Vladimir Voronin’s Moscow visit went almost unnoticed by Russian officials.
Photo: Michail Galustov
Kremlin Won't Let Moldovan President In
// He was received only at the theater and restaurant
Friendship of Nations
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin arrived in Moscow last weekend on a private visit and tried to keep a low profile. He went to the birthday party of his close friend, the entourage of the president told Kommersant. However, a high-placed source in the Russian presidential administration claimed that Voronin had been seeking meeting somebody from the Kremlin for two days. Apparently, Vladimir Voronin wished to mitigate the conflict with Moscow which is fraught with grave economic problems for Moldova.
Vladimir Voronin arrived in Moscow on Friday and flew away last night. Neither the Moldovan nor the Russian press covered the Moscow visit of the president. A high-ranking source at the Russian presidential staff, who asked to be unnamed, reported to Kommersant that Vladimir Voronin had come to seek a meeting with somebody of the Russian leadership. “He has chosen some unofficial occasion to come – a wedding, or something like this, and even tried to get to Putin. They did not let him in at the very top, so he started knocking on the doors of a lower level – the Security Council, the Government and the Foreign Ministry. But he was turned down everywhere,” the Kremlin official recounted.
Vladimir Voronin is a rare guest in Moscow. After he refused to sign “Kozak’s memorandum” (the plan of the Transdniestrian settlement drafted by Dmitry Kozak, then deputy head of the Kremlin staff) in November 2003, he gets to Moscow only for CIS events. By the way, according to our information, once Vladimir Voronin stepped on the Russian soil, they showed him November 25 issue of Kommersant containing an interview with Mr. Kozak where the Russian official had given a long story of the Russian-Moldovan row and was quite forthcoming about Mr. Voronin.
The view of the Moldovan party on the reasons for Vladimir Voronin’s Moscow visit is completely at odds with the Kremlin one. Vladimir Voronin and his family flew to Moscow on a private visit and his program in Moscow was non-political, Mark Tkachyuk, aide of the Moldovan president for internal affairs, told Kommersant.
On Friday, the Moldovan president went to the Variety Theater for Don’t Dress for Dinner featuring Gennady Khazanov and congratulated the actor on his coming 60th anniversary. On Saturday, Voronin celebrated the 70th anniversary of his old friend and the last Soviet Trade Minister Kondrat Terekh at Marco Polo restaurant. “They’ve known each other for 30 years, they used to work together. By the way, there were many VIPs at the birthday – ministers, cosmonauts and artists,” Mr. Tkachyuk said. He dismissed the Kremlin’s allegations out of hand: “No one haunted thresholds in Moscow. There were no official contacts and even attempts to have them.” The aide would not comment on Dmitry Kozak’s interview and called it another episode in “the exchange of boxes on the ear”.
President Voronin actually came to the Russian capital to somehow try and mitigate the conflict which threatens Moldova with a problem winter, according to the information Kommersant obtained. Moscow has already introduced customs barriers on food imports from Moldova and curbs on the procurement of the Moldovan wine, the country’s main item of export. Gazprom is determined to raise gas prices for Moldova for the world level from the next year. There’s more to it, Russia does not extend these sanctions for Transdniestria. Vladimir Voronin qualified it as the Russian economic blockade and turned to the EU and the United States for help. But the West, unwilling to spoil relations with Russia, advised the Moldovan president to settle the conflict amicably. Yet, the first attempt at the making-up spectacularly fell through.
While the Moldovan president wined and dined in Moscow, his main foe, the leader of the breakaway Transdniestrian republic Igor Smirnov, visited Kiev. Formally, Smirnov went to congratulate Vladimir, Kiev and All-Ukrainian metropolitan, on his 70th anniversary. The Transdniestrian Foreign Ministry reported that Mr. Smirnov also met high-ranking Ukrainian diplomats. The fact is that from December 1, the Transdniestrian-Ukrainian border will be monitored by an international legation, which will make foreign-economic activities of the self-proclaimed republic extremely difficult. Tiraspol has been importing through Ukraine everything it needs until recently. So the Transdniestrian leader came to Kiev to try and gain guarantees to keep the status quo after the international monitoring has bee introduced.
Negotiating with Kiev, Transdniestria thus tightens its stance on relation with Chisinau. Today, the Transdniestrian parliament is set to repeal documents that have regulated the course of negotiations with Moldova so far. Among the papers to be annulled are the decree as of 1993 on the Transdniestrian conflict settlement on the basis of confederacy and the decree as of 2001 that provides for a joint Tiraspol-Chisinau constitution commission and the federative organization of the would-be joint state.
All the Article in Russian as of Nov. 28, 2005