February 28, 2014
US Backs Moldova Against Russian Pressures
Prime Minister Iurie Leancă Visits a Supportive White House
“This is an issue about whether a country in Europe’s east, a country that used to be part of the Soviet Union, is able to make a decisive move towards Europe,” says Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson. He noted a Russian threat to dismember Moldova, issued publicly in September by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy Rogozin while visiting Moldova’s capital.
Watch Damon Wilson’s comments on video:
“Moldova’s train en route to Europe would lose its wagons in Transnistria,” Rogozin declared at a press conference. He reinforced the threat with another – to cut off the Russian gas supplies on which Moldova is heavily dependent. “Energy is important,” Rogozin said at the time. “The cold season is near. Winter is on its way. We hope that you will not freeze this winter.”
Leancă heads a three-party parliamentary alliance, the Pro-European Coalition, that took office last summer after the opposition Communist Party forced its predecessor to resign. The country must hold elections for a new parliament before the end of this year. Leancă faces a delicate six months or so before Moldova might be in a position to finalize the agreements it initialed last year to build a broader economic relationship, including a free-trade deal, with the European Union. Moldova’s economy already is one of the poorest in the former Soviet Union, and Russia in September banned imports of Moldovan wine. It could do more damage by deporting Moldovan emigrants working in Russia, whose remittances to their home country are an important economic support.