Russia voices concern over Transdniester elections

AFP Photo / Vadim Denisov
The Russian Public Chamber has voiced concern about the forthcoming presidential poll in the breakaway region of Transdniester, where about 30 per cent of the population has Russian citizenship.

­The Public Chamber issued a statement on the Transdniester elections after receiving letters from the residents of the republic which pointed out serious problems with the economic and rights situations. The letters were sent by Russian citizens.

“Thus, Russia’s position on Transdniester lies well beyond the expert estimations or common interest,” the press service of the Public Chamber said.

“The letters that have been sent from Transdniester to the Public Chamber by our compatriots testify to the serious failure of the social and economic policy. They state the growing dissent over the living conditions, the drop in wages and the never-ending flow of the workforce abroad in search of work. The idea of emigration is especially popular among young people who do not see a future for themselves within the borders of the republic,” the statement reads.

“The reports about violations of citizens’ basic rights and freedoms sound extremely alarming. In the course of the unfolding elections struggle the incumbent president of the republic and his team are pressuring not only the participants of the political process, but also business representatives and leaders of the public organizations,” it reads.

The Public Chamber blasted such policies as unacceptable and once again said that the elections in Transdniester must be held in a true democratic environment and be open, honest and truly representative. The Russian organization also expressed its willingness to take part in the external monitoring of the elections.

Previously, Russia has expressed approval over the politics of Transdniester President Igor Smirnov, who has been in power for 21 years already. Moscow described Smirnov’s decision to run for a fifth term as a mistake.

“Smirnov has created an atmosphere of personal power that has put the republic into a state of deep social and economic crisis,” the head of Russia’s Presidential Administration, Sergey Naryshkin, said in mid-October. “There is a huge gap between ordinary people who are struggling and Smirnov's inner circle, who are only getting richer,” the Russian official added.

Meanwhile, the Russian peacekeeping force in Transdniester began a major counter-terrorist exercise together with Transdniester and Moldovan forces on Thursday. The exercise is aimed at honing the joint actions of the three armies in the course of a peacekeeping operation, reported the press service of Russia’s Western Military District. Special attention was paid to co-operation with local law enforcement and administration.