Moldovan President: Russia Our Major Strategic Ally

Moldovan President and leader of the Communist party, Vladimir Voronin, named Russia as the country's major strategic ally, RIA Novosti reports. He made the statement at the 4th Moldovan Communist Party Congress opened Saturday in Chisinau, where he was the keynote speaker. The recent parliamentary election win effectively made the Communists the party in power. Voronin stressed that the Communists have come to power "in a country with a deteriorated and looted economy, with an impoverished populace and with a venal and corrupt bureaucracy." According to the data he cited, Moldova's GDP decreased threefold over the last ten years. The nation's agriculture and agriculture-related industries have declined to levels of 35 to 40 years ago. The nation's foreign debt is currently at $1.5bn. Unemployment and poverty have forced hundreds of thousands of Moldovan citizens to seek means for survival abroad. The party's priorities that Voronin named in his speech as capable of pulling the nation from its plight are economic recovery, improved living standards and consolidation of the public. Voronin then dwelled on the problem of Trans-Dniestria, a self-proclaimed republic in the territory of Moldova. He said strong political will was called for on both sides if Moldova is to be salvaged from the political split. The Moldovan president said he was satisfied about his first official meeting with Trans-Dniestrian leader Igor Smirnov, held April 9, which he said was candid, constructive, and helpful in stepping up the negotiation process. 410 delegates and numerous foreign guests are participating in the Moldovan Communist Party congress.

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