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News 09 May 17

Moldova President Watches Moscow Parade with Putin

Moldova’s President Igor Dodon sat next to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a military parade in Moscow commemorating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. 

Ana Maria Touma
BIRN
Bucharest
Dodon, left of Putin, was the only head of state attending the Victory Day military parade in Moscow. Photo: agora.md

Moldova’s President Dodon attended Russia’s annual showpiece Victory Day parade on Tuesday, standing directly next to Vladimir Putin as Russia marked 72 years since the victory of the Soviet Army over Nazi Germany.

Dodon was the only head of state from the former Soviet republics to attend the event.

The Moldovan president is a vocal supporter of Russia and an opponent of his country’s relations with the European Union and NATO.

A press release from the Moldovan presidency stressed that it was the first time in 15 years a Moldovan president attended the May 9 parade in Moscow.

On Wednesday, Dodon has scheduled several meetings with government officials and the head of the Russian parliament, the Duma.

It is Dodon’s third visit to Moscow since he was sworn in in December 2016 and his fourth meeting with Putin.

On Sunday, for the first time in decades, Soviet tanks were also displayed in Chisinau’s central square on Dodon’s orders.

In the same square a year earlier, the pro-European government had displayed NATO equipment.

Dodon also recently opposed a government move to declare May 9 as Europe Day in Moldova.

“Nothing and nobody will make us forget the great achievements of our grandparents and great-grandparents! We remember and we’re proud,” Dodon wrote after visiting the display on Monday with his family and Socialist Party members.

“These are not your NATO Hummers,” he added.

During his electoral campaign and after he was elected president in November 2016, Dodon has been a very vocal supporter of Moldova’s participation in the Eurasian Economic Union, a trading bloc involving several ex-Soviet states with Russia as its biggest member.

He has also threatened several times to break the Association Agreement with the EU which Moldova signed in 2014.

However, he has been unable to keep this electoral promise without the backing of parliament and the government, which are both dominated by pro-European political forces.

Dodon has also opposed the establishment of a NATO liaison bureau in Chisinau and recently barred Moldovan soldiers from attending an alliance international exercise in Romania. 

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