Sunday, April 12, 2009

Updates on the Action in Chisinau From the Moldova Maven

BOULDER, Colorado -- My Romanian-speaking associate who has inexplicably chosen to study the country that I like to call "The Mississippi of the Former Soviet Union" offers up a number of additional juicy details on last week's unrest over elections.

1) Many opposition activists had claimed that the government received a special delivery of tear gas canisters from Moscow to deal with the protests, though both the Russians and Moldovans deny it.

2) It turns out many of the provocateurs on the government payroll to start the looting were wearing t-shirts that read "Basarabia: Romanian soil."

3) Either this dude is the world's most awesome protester, or he had a little help riling up the crowds with his EU and Romanian flag waving, as this video shows.

4) Here's what Fiodor Ghelici, a member of Moldova's Civil Congress of NGOs, had to say about the violence, as quoted by Infotag: "Everything that happened was a trap and the opposition got caught. It is obvious that had the authorities not wanted those buildings looted they would have taken clear-cut measures. I do not mean arms and batons used against the youth. But several thousand policemen with belts would have established order." There's a bit of money in the whole thing, too, for contractors that are cozy with the government. "In question are tens of millions of lei and some construction companies are already looking forward to repairing the parliament and the president's office," Ghelici said.

5) Meanwhile, the gangsters across the border in Tiraspol claim to have been unnerved by the incident.

6) As we mentioned earlier, international media were barred from entering the country during the protests. Dumitru Minzarari from the blog Political Moldova had this to say: "According to the Romanian ActiveWatch media monitoring organiztion [sic] and the Romanian Center for Investigative Journalistm [sic], on 7 april, at least 18 journalists who tried to come to Chisinau from Romania were stopped at the border, and turned back at the border crossing points Galati-Giurgiulesti, Oancea-Cahul. Moldovan border-guards invoked reasons as malfunctioning of their computerized system, and requested multiple papers such as written invitations, special medical insurance, press accreditation from Moldovan Foreign Ministry, while in order to cross the border only passport was needed for these journalists [under the usual visa regime]. They represent press agencies such as Associated Press, EPA, France Press, Intact Images, NewsIn, Mediafax, Reuters, and newspapres Evenimentul Zilei, Jurnal National, Ziua, and TV channel Realitatea TV."

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