03 March 2005

Moldovans Prefer European Election Monitors

Andy at Siberian Light notes a report that Moldovans don't want CIS election observers. He comments:
Moldova does, however, want OSCE and Council of Europe observers.

Can you imagine the hurt and suffering the poor man [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov] is going through as he ever so slowly comes to terms with the heartbreaking knowledge that there are people in former Soviet states that actually don't trust Russia?
Andy's post attracted a cynical comment that cites an article on the IWPR website about the recent elections in Kyrgyzstan.
This article, perhaps unwittingly, demonstrates that the real protests are not taking place in the name of democracy, but are orchestrated by local regional powerbrokers.
UPDATE: The Financial Times has more on the Moldovan elections (via Instapundit).
At first sight, Sunday's parliamentary elections in Moldova, an impoverished former Soviet republic wedged between Ukraine and Romania, look like fertile ground for a political battle between Russia and the west.

President Vladimir Voronin, the Communist party leader who came to power on a pro-Moscow ticket four years ago, is confronted by centre-right and rightwing opposition parties.

Following the success of popular protests that forced changes of government in Ukraine and Georgia, Moldova might seem ripe for a similar upheaval. But the parallels are misleading. Far from calling on Moscow for support, the veteran Communist president has transformed himself into a pro-west leader, anxious to build ties with the European Union.

In an attempt to exploit the popularity of Ukraine's Orange Revolution and the Rose Revolution in Georgia, Mr Voronin has also recently wooed those countries' new democratic leaders - Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko and Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili.

And, to the Kremlin's considerable annoyance, he expelled 19 Russian "poll monitors" accusing them of meddling in the election.

Mr Voronin hopes his tactics can help settle Moldova's biggest challenge - the conflict with its Russian-backed separatist enclave, Transdnestria. But he clearly also hopes his manoeuvres will allow his party to retain control of parliament and be in a position to extend his own power when deputies vote for a new president later this year.

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