia. The arguments must weigh much more in order to convince the Duma, especially after Smirnov’s victory at the elections yesterday.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
NTVRU.Com photo: Russia is withdrawing the military hardware from Transdniestr
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2001/12/10/34692.html
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now