Moscow Times: Why Moldova has turned its back on Russia

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July 26, 2012, 7:47 p.m. | Op-ed — by Anders Aslund

Moldovan protesters shout anti-Russia slogans as they display a Moldovan flag next to the Russian Embassy in Bucharest on January 9, 2012. Around 100 people from Moldova, mainly students, gathered in a protest against the presence of Russian Army in the Moldovan separatist region of Transdniestr. On January 1 Vadim Pisari, an 18-year-old young man from Moldova, was shot dead by a member of Russian peacekeepers at Vadul lui Voda checking point between Moldova and Transdnietr.

Anders Aslund

Anders Aslund has been a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute since 2006. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. He examines the economic policy of Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe, as well as focuses on the broader implications of economic transition.

Moldova has become the poorest country in Europe because of a troublesome transition and the protectionism of the European Union, Russia and Ukraine.

Being dominated by agriculture, it has been more vulnerable than any other post-Communist country. While the EU was protectionist at the outset, today Russia is the main culprit. The EU share of Moldova's exports increased from 35 percent in 2000 to 51 percent in 2011, while Russia's share plummeted from 45 percent to 20 percent.

According to Freedom House, Moldova is the freest and most democratic post-Soviet country. The Communists ruled for many years, but its current government is a democratic center-right coalition.

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