Russia presses Moldova over detained writer

Law enforcement agencies believe Bagirov to be one of the masterminds behind the protests that shook Moldova in 2009 (RIA Novosti / Viktor Panov)
The situation surrounding the arrest of Eduard Bagirov in Moldova should be resolved as soon as possible, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Monday.

­Russia is concerned by the detention of one of its citizen by the law enforcement agencies in Moldova, the ministry said in a statement. Also on Monday, First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Denisov discussed Bagirov’s fate with Moldova’s Ambassador Andrey Negutu. In June, the Russian Embassy in Chisinau warned Moldova that Bagirov’s rights should be protected.

Moldovan law enforcement agencies believe him to be one of the masterminds behind the mass anti-government protests that shook the small republic 2009. However, no formal charges have been brought against him.

The Russian author and blogger was arrested in Chisinau on June 16. He has been held ever since in a pre-trial detention center.

After the opposition said the parliamentary elections won by the Communists in Moldova were allegedly rigged, about 10,000 protesters, many carrying flags of neighboring Romania, attacked the presidential and parliamentary buildings in April 2009. Several hundred rioters and policemen were injured.

Bagirov himself is certain the case against him is politically motivated. In a letter sent to friends, he sarcastically calls it a plus because that means the authorities could free him “any minute – if there is the political will to do so.” However, the minus is that it is “impossible to predict the outcome of the case.”  

The blogger is known in Russia for his book about migrant workers. He explained in a letter published by his Russian friend and fellow writer Sergey Minaev that investigators wanted him to give “discrediting evidence against high-ranking Moldovan officials.” Bagirov thanked all those who had helped him, and promised to continue “his resistance.”