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Russia's Retaliation Over EU Deal Awaits Moldova

Published: July 17, 2014 (Issue # 1820)



  • Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova move ever nearer to Europe, much to Russia's dismay, the board of the Eurasian Economic Commission assembled Wednesday with plans to discuss imposing "protective measures" on trade with Moldova.

While the results of Wednesday's meeting are yet unknown — the Commission's press office said that they will be revealed Thursday — Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov, said last week that the topic was on the board's agenda, ITAR-Tass reported.

The underlying issue is the same one that inspired months of anti-government protests in Ukraine, culminating in the ouster of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Russia's annexation of Crimea and the ongoing separatist insurgence in the country's east that has claimed hundreds of lives: an association agreement with the European Union.

Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have all signed association agreements with the EU, but on July 2 the Moldovan parliament became the first and only one of the three to ratify it, immediately drawing the attention of top Russian officials.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared shortly after that Russia must respond "in the very near future" by decisions reached with Belarus and Kazakhstan, its fellow Eurasian Economic Commission and Customs Union members, ITAR-Tass reported.

"It is clear that this will seriously impact [Moldova's] trade and economic relations … which includes countries of the Customs Union and participants in the agreement on a free trade zone in the Commonwealth of Independent States," Medvedev said. Ukraine, Moldova and Russia are all part of a free trade zone within the CIS, a loose alliance of post-Soviet republics. Georgia was once part of the union as well but withdrew in 2009.

As for what the measures may look like, Russia's Economic Development Ministry on Wednesday published a draft bill that would levy a customs duty on an array of key imports from Moldova, including meat, fruits, vegetables and wine. If approved by the government, the bill will go into effect within one month of its signing.

Any actions taken now against Moldova would serve as a precedent if Ukraine and Georgia similarly ratify the agreements, Medvedev said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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