Moldova’s President Igor Dodon flew to Moscow for an official visit on July 17. The meeting was at the invitation of Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Kozak and the Kremlin’s Special Representative for the development of trade and economic cooperation relations with Moldova. This meeting comes on the heels of Prime Minister Maia Sandu’s visit to Berlin at the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ahead of his visit to Russia, President Dodon stated that his intention was to discuss issues related to the development of trade and economic cooperation, social and humanitarian issues, and migration issues. But what did he really he ask for? And what did he tell his Russian colleagues?
Moldova’s head of state has made regular trips to Moscow since taking up the presidency in 2016, visiting the Russian Federation more often than any of the European Union countries. On this particular visit, President Dodon brought along Vadim Ceban, the Chişinău candidate for the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of Moldovagaz – an import company for Russian gas under joint ownership by Gazprom and the Moldovan government.
Dodon reportedly asked the Russian government to cut gas tariffs for Moldova as of 1 September 2019.
“In particular, we discussed issues related to the continuity of natural gas provisions for our country, taking into account that the agreement on the transit through Ukraine’s territory expires at the end of this year. At the same time, we examined the Moldovan side’s request to offer us a better price for gas as of 1 September,” said the presidential press release, not mentioning the reaction of Russian officials.
President Dodon thanked the leadership of the Russian Federation for prolonging the preferential export regime for five categories of products on the Russian market, expressing hope that in the future it will manage to expand the list of goods that can be exported without customs duties, the communiqué said.
In the context of bilateral relations, Moldova’s President spoke about the importance of the Moldovan-Russian intergovernmental commission for commercial and economic cooperation, which is expected to overcome the stagnation in the bilateral relations.
“The head of the state informed his Russian colleagues about the main actions that will be taken to organize the second Moldovan-Russian Forum, which will take place in Chisinau from 20–21 September 2019,” said the presidential press release.
Referring to the Transnistrian issue, the parties exchanged views on the results of the latest meeting between representatives, mediators and observers in the 5 + 2 format, which includes Russia, Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United States and the European Union, in addition to Moldova and the Transnistrian region. Negotiations on the Transnistrian Settlement in this format are set to resume this Autumn.