Wikileaks Moldova

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Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 13:25

Wikileaks Moldova

Embassy Chisinau
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Re: Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 13:47

07CHISINAU1383 MOLDOVA MEDIA MACHINATIONS
Created on 2007-11-23 Released on 2011-08-30 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Chisinau


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SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/UMB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/23/2017
TAGS: PGOV ECON PHUM MD
SUBJECT: MOLDOVA MEDIA MACHINATIONS

Classified By: Ambassador Michael D. Kirby for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) On November 17, John Maxemchuk (protect), General Director of Sun Communications, an American joint-venture cable and internet service provider, told Econoff of a request made to his company to stop the transmission of television channels that compete with pro-President Voronin television channels. (NOTE: Maxemchuk is also the founding President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova. He is well and favorably known to the Embassy. END NOTE.)

2. (C) Maxemchuk told Econoff that his Moldovan partner received a call from Vladimir Plahotniuc, General Director of Petrom-Moldova, and Chairman of the Board of Victoriabank, regarding Sun's problems with the National Agency for the Protection of Competition (ANPC). (NOTE: Moldova's newly established ANPC recently ruled against Sun's cable operations. END NOTE.) Plahotniuc, a close business associate of Oleg Voronin, President Vladimir Voronin's son, offered to make Sun's problems with ANPC go away - for a price. Plahotniuc said his associates wanted Sun to stop the transmission of three Russian television channels broadcast via Sun's cable system, NTV, TNT and STS. According to Maxemchuk, Plahotniuc indicated that his business associates separately hoped to acquire the rights for the three television channels. The son of former Moldovan President Petru Luchinschi controls the re-broadcast rights for NTV and TNT; a lesser known Moldovan businessman controls the re-broadcast of STS. We believe Plahotniuc didn't want competition from these three channels for Russia's Channel One (ORT) in Moldova and the Moldovan NIT channel. It is widely believed that Oleg Voronin owns the re-broadcast rights for ORT, and NIT is overwhelmingly pro-President Voronin.

3. (C) Sun has 75,000 cable subscribers (about 50% of the market share) in Chisinau, and competes with 15 smaller cable
companies. According to national media ratings, Maxemchuk noted, the top five foreign and domestic television channels in Moldova are: ORT, STS, NIT, Moldova One (state television), and NTV. If Oleg Voronin and associates succeed in shutting down the re-broadcast of these television channels, or if they acquire the rights to re-broadcast NTV, TNT and STS, the financial benefits from advertising would be great. Additionally, President Voronin and his son would dominate broadcast media in the run-up to the 2009 national elections.

4. (C) COMMENT: Maxemchuk and his partner rebuffed Plahotniuc's request. Maxemchuk was worried about the influence of Oleg Voronin's associates and the possible repercussions for his decision not to cooperate on his own business. Maxemchuk was also concerned about the future of broadcast media in Moldova. This case might provide insight into President Voronin and the Communist Party's (PCRM) thinking ahead of the 2009 election. If the PCRM believes defeat is likely (based on the results of the June local elections), perhaps the Voronin clan believes that acquiring control of the most important media - television - will help
mitigate the risk. Alternatively, the Voronin family and its close associates may simply wish to fatten their pockets further during their remaining time in power. KIRBY

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Re: Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 15:02

08CHISINAU324 NEW PRIME MINISTER GRECEANII: SOMEONE WE CAN WORK WITH
Created on 2008-03-21 Released on 2011-08-30 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Chisinau

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SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/UMB AND INR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/18/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL MD
SUBJECT: NEW PRIME MINISTER GRECEANII: SOMEONE WE CAN WORK WITH

Classified By: Ambassador Michael D. Kirby, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: On March 21, President Voronin nominated First Deputy Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii to be Prime Minister. She will present her cabinet and program within 15 days, and easily win a Parliamentary vote of confidence. We look forward to working with her, with all her paradoxes. She is flexible, but loyal in the end to Voronin; she is widely perceived to be technically competent, honest, and easy to work with, but a tough negotiator; she was born to Moldovan parents exiled to Russia in 1956, but remains a Communist. She has taken on board many USG-instigated ideas (such as the Guillotine law), is well-informed, and seeks information. She is a quick study, and will need to be, given her limited experience with defense and foreign affairs. End summary.

2. (C) Greceanii will have no trouble with the Parliamentary vote. She needs 51 (out of 101), and the Communists hold 55 seats.
Opposition figures have also spoken favorably of her, expressing admiration for her as the best choice, a competent official, and a
sympathetic personality. Even Vitalia Pavlicenco, the firebrand anti-Communist head of the free-market National Liberal Party,
praised her as a good organizer and one knowledgeable about market economies. Several politicians noted positively that she is
Moldova's first female Prime Minister. Criticisms from opposition politicians of Voronin's change of prime minister emphasized that the Communist Party (PCRM) was engaged in window-dressing, making a desperate change to shore up its chances before March 2009 Parliamentary elections, or attempting to attract women's votes.

3. (C) Our relations with Greceanii have been both positive and extensive. USAID has a long working relationship with her on
business regulatory reform, and credit her with helping push the Government of Moldova (GOM) to adopt in December 2005 the Guillotine Law, which simplified regulation and registration of businesses. In the summer of 2007, she cooperated closely with us to effect needed changes to the President's capital amnesty regulation and adoption of a new, modern anti-money-laundering law. In connection with the Millennium Challenge Corporation's Threshold Country Program (TCP), she has enthusiastically promoted civilian board membership on the Center to Combat Economic Crimes and Corruption overriding others who did not want civilian oversight. She fights her own corner well, however, and has kept Moldova from signing on to procurement reform as part of the TCP.

4. (C) Other interlocutors in Chisinau, such as the IMF and UNDP, have reinforced her image as a tough, well-informed negotiator, but always pleasant to work with, and willing to listen to competing viewpoints. Co-chairing the Moldova-Russia Bilateral Economic
Commission, she led the negotiations with Gazprom which negotiated gradated price increases for natural gas from 2006 to 2010, at a pace that permitted the Moldovan economy to absorb the extra costs over time. The solution reached with Gazprom met their desire for market prices for natural gas, while simultaneously providing for a predictable, measured transition for Moldovan consumers.

5. (C) Comment: With all her experience, Greceanii will have to learn quickly about defense and foreign affairs beyond bilateral
economic issues. We expect that, as always, she will be a quick study. And, for all her friendly manner and willingness to listen,
we also know that her final loyalty is to President Voronin. At the same time, she will provide counsel on economic matters that reflects sound understanding of how market economies are supposed to work and that Moldova would benefit in the long run from the creation of a well-functioning market economy.

Kirby

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Re: Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 15:50

09CHISINAU287 Created on 2009-04-08 14:59 Released on 2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Chisinau

Election Protests Turn Violent - President and Parliament Buildings Trashed

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SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/UMB

E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM MD
SUBJECT: Election Protests Turn Violent - President and Parliament Buildings Trashed

Summation up to April 7

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please Protct Accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: After unoffiial April 5 election results gave a majority t the ruling Party of Communists (PCRM), thousand of Moldovans took to the streets on Monday, Aprl 6. A candle-lit vigil of some thousands on te evening of April 6 remained peaceful
with calls for democracy and election recount. However, on April 7 what started as a peaceful morning demonstration mutated into an orgy of rock-throwing destruction. Protestors broke windows and eventually succeeded in over-running both the residency and Parliament buildings. Looters tossed furniture out the windows of the parliament, while others set bonfires. Flames smoldered most of the afternoon. In the evening of April 7, as random destruction of files and equipment from both buildings continued, opposition leaders drew some of the crowd away from the smoldering buildings toward the national square in front of the government building two blocks away, and thousands rallied peacefully listening to speeches and chanting slogans. By midnight most of the crowd had dispersed. The Presidency suffered mostly from broken windows; the parliament building sustained heavy
damage. End Summary.

Street Protests Turn Violent
----------------------------

2. (SBU) On the morning of April 7 some 10-15,000 protestorsQmostly high-school and university students--gathered in the center of the city and walked along the main street to the Presidency and Parliament buildings carrying Moldovan flags and banners. Thousands milled around on the street in front of both buildings (which face each other across the main boulevard that runs through downtown Chisinau). At around noon, the situation started to turn ugly. Some riot police moved in; protestors began throwing stones and chunks of concrete which they had hammered out of the pavement. The police were eventually
forced to retreat; the crowd grew bolder, hurling more stones and breaking windows of the presidency.

3. (SBU) The violence then got out of hand as stone-throwing continued until both the Presidency and Parliament building had been breached. Protestors took complete control of the presidential building and looted it, burning files and documents. Windows
were broken on all floors and items were thrown from all levels. Two Moldovan flags were displayed from the building through broken windows and the EU flag remained on the roof of both buildings. The first floor of the Parliament was on fire by mid-afternoon, damaging the main meeting hall.

4. (SBU) While rioting and looting were going on around Parliament and the Presidency, opposition leaders Filat (Liberal Democratic party), Chirtoaca (Chisinau Mayor and Liberal Party deputy leader) and Urechean (Our Moldova Alliance) tried to calm the crowd at the central square about 250 meters east of the Parliament and Presidency; they attracted some listeners, who cried "Liberty" and "Down with Communism," but realized that their efforts were not calming the protesters. Events continued at two locations Q the rioting at the presidential and parliament buildings and the crowds listening to speeches two blocks away at the central square. Observers noted that there were some injured, including policemen.

President Voronin Meets with Ambassadors
----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) President Voronin called in ambassadors from the U.S., Czech Republic, and European Commission for a meeting at 1700 hours. The President said the situation was getting hard to control. The President said he had met with the three opposition leaders (Urechean, Filat, Chirtoaca), but there was no positive outcome from the meeting. The opposition leaders claimed they could not control the protestors, who had gathered on their own. The President said the government wanted a peaceful resolution to the protests. Voronin asked the ambassadors to contact the opposition and convince them to avoid violence.

Ambassador Meets with Opposition Leaders
----------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Several government officials put all blame on the three main opposition leaders, Urechean, Filat and Chirtoaca, accusing them of attempting to stage a coup d'etat. As the President had suggested, in the late evening the Ambassador met with each of these three leaders, and urged the leaders to help stabilize the situation. Each of the leaders denied that they had playing any
role in organizing the violence, and Chirtoaca explained his role in leading thousands of protestors away from the burning Parliament and towards the peaceful demonstration and speeches in the square.

They described electoral fraud and manipulation, and said they were demanding a recount. Each of the three leaders expressed concerns that he would be arrested.

Comment
-------

7. (SBU) No one was expecting what began as a peaceful demonstration to take a turn for the worse. While many accusations are being hurled about who organized the violence, eyewitnesses noted that the transition from peaceful protest to violence appeared to evolve spontaneously without leaders, as crowd psychology took over after the first rock was thrown. While police restrained their reaction, the crowd vandalized and destroyed the Parliament and Presidency. The violent activity remained contained to a one-block radius. Just two blocks away, one would not even know that protests were taking place nearby.

CHAUDHRY

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Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 16:08

09CHISINAU290 Created on 2009-04-10 14:47 Released on 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Chisinau

SUBJECT: SPEAKER LUPU DISINFORMS AMBASSADOR ABOUT NGO VOTE COUNT SUPPORTING COMMUNISTS


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C O N F I D E N T I A L CHISINAU 000290

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/UMB, DRL/AE

E.O. 12958: Declassify 04/09/19
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PINR MD
SUBJECT: SPEAKER LUPU DISINFORMS AMBASSADOR ABOUT NGO VOTE COUNT SUPPORTING COMMUNISTS

REFS: A. Chisinau 0288 B. Chisinau 0287

Classified by Ambassador Asif J. Chaudhry under 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: In a public pull-aside, Moldovan Parliament Speaker Marian Lupu informed Ambassador Chaudhry that Coalition 2009, Moldova's election- watching NGO coalition, had its own vote figures, which agreed with Central Election Commission
(CEC)figures showing a win for the Party of Communists (PCRM) in April 5 parliamentary elections. Lupu expressed his concerns that someone was pressuring Coalition 2009 to destroy its court records, and thus render it unable to support PCRM claims. However, a Coalition 2009 spokesman gave a completely different account of PCRM vote-rigging and pre-electoral violations.
End summary.

2. (C) After conducting an April 9 tour for ambassadors of the Parliament building that was burnt out and vandalized in April 7 riots, Lupu pulled Ambassador Chaudhry aside in front of the other Ambassadors, and whispered his message: Coalition 2009, a consortium of NGOs set up to watch and report on the campaign and April 5 parliamentary voting, had figures which agreed with those of the CEC. CEC figures, still unofficial, showed the PCRM with about 50 percent of the vote, and either 60 or 61 seats in the 101- seat unicameral Parliament. (Note: 61 votes are needed to elect the next president; all other seats have been captured by three opposition parties who have vowed not to cooperate with the PCRM. End note.) Still whispering, Lupu expressed his worries that someone was urging Coalition 2009 to destroy its records, and thus deprive it of the opportunity to support the CEC
figures and the PCRM win.

3. (C) To check these claims, we called Coalition 2009 Executive Director Igor Botan, and asked a general question about his assessment of the election, without raising the question of Coalition 2009's knowledge of vote figures. Botan replied by repeating the Coalition's April 7 press conference statement that the election was "incorrect and partially free." To support his argument, he cited two methods used by the PCRM to rig the election: thousands of addenda to ID cards (which allowed voters to present an
unstamped ID to election officials in another of Moldova's 1,997 precincts, and vote again), and multiple voters listed at one address, to the occasional surprise of a voter who checked the list and noted unknown persons living at his or her address.

4. (C) Botan continued to criticize the PCRM, citing the bias of mass media and the misuse of administrative resources by the PCRM. "People were brainwashed by government media. Also, think what some poor peasant thinks when the President shows up in his district, and pensions are paid on April 1." In response to a question about any group holding independent vote counts or
estimates, Botan replied that the role of Coalition 2009 was only to provide information on and monitor voting procedures, and monitor mass media.

Comment
-------

5. (C) At no time did Botan hint that he had any facts or figures that would support CEC vote figures and a PCRM victory. In fact, all his responses were negative, revealing a strong disparity between what Lupu claimed, and what Coalition 2009 asserted. (We do not know whether the coalition actually does have vote numbers, if only the raw numbers of those counted at all poling stations by observers from an NGO affiliated with Coalition 2009.) We cannot judge whether Lupu is deliberately misinforming us or
engaging in wishful thinking, but in either case he was far from the truth.

Chaudhry

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Re: Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 16:32

09CHISINAU295 Created on 2009-04-10 15:43 Released on 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Chisinau

President Calls for Full Vote Recount

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 CHISINAU 000295

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/10/19
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM EU MD
SUBJECT: President Calls for Full Vote Recount, Blames Opposition for Violence

1. (C) Summary: In a meeting on April 10 with President Vladimir Voronin, Ambassador Chaudhry stated USG concerns about arrests of protestors, beatings of journalists, threats to expel students from school for participating in anti-government
demonstrations earlier in the week and pressure on teachers to keep students away from protests. The Ambassador stressed the importance of freedom of expression and spoke against any violent expression of opinion. President Voronin blamed the opposition for planning the violent protests and for not waiting until votes were fully tallied to complain. He was suspicious about the
involvement of foreign states. To get beyond the current impasse, the President called for a full recount of the votes. Voronin said he had no information about journalists being attacked and noted minors who had been arrested had been released on April 10. The President said the law stipulated that the new legislative and executive branches would have to be constituted by June 7.
End summary.

Ambassador Expresses USG Concerns
---------------------------------
2. (C) The Moldovan government (GOM) reaction to the violent protests on the Tuesday, April 7, was not excessive, the Ambassador noted. On the second and third day of the protests (April 8-9), however, journalists were beaten and students were
arrested, the Ambassador stated. We have concerns about harsh measures against media, GOM threats to expel students, and governmental pressure on teachers to stop their students from participating in demonstrations, the Ambassador continued. The
Ambassador made clear that the USG does not support violence, but also believes in freedom of expression. The arrests should stop, the Ambassador stated.

3. (C) Opposition leaders claimed that multiple voting had taken place by one person, the Ambassador noted. He urged the President to find a way to legitimize the elections.

4. (C) The Ambassador recognized that it was hard but government must find a balance between allowing people to express themselves and preventing violence. He urged that the government and opposition cooperate to find a way forward constructively.

5. (C) The American diplomat reminded the President that the USG's Millennium Challenge Corporation's compact program could be jeopardized by the recent events.

President Lays all Blame on Political Opposition
--------------------------------------------- ---
6. (C) Voronin said he was impressed that the U.S. had not been indifferent to recent events in Moldova, unlike "European structures" which deserved the President's "objective criticism." The President told the Ambassador that the opposition had started the violent protests and were to blame for the destruction in the presidency and parliamentary buildings. The government had evidence that the opposition had planned the demonstrations before election day. Even a month before voting day the opposition had been talking about fraud, the President noted. The scale and results of the protests were unexpected, and most surprising, the President added, the protests had taken place regardless of international observers' positive evaluation of the elections.

7. (C) The President said that government observed three sets of people who had been involved with the protests: children (note: meaning high schoolers), university students and "forces representing criminal and quasi-criminal elements." The GOM had good-quality video of the people who had damaged the presidential office building. The government would identify the culprits and bring them to justice, the President promised.

8. (C) Voronin mentioned that the GOM had evidence that "foreign states" were also involved in the violent protests. He also mused that the "old scenario" of the color revolutions had worked several years ago, but not in Moldova's case. "Those who wanted a color revolution didn't calculate correctly," Voronin stated.

CHISINAU 00000295 002 OF 003

9. (C) The opposition should have waited until the Central Election Commission (CEC) had concluded its vote count and then presented its complaints to the CEC, the Appeals Court and the Constitutional Court, as the law stipulated in case of electoral problems. Instead, the President said, the opposition said nothing to the government or CEC. Only after they met with the
President on April 7 did the opposition leaders (of the Liberal Democratic Party, PLDM, the Liberal Party, PL, and the Our Moldova Alliance, AMN) present their complaints to the CEC.

President Calls for Full Vote Recount
-------------------------------------
10. (C) In any case, Voronin continued, he had appealed today to the constitutional court to recount all the votes, "all 100 percent of them," he stressed. "We would have taken this decision on the first day (of the protests), but the opposition needed the pretext," the President averred.

Teachers, Parents Should Control Students
-----------------------------------------
11. (C) Speaking of the young protestors, Voronin said parents and teachers had primary responsibility to control their children. He said that the government knew of teachers who had directly and indirectly encouraged their students to leave school for the demonstrations. Those teachers who instigated minor-age students to protest would be punished in conformity with the law, Voronin stated, because they had risked the lives of the children. Voronin added that the government would likely not expel the students, if they had not participated in the violent attacks against the presidential and parliamentary buildings.

Attacks on Journalists
----------------------
12. (C) Voronin seemed puzzled when the Ambassador raised the issue of journalists being arrested and beaten. He had received all the police reports and knew of no attack against journalists. He categorically stated, on behalf of the government, that "no journalists were attacked or prevented from working." He turned to an aide and asked further about the claim. When the aide noted a media report about "Jurnal de Chisinau" (Moldovan independent newspaper) journalists, the President concluded that the journalists must have been attacked by the demonstrators. A Mr. Matasari (not further identified) tried to beat up journalists, the President noted, and was arrested two hours after the event. ?


Arrests of Minors
-----------------
13. (C) When the Ambassador asked about minors who had been arrested, the President informed the American diplomat that all minors had been released yesterday (April 9) into the hands of their parents. Parents should have controlled their children and not allowed their kids to go out at night, the President restated.

Formation of New Parliament, Government
---------------------------------------
14. (C) Thinking ahead to the formation of a new government, Voronin said he was concerned about how his Party of Communists (PCRM) would work with the opposition in Parliament during the next four years. The opposition would blame the PCRM of fraud and the PCRM would focus on the violent events. The constructive work of the legislature would not be done. Voronin suggested an equitable approach to working with the opposition. If, for example, the recount resulted in the same percentages of seats in Parliament--60 percent for the PCRM and 40 percent for the combined (PLDM, PL and AMN) opposition--then he would propose that the PCRM hold 60 percent of the parliamentary leadership and committee positions and the opposition 40 percent.

CHISINAU 00000295 003 OF 003

15. (C) Voronin discussed the timeline for the formation of Parliament and the executive branch. According to the law, Voronin explained, the first parliamentary session should be held one month after the elections, by May 5. A recount of 1.6 million votes could take a week or 10 days, the President said, in which case the May 5 date could slip by a week or more. All procedures to install a new Parliament, choose a new President and constitute a new executive branch (Prime Minister and other Ministers) needed to occur by June 7, the President said.

Comment
-------
16. (C) President Voronin had his mind made up. The opposition planned the protests and violence in advance. Foreign governments were involved in the demonstrations. Opposition leaders acted incorrectly to contest the results of the
elections. Parents and teachers were responsible for controlling their children. The violent attacks against the Parliament and Presidency buildings were abhorrent.


Voronin's understanding of democratic principles is limited. The idea that government has the responsibility to prevent violence according to legal norms and also to create a welcoming environment for freedom of assembly and of expression is not part of the old man's psychology. Old instincts of governmental control and pressure, of using intelligence operatives to intimidate teachers into controlling the movement of students, of arresting peaceful protestors or onlookers without legal cause, and of blaming foreign elements for problems prevail in Voronin and other older generation governmental officials.

17. (C) Speaking of old man, Voronin seemed tired during the meeting. At times he made little sense, as when he talked in somewhat rambling fashion about color revolutions that didn't work in Moldova. Toward the end of the hour-and-a-half
conversation the President lapsed into Russian, seemingly without noticing that he had switched away from Moldovan.

18. (C) He told us that he had asked the Foreign Minister to request money from the European Union to cover the 15-20 million dollar cost of fixing the damaged parliamentary and presidential buildings. The President doesn't seem aware that governmental actions on the margins of the protests--arresting peaceful protestors on the margins of the crowd, using the intelligence service to intimidate teachers, chastising parents for not controlling their children, threatening educational leaders with job loss for allowing students to protest, beating up journalists, forcing government workers to show up at pro-government rallies--are painting a picture of an undemocratic government out of touch with many of its citizens. Moldova seems further away from becoming a modern European state, in line for EU membership, than it was a week ago.

CHAUDHRY

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Re: Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 17:15

09CHISINAU643 Created on 2009-08-14 16:01 Released on 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Chisinau

POSSIBILITY OF COMMUNIST PARTY SPLIT

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SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/UMB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2029
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM EAID MD
SUBJECT: POSSIBILITY OF COMMUNIST PARTY SPLIT

Classified by: Ambassador Asif J. Chaudhry for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S) Summary: Deputy Prime Minister Igor Dodon (strictly protect) confided to Ambassador that a group of younger, reform-minded members of the Party of Communists (PCRM) were considering breaking with PCRM to establish a new center-left party. This new party, which would focus on economic reform and implementing IMF recommendations, could unite with other non-Communist parties to attempt to elect a president. Dodon said that the new party would also seek to remove the hard-line PCRM Ministers of Interior and Security from office (an agenda that coincides with that of the four-party non-Communist coalition). In a separate conversation, political analyst Andrei Popov, who was elected MP on Democratic Party leader Lupu's list, shed further
light on divisions within the PCRM. End Summary.

Reformists Considering Breaking from PCRM
-----------------------------------------

2. (S) On August 13, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Dodon (strictly protect) told the Ambassador that there were on-going discussions within the PCRM about the possibilities for making a coalition with one or two of the opposition parties. He said that he himself favored a coalition with Lupu, whom the PCRM would then support for President. However, to be palatable to Lupu, such an arrangement would require Voronin to renounce designs on either the Speaker or Prime Minister positions. Dodon conceded that he was unsure whether Voronin would agree to this, but said he would discuss the scenario with the Acting President when he (Voronin) returns from his vacation on August 15.

3. (S) Dodon then confided that if Voronin declined Dodon's proposal, a group of younger, reform-minded members of the PCRM could break with the Communists to form a new center-left party. Dodon said that this new group wanted to bring the IMF back and follow the recommendations of the IMF report, and was ready to push economic reform. In addition, they would seek to remove Minister of the Interior Papuc, Minister of State Security Services (SIS) Artur Resetnikov, Deputy Prime Minister Rosca, and Foreign Minister Stratan from office.

4. (S) Dodon said that the emergence of this splinter party would help create a real center in the Moldovan political spectrum. The unreformed Communists would occupy the far left and Ghimpu's Liberals the far right, while Dodon's new grouping would work with the Democratic Party, Our Moldova Alliance (AMN), and the Liberal Democratic Party to put together a government.

PCRM Division into Two Camps
----------------------------

5. (C) In a separate conversation on August 12, political analyst Andrei Popov (who was just elected MP on Lupu's list) also described to Pol/Econ chief the divisions within the PCRM. Popov, who noted that the 48-member PCRM parliamentary faction has 12 non-party members on its list (including eight who are among the top 22), said that the party split between "reformers" and "hard-liners" was obvious during the election campaign, and had sharpened now over how to handle the current political situation.

6. (C) According to Popov, the PCRM's reformist camp, headed by Voronin advisor Mark Tkaciuk, included such figures as DPM Dodon, Voronin's economic advisor Oleg Reidman, Deputy Speaker Grigorie Petrenco, Minister of Reintegration Vasile Sova, Yuri Muntaneanu, and others. The hard-line camp was headed by First Deputy Speaker Turcan, and included SIS head Resetnikov, Foreign Minister Stratan, Minister of Interior Papuc, Minister of Justice Victor Pirlog, Deputy Prime Minister Victor Stepaniuc, Eugenia Ostapciuc and Maria Postoico. Although Iurie Rosca was not a PCRM member, according to Popov, he was allied with the hard-liner camp.

CHISINAU 00000643 002 OF 002

7. (C) Popov explained that Mark Tkaciuk had hand-picked and groomed both Stratan and Lupu and helped them rise to Deputy Minister and then Ministerial levels. In 2005, when Voronin's re-election as President was uncertain, and Tkaciuk won over Iurie Rosca, eventually providing an additional 22 votes (rather than just the necessary 5), in exchange, Voronin let Tkaciuk's protege Lupu become the Speaker. According to Popov, Tkaciuk's relations with Stratan soured in 2004, and from 2006, when Lupu wanted to be more independent from Tkaciuk, their relations soured as well. The firing of Lazar as Minister of Economy in September 2006 signaled Lupu's waning influence. Popov said that Tkaciuk then focused on grooming an even younger group including Petrenco, Dodon, Muntaneanu and Ion Ceban.

Comment
-------

8. (S) It is clear that nothing is certain at this juncture and that all the players are actively considering their options. That said, Dodon's scenario of a split within the PCRM, while at present highly uncertain, could dramatically transform the political picture in Moldova. There could be enough "reformers" in the PCRM faction to ensure the election of the President, should the new group join with the non-Communist coalition parties. (According to Moldovan legislation, although MPs are elected on a party slate, once within the Parliament, an MP who wishes to change parties may do so.)

9. (S) It is unclear where Mark Tkaciuk stands in this complex scenario. After personally grooming Lupu and Stratan and helping them to rise to power, his relations with them soured; therefore we do not know if his hand-picked young reformers are breaking away from him, or if he is supporting this idea. Currently, our best guess is that they do not have his blessing, and that Dodon appears to be considering his own bid for the personal political limelight.

CHAUDHRY

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Re: Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 17:15

09CHISINAU644 Created on 2009-08-14 16:06 Released on 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Chisinau

DID LUPU GO TO MOSCOW? IF SO, WHY?

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM EAID PINR MD
SUBJECT: DID LUPU GO TO MOSCOW? IF SO, WHY?

Classified by: Ambassador Asif J. Chaudhry for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S) Summary: On August 12 Marian Lupu publicly denied a news item claiming that he had traveled to Moscow the previous day, saying he had been in Budapest. However, in an August 13 meeting, Marian Lupu (strictly protect) confided to the Ambassador that he had indeed been in Moscow. He claimed to have gone for personal family reasons, but that once in Moscow he was "invited" to a meeting with two interlocutors he said he would prefer not to name. In what Lupu described as something akin to a "job interview" or an in-depth political and psychological assessment, Lupu was asked a series of questions to determine his positions on issues such as immunity for Voronin, Moldova's neutrality and Russian-language schools in Moldova. Lupu also told the Ambassador about problems in the coalition, particularly the lack of trust between Filat and Lupu. End Summary.

Did Lupu Go to Moscow? He claimed Budapest
-------------------------------------------

2. (C) On August 12, a news item appeared in the local news service, Unimedia, claiming that former Speaker and Democratic Party leader Marian Lupu had traveled to Moscow the previous day (August 11) and showing a picture of him at an airport counter. Contacted by Unimedia, Lupu denied rumors he traveled to Moscow, saying he had been in Budapest. Later that day PLDM leader Vlad Filat told the Ambassador that he had personally asked Lupu whether he went to Moscow, and Lupu had responded that he went to Budapest. Filat appeared visibly concerned, and told the Ambassador that he was worried and did not trust Lupu.

3. (C) On the morning of August 13, the Ambassador met with Foreign Minister Andrei Stratan. Stratan discussed post-elections politics, warning that we should be prepared for "a surprising new scenario." He said that Voronin would not give up power and that the Russians would not want him to. Stratan confided that there were discussions already going on between the two sides. When asked about Lupu, Stratan said he believed that Lupu had gone to Budapest and met with the Russians there. However, Stratan suggested that Mark Tkaciuk had been to Moscow on either the 11th or 12th.

Lupu Confirms Moscow Trip, Asked Many Questions
--------------------------------------------- --

4. (S) In a highly confidential conversation August 13, Marian Lupu (strictly protect) confided to the Ambassador that he actually had gone to Moscow (he added that he had transited through Budapest, so had told the truth when he said he had been to that city). He claimed to have been in Russia for personal reasons related to his father's health (his father had prostate cancer and was now weaker after an operation in Moscow), but confirmed that once in Moscow he was invited to "a meeting." Lupu would not say who he met with (only that there were two interlocutors), but said it was a two-hour meeting at a hotel, i.e. a somewhat clandestine meeting, rather than an open one in a ministry.

5. (S) Lupu said he felt the meeting was either a psychological exam or a detailed interview. He was asked a series of questions about topics such as relations with Romania, his statements about balancing relations between East and West and his opinions about his coalition partners. Lupu said he also was asked about whether he would give immunity to Voronin and immunity to Voronin's family members, to which he had responded that he would. The interlocutors asked Lupu about Russian-language schools in Moldova, and Lupu's thinking on Moldovan neutrality.

6. (S) Lupu felt some questions were designed to probe his responses. For example, his interlocutors asked Lupu when he had last met with Acting President Voronin's advisor Mark Tcaciuk, to which he responded late-May or early-June, but he remained puzzled by the question. Lupu said they also asked if he knew why Filat was trying to contact them. As Lupu thought this might be a provocation to test whether Lupu would speak against his coalition partner, he said he had remained neutral and said he had no idea why Filat might be trying to contact them.

7. (S) Lupu said that the Russians had asked about the possibility of a coalition with the PCRM. He said they had not told him he should make a coalition, but merely asked. Lupu told the Ambassador that he had responded that coalition talks were going on right now, and thus dodged the question; the Russians never returned to it. Finally the Russians asked him if there was anything they could do, to which Lupu had responded that that they could tell Voronin to give eight PCRM votes in parliament to make sure
there was no extended political crisis in Moldova. Lupu said that his interlocutors made no small talk. They launched into their questioning suddenly, asked their questions for two hours, and then stopped.

Lupu Concerned about Lack of Trust
----------------------------------

8. (C) Turning to Moldovan internal politics, Lupu told the Ambassador that he was troubled by a serious problem within the coalition. Though the group was still moving in the same direction, Lupu was concerned that his coalition partners, particularly Filat did not trust him. Lupu believed that Filat thought he was obsessed with being President, and said he was so sick of it
that sometimes he considered just waiting four more years and offering the Presidential position to Filat and volunteering himself to be the Speaker of the Parliament. The Ambassador noted that a coalition has to be built on trust. Though the USG had refrained from becoming a mediator in the negotiations, the Ambassador suggested that the two leaders needed to find a way to build trust or else the success of the coalition could be endangered.

9. (C) Lupu said that the lack of trust was so bad that he was concerned Filat was plotting against him, possibly in a scenario involving former Prime Minister Ion Sturza. Lupu believed Filat wanted to get himself elected for Speaker but that if Lupu did not gain the necessary 61 votes in the first round, Filat would propose Sturza for president.

10. (S) The Ambassador asked about relations with First Deputy Prime Minister and PCRM MP Igor Dodon. Lupu responded that Dodon was trying to get the Lupu group to join the PCRM in a coalition. Asked whether Lupu would consider that option, he responded most emphatically that at this point he would not. Lupu said that Dodon was still young and was looking for a scenario in which he could promote himself.

Comment
-------

11. (S) The Ambassador has developed an excellent working relationship with Lupu, who has been surprisingly open with us about his political concerns. There is press speculation about why Lupu would have gone to Moscow, and innuendo that that the Russians are pushing him to join up in coalition with the PCRM. However, Lupu's own story suggests that this is not the case (as he told it, it appeared that the Russians were trying to assess what it would mean for politics in Moldova if Lupu were to succeed in becoming President). In the meantime, for the coalition to succeed in working together, it will be necessary for Filat and Lupu to move beyond their mistrust for each other and learn to work as part of the same team.

CHAUDHRY

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Re: Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 17:59

09CHISINAU685 Created on 2009-09-04 15:14 Released on 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Chisinau
LUPU FEELS "WINDS OF CHANGE" IN THE AIR

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/04/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM EAID PINR MD
SUBJECT: LUPU FEELS "WINDS OF CHANGE" IN THE AIR

Classified by: Ambassador Asif J. Chaudhry for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

REFS: (A) Chisinau 675; (B) Chisinau 644 (C) Chisinau 643

1. (C) Summary: In a September 3 meeting with the Ambassador, Presidential hopeful Marian Lupu expressed skepticism about Acting President Voronin's recent announcement that he would vacate his Presidential position for his seat in Parliament. Lupu also described recent meetings with the Russian Ambassador, who was pushing him to form an Alliance with the Communists. In fact,
in a recent meeting with Acting President Voronin, Lupu had directly refused a proposal for a "left-center" alliance with Voronin as Speaker, Lupu as President and (current Prime Minister) Greceanii as PM.

2. (C) Lupu also said he hoped for a positive decision on the legality of Alliance member Mihai Ghimpu's election as Speaker when the Constitutional Court delivered its verdict on September 8. The Alliance might wait to hold the next Parliamentary session until after the Court's decision. Assuming that the Court ruled in the Alliance's favor, Lupu said the Alliance would then declare the post of President vacant so that Speaker Ghimpu could assume the position of Acting President, and then name Alliance member Vlad
Filat as interim Prime Minister to serve until a President was elected. Lupu was increasingly convinced that Moldova was heading for repeat elections in 2010. End Summary.

Lupu Skeptical about Voronin's Resignation
------------------------------------------

3. (C) In a September 3 meeting with the Ambassador, Marian Lupu was skeptical about Voronin's announcement the day before that he would vacate the Presidential slot to remain as Member of Parliament (Ref A). Lupu cautioned that Voronin was shrewd, and may have just floated the concept to see how people reacted. Lupu said it was important to wait and see what Voronin actually does. Lupu also noted that Voronin had already violated the law by not stepping down when the Parliament convened after the April elections. He speculated that Voronin wanted to be an MP to enjoy Parliamentary immunities that would protect
Voronin against violations he had already committed.

Russian Ambassador Pushing for Coalition with PCRM
--------------------------------------------- -----

4. (C) Lupu acknowledged that he had numerous meetings with Russian Ambassador Valery Kuzmin over the past few weeks. Lupu said that the Russian had pushed him to form a "left-center" coalition with the PCRM.. Kuzmin's most recent conversation had centered on the question of whether Lupu would be amenable to such a coalition if Voronin stepped down as PCRM leader. Asked
directly if there was anyone Lupu could accept as PCRM head, Lupu had insisted that there was not. Lupu said he also told the Russian Ambassador that at this point the influence of the Communists was so strong that if any of the non-communist parties joined them, they would be "eaten alive." Lupu said he had acknowledged that such a "left-center" coalition might be possible further down the road, but not now.

Meeting with President Voronin
------------------------------

5. (C) Though Lupu had publicly denied press reports that he had met with Acting President Voronin on August 31, he confirmed for Ambassador that this meeting had indeed taken place. Lupu said that Voronin had invited him to meet, so he thought it "a mature approach" to accept the invitation, and went together with fellow Democratic Party member (and former party leader) Dumitru Diacov. Lupu said he could see that Diacov was intimidated by Voronin; in fact, Voronin began the meeting by berating Diacov for
having "always been a traitor."

CHISINAU 00000685 002 OF 003

6. (C) Lupu said that Voronin had proposed the establishment of a "left-center" coalition of the PCRM and the Democratic Party. Noting that he knew Lupu had long dreamed of becoming President, Voronin proposed a scenario in which he retained the Speaker position, Lupu was President, and Greceanii was Prime Minister. Lupu told the Ambassador he had responded negatively to Voronin's proposal, saying that what the Acting President did not understand was that the people want change now and keeping Voronin and Greceanii in power even in coalition with another party did not represent change.

7. (C) Lupu said that Voronin was aware of the details of his August meeting in Moscow (Ref B). He had also noted that the Russian Ambassador had clearly been fully briefed on this meeting in Moscow. Lupu said that Voronin also had told him
"not to pay too much attention" to the advice given him by the Romanians and the Americans, and with a pause added "even the Russians."


Waiting for Constitutional Court Decision
-----------------------------------------

8. (C) Lupu also told the Ambassador that he had secretly met with the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, Pulbare. Lupu said he told the Chairman that he understood that Pulbare was working for Voronin, but had warned Pulbare that Voronin's days were numbered, and that it was important to do the right thing (by which he meant making a decision in favor of the Alliance's election of Ghimpu as Speaker). Lupu told the Ambassador that he knew Pulbare "likes money," but since unfortunately he had none to offer, he could only give Pulbare a vague promise that, "If you make the right decision, I'll take care of you."

9. (C) Lupu believed his meeting with Pulbare had a positive effect. He had heard that several of the Constitutional Court judges were leaning towards ruling that Ghimpu had been legally elected. Of the six Constitutional Court judges, it appeared that it was now a 50-50 split of three judges on each side. In such a case, said Lupu, if the Court were divided, Ghimpu's election would
stand as legal. (Note: It is expected that the Court will announce the results of its deliberations when it meets on September 8.)

How Alliance Compromised on Ghimpu as Speaker
---------------------------------------------

10. (C) Lupu also explained to Ambassador the background on how the Alliance had agreed to nominate Ghimpu for Speaker. Lupu and Filat had each firmly insisted that they would not vote for each other as Speaker. Ghimpu had been proposed as a compromise. Lupu told the Ambassador that he feared that electing Ghimpu as Speaker would spook the Russians and Communists, but that he respected Ghimpu as a person. And since Filat and others were increasingly concerned about the possibility if early repeat elections in 2010, Lupu had decided that it was better to agree to Ghimpu's candidacy and allow the Alliance to move forward.

11. (C) Lupu also speculated that Filat had agreed to Ghimpu's nomination as Speaker because ultimately Filat had really wanted to be Prime Minister all along. Filat's party also preferred having him to be head of government, as this position holds more influence in administrative and management matters.

Next Steps Moving Forward in Parliament
---------------------------------------

12. (C) Lupu also told the Ambassador that the Alliance had been debating when the Parliament should meet again. As PCRM temporary Speaker Ivan Calin had on August 28 announced the adjournment of the Parliament until September 4, Lupu and Diacov had proposed that Ghimpu should call a Parliamentary session for September 4, and hence all deputies would show up at the same time. Lupu said that Ghimpu had opposed this plan, as he wanted to avoid the drama that would ensure when

CHISINAU 00000685 003 OF 003

both he and Calin each sought to claim the Speaker's chair. The Alliance planned to meet on September 3 to discuss their next steps. One option was to do nothing until after the Constitutional Court announced its decision on the legality of Ghimpu's election.

13. (C) Lupu said that, one way or another, it was necessary to declare the post of President vacant, so that Ghimpu could take over as Acting President. Ghimpu could then nominate Filat as Prime Minister and have him put a new government in place. Lupu said that according to the law, the real vote on the President must take place within 60 days of the Parliament's opening session on August 28, i.e. by October 28. (NOTE: According to our reading of the law, the 60 day clock starts from the date the President vacates the post, i.e. most likely on September 14.)

14. (C) Lupu was increasingly convinced that the end results would be early elections in 2010. Lupu said he did not believe in scenarios involving a split in the PCRM; he thought that either the PCRM would officially grant the eight votes needed to elect the President, or the President would not be elected at all. Asked about Deputy Prime Minister Igor Dodon's suggestion that the PCRM could split (Ref C), Lupu responded that the Ambassador should not listen to Dodon, whose opinions reflected those of Presidential Advisor Mark Tkaciuk. Lupu noted that Tkaciuk had long dreamed of taking over the party in a few years (or even sooner if Voronin left), but he (Lupu) believed that this was impossible and Tkaciuk therefore needed to work through a proxy. Lupu thought Dodon may now be thinking he has a chance to take over soon. (Note: Lupu had formerly been Tkaciuk's protege before he
broke with the PCRM.)

15. (C) In the interim, Lupu said the Alliance planned legislative changes, including an immediate move to grant more authority to the Parliament. However, the Alliance now understood that it would be harder than they originally thought to make some of the personnel changes they had planned. For example, Parliament did not have the authority to remove the head of Teleradio Moldova, as they had hoped, and would face complications in moving against the Prosecutor General.

Comment
-------

16. (C) Though Lupu was skeptical about Voronin's stepping down from the Presidency, our other Alliance interlocutors, such as Filat, believe Voronin sees the handwriting on the wall, and are convinced he will do so. Lupu told the Ambassador that he believes that after eight years in power, Voronin has lost touch with reality. Voronin's anger at Diacov and push for a left-center coalition reflects a previous perception that he could force his will and the world would obey. But the balance of power in Moldova has shifted. He said he was left explaining to both the Russian Ambassador and Voronin that realities have changed. The compromise slate that Voronin proposed would have been desirable in May, but the political configuration has shifted irrevocably since then. The PCRM made its critical error by not nominating Lupu for President then. Now new forces of political change have been unleashed which cannot be pushed back into the box.

CHAUDHRY

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Re: Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 18:26

10CHISINAU5 Created on 2010-01-05 13:22 Released on 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Chisinau
MOLDOVAGAZ PRESIDENT GUSEV TALKS BUSINESS

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E.O. 12958: DECL: (##)
TAGS: ECON ENRG ETRD PGOV MD
SUBJECT: MOLDOVAGAZ PRESIDENT GUSEV TALKS BUSINESS

Classified by: Charge d'Affaires Marcus Micheli for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a December 22 meeting, Moldovagaz President Alexander Gusuv told Pol/Econ Officer that the new Government of Moldova (GOM) no longer interfered in his company's business as the previous GOM had done. Gusev said recent meetings with Ukrainian representatives -- on the eve of a trip to Moscow to sign the annual gas supply agreement with Gazprom -- had indicated that there would be no interruption in gas supplies in 2010. He also explained that Moldovagaz and the National Agency for Energy Regulation (ANRE) had recently instituted a simplified methodology for calculating domestic prices of Russian gas. Gusev also expressed growing concern about the poor maintenance of gas pipelines in Transnistria and said he saw no foreseeable alternative to Russia for Moldova as a source for gas. END SUMMARY

WORKING WITH THE NEW GOM
------------------------

2. (C) In a December 22 meeting, Moldovagaz President Alexandr Gusev said that working with the new Alliance for European Integration (AIE) GOM was easier than with the previous Party of Communists (PCRM)-led government because the authorities no longer intervened in his company's internal affairs. Gusev explained that the new GOM did not give instructions on whose gas supply needed to be disconnected or reconnected or who must pay bills and who might be allowed to be delinquent in making payments (Note: all of which happened under the previous government). Gusev also noted a recent problem in the city of Balti
in which Moldovagaz and the local gas company disputed the ownership of land and a pipeline on the property. The two companies eventually resolved the issue, leaving the assets with Moldovagaz. (Note: The mayor of Balti is pro-PCRM and the dispute may have been an effort by the local gas company to claim assets with local political support. End note).

GAS FROM RUSSIA AND UKRAINIAN TRANSIT THIS WINTER
--------------------------------------------- ----

3. (C) Recently, Gusev said, he had visited Ukraine where he had discussed the natural gas supply situation for the winter with his Ukrainian counterparts. Gusev indicated that he was optimistic that there would be no interruption in gas supplies in 2010 because Russia and Ukraine had taken steps to prevent a repeat of the crisis of January 2009. On December 23, Gusev traveled to Moscow to sign the annual agreement with Gazprom for natural gas deliveries to Moldova, including Transnistria, and gas transit through Moldovan territory to Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece. In the December 22 meeting, Gusev said that one goal of the meeting in Moscow would be to determine the projected annual volumes of the gas Gazprom would supply. According to Gusev, in the first quarter of 2010 the gas acquisition price for Moldova was expected to be USD 233 per 1,000 cubic meters. This would be 21 percent higher than the current price of USD 192 for the fourth quarter of 2009. The final price would be calculated sometime around January 15, 2010, Gusev added.

CHANGES IN GAS PRICE METHODOLOGY
--------------------------------

4. (C) Gusev said that Moldovagaz had asked the National Agency for Energy Regulation (ANRE) to approve a new natural gas tariff and was pleased the regulator had agreed to amend the methodology for calculating domestic tariffs following commendations from the gas company. According to Gusev, the revised methodology now completely separates the calculations for the domestic gas tariff and the transit charges for gas passing trough Moldovan territory. This new methodology was an important improvement and simplification, Gusev said. The previous methodology intertwined the two actions. Gusev welcomed a second adjustment that provided Moldovagaz with cost recovery for previous investments, noting that the company will be able to adjust tariffs from 5 to
14 percent to recover the costs of investments.

TRANSNISTRIA NOT MAINTAINING PIPELINES
--------------------------------------

5. (C) Referring to relations with Transnistria and Moldovagaz's inability to access its infrastructure, Gusev mentioned the two gas pipeline explosions that occurred in 2009, one on the right-bank of the Nistru River and another one on the left-bank in Transnistria. Moldovagaz had no access to its facilities on the left-bank of the Nistru River and therefore it could not inspect and conduct maintenance on the entire pipeline in order to keep it in good working order, Gusev explained. According to Gusev, there
are three branches of the pipeline passing through Transnistria that were built in 1974 and might have deteriorated substantially. Clearly frustrated with the Transnistrians, Gusev noted that Gazprom and Moldovagaz might face a situation in future when the pipeline could not be used or transit could be severely reduced. (Note: In addition to blocking access for Moldovagaz to its infrastructure in Transnistria, the regime in Tiraspol has accumulated a debt of almost USD 2 billion to Gazprom which is legally a Moldovagaz debt. End note.)

NO ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCE
----------------------------

6. (C) There was no alternate to Russian gas for Moldova, Gusev said, when asked about alternatives to Gazprom. In theory, he noted, if the Nabucco pipeline went through Romania the closest point would be in Timisoara which is about 500 km from the Moldovan border. However, it was very unlikely that any company would consider it feasible to build a pipeline through Romania, he said. He added that it was questionable as to how Moldovagaz would finance the required construction in Moldova for a connection to Nabucco. South Stream, he added, was even further from Moldova and offered no viable alternative. Moldovagaz had looked at gas storage opportunities in southern Moldova, according to Gusev, and there were some locations and soils that would allow construction of such a facility. However, the prohibitive cost of between USD 100 to USD 150 million to build a
two- to three-week gas storage facility for Moldova made this option unrealistic. He noted an alternative would be for Moldova to lease gas storage facilities in Ukraine. However, this option was unacceptable since there would be no means of guaranteeing access to such a supply in a force majeure situation.

COMMENT
-------

7. (C) The lead-up to presidential elections in Ukraine -- which have forced Prime Minister and presidential candidate Tymoshenko to take proactive measures with Moscow -- likely guarantees that gas deliveries from Russia through Ukraine to Moldova will flow freely in the near future. This is good news for Moldovan gas consumers. Nevertheless, the continued deterioration of Soviet-built infrastructure and the lack of alternative sources of energy mean that little has changed. Moldova remains completely dependent on Russian gas and transit disputes are possible in future.

MICHELI

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Re: Wikileaks Moldova

Mesaj Scris de Beauty la data de Dum 11 Sept 2011 - 18:27

10CHISINAU5 Created on 2010-01-05 13:22 Released on 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Chisinau
MOLDOVAGAZ PRESIDENT GUSEV TALKS BUSINESS


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E.O. 12958: DECL: (##)
TAGS: ECON ENRG ETRD PGOV MD
SUBJECT: MOLDOVAGAZ PRESIDENT GUSEV TALKS BUSINESS

Classified by: Charge d'Affaires Marcus Micheli for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a December 22 meeting, Moldovagaz President Alexander Gusuv told Pol/Econ Officer that the new Government of Moldova (GOM) no longer interfered in his company's business as the previous GOM had done. Gusev said recent meetings with Ukrainian representatives -- on the eve of a trip to Moscow to sign the annual gas supply agreement with Gazprom -- had indicated that there would be no interruption in gas supplies in 2010. He also explained that Moldovagaz and the National Agency for Energy Regulation (ANRE) had recently instituted a simplified methodology for calculating domestic prices of Russian gas. Gusev also expressed growing concern about the poor maintenance of gas pipelines in Transnistria and said he saw no foreseeable alternative to Russia for Moldova as a source for gas. END SUMMARY

WORKING WITH THE NEW GOM
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2. (C) In a December 22 meeting, Moldovagaz President Alexandr Gusev said that working with the new Alliance for European Integration (AIE) GOM was easier than with the previous Party of Communists (PCRM)-led government because the authorities no longer intervened in his company's internal affairs. Gusev explained that the new GOM did not give instructions on whose gas supply needed to be disconnected or reconnected or who must pay bills and who might be allowed to be delinquent in making payments (Note: all of which happened under the previous government). Gusev also noted a recent problem in the city of Balti
in which Moldovagaz and the local gas company disputed the ownership of land and a pipeline on the property. The two companies eventually resolved the issue, leaving the assets with Moldovagaz. (Note: The mayor of Balti is pro-PCRM and the dispute may have been an effort by the local gas company to claim assets with local political support. End note).

GAS FROM RUSSIA AND UKRAINIAN TRANSIT THIS WINTER
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3. (C) Recently, Gusev said, he had visited Ukraine where he had discussed the natural gas supply situation for the winter with his Ukrainian counterparts. Gusev indicated that he was optimistic that there would be no interruption in gas supplies in 2010 because Russia and Ukraine had taken steps to prevent a repeat of the crisis of January 2009. On December 23, Gusev traveled to Moscow to sign the annual agreement with Gazprom for natural gas deliveries to Moldova, including Transnistria, and gas transit through Moldovan territory to Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece. In the December 22 meeting, Gusev said that one goal of the meeting in Moscow would be to determine the projected annual volumes of the gas Gazprom would supply. According to Gusev, in the first quarter of 2010 the gas acquisition price for Moldova was expected to be USD 233 per 1,000 cubic meters. This would be 21 percent higher than the current price of USD 192 for the fourth quarter of 2009. The final price would be calculated sometime around January 15, 2010, Gusev added.

CHANGES IN GAS PRICE METHODOLOGY
--------------------------------

4. (C) Gusev said that Moldovagaz had asked the National Agency for Energy Regulation (ANRE) to approve a new natural gas tariff and was pleased the regulator had agreed to amend the methodology for calculating domestic tariffs following commendations from the gas company. According to Gusev, the revised methodology now completely separates the calculations for the domestic gas tariff and the transit charges for gas passing trough Moldovan territory. This new methodology was an important improvement and simplification, Gusev said. The previous methodology intertwined the two actions. Gusev welcomed a second adjustment that provided Moldovagaz with cost recovery for previous investments, noting that the company will be able to adjust tariffs from 5 to
14 percent to recover the costs of investments.

TRANSNISTRIA NOT MAINTAINING PIPELINES
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5. (C) Referring to relations with Transnistria and Moldovagaz's inability to access its infrastructure, Gusev mentioned the two gas pipeline explosions that occurred in 2009, one on the right-bank of the Nistru River and another one on the left-bank in Transnistria. Moldovagaz had no access to its facilities on the left-bank of the Nistru River and therefore it could not inspect and conduct maintenance on the entire pipeline in order to keep it in good working order, Gusev explained. According to Gusev, there
are three branches of the pipeline passing through Transnistria that were built in 1974 and might have deteriorated substantially. Clearly frustrated with the Transnistrians, Gusev noted that Gazprom and Moldovagaz might face a situation in future when the pipeline could not be used or transit could be severely reduced. (Note: In addition to blocking access for Moldovagaz to its infrastructure in Transnistria, the regime in Tiraspol has accumulated a debt of almost USD 2 billion to Gazprom which is legally a Moldovagaz debt. End note.)

NO ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCE
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6. (C) There was no alternate to Russian gas for Moldova, Gusev said, when asked about alternatives to Gazprom. In theory, he noted, if the Nabucco pipeline went through Romania the closest point would be in Timisoara which is about 500 km from the Moldovan border. However, it was very unlikely that any company would consider it feasible to build a pipeline through Romania, he said. He added that it was questionable as to how Moldovagaz would finance the required construction in Moldova for a connection to Nabucco. South Stream, he added, was even further from Moldova and offered no viable alternative. Moldovagaz had looked at gas storage opportunities in southern Moldova, according to Gusev, and there were some locations and soils that would allow construction of such a facility. However, the prohibitive cost of between USD 100 to USD 150 million to build a
two- to three-week gas storage facility for Moldova made this option unrealistic. He noted an alternative would be for Moldova to lease gas storage facilities in Ukraine. However, this option was unacceptable since there would be no means of guaranteeing access to such a supply in a force majeure situation.

COMMENT
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7. (C) The lead-up to presidential elections in Ukraine -- which have forced Prime Minister and presidential candidate Tymoshenko to take proactive measures with Moscow -- likely guarantees that gas deliveries from Russia through Ukraine to Moldova will flow freely in the near future. This is good news for Moldovan gas consumers. Nevertheless, the continued deterioration of Soviet-built infrastructure and the lack of alternative sources of energy mean that little has changed. Moldova remains completely dependent on Russian gas and transit disputes are possible in future.

MICHELI

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