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A report that Communist President Vladimir Voronin wants Moldovans to bury their dead in plastic coffins to protect the forests has triggered a scandal in Moldova's parliament.

The accusation was made by opposition politician Serafim Urecheanu, the former mayor of Chisinau. Urecheanu, a member of the Our Moldova Alliance, presented legislators with a letter allegedly sent by Voronin to Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanai recommending that, beginning in January, all corpses be buried in plastic bags or plastic coffins to save wood and protect Moldova's dwindling forests.

Greceanai has denied receiving such instructions, and the presidency's website furiously dismissed Urecheanu's allegations, calling them "blasphemy."

The authenticity of the letter could not be immediately confirmed. However, if proven real, it would show not only that Voronin can shift his political allegiances from East to West and back, but is also ready to change his political color from red to green. This time, going through black humor.

-- Eugen Tomiuc

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