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Moldovan Leader: Court Ruling Against 'Soviet Occupation Day' Was Political

Mihai Ghimpu
Mihai Ghimpu
CHISINAU -- Moldovan acting President Mihai Ghimpu says a high-court decision to annul his decree marking a "Day of Soviet Occupation" was "political," RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Ghimpu told RFE/RL by phone from southern Moldova, where he is touring flood-hit areas, that he will decide whether or not to accept the Constitutional Court's ruling after reading the reasons for the annulment.

Ghimpu issued a controversial decree last month designating June 28 as the "Day of Soviet Occupation."

He told RFE/RL that he did not receive enough support from his partners in the three-party ruling coalition for his effort to establish the official day, which was to mark the Soviet Union's World War II-era takeover of territory that now makes up Moldova.

One coalition partner, the Democrat Party, led by presidential hopeful Marian Lupu, has been particularly critical of Ghimpu's decree.

Unlike the other, more pro-Romanian ruling parties, Lupu's party advocates close relations with Russia, which registered a formal objection to the decree.

The Moldovan Communist Party praised the court decision, saying in a statement that the ruling was "logical," since Ghimpu had "clearly violated the constitution."

The decision comes one week after the Communist Party filed an official complaint against the decree.

Stefan Uratu, who is an adviser to Ghimpu, deplored the ruling but said the decree had already achieved its goal, which was to raise public awareness about Moldova's troubled communist past.

The Constitutional Court said in its decision that the decree attempted "to give legal meaning to historical and political events" and was therefore unconstitutional.

The Russian government has also registered a formal objection to the decree.

On June 28, 1940, following a deal with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Army entered the eastern provinces of Romania, including what is now Moldova.

One year later, Romania regained control over Moldova during the German-led invasion of the Soviet Union, known as Operation Barbarossa.

But toward the end of World War II the Red Army again entered Moldova. It remained part of the Soviet Union until 1991 when it proclaimed its independence.

The events of 1944 are a divisive issue in the country. Some pro-Romanian Moldovans describe them as an occupation, while others consider the Red Army to have "liberated" the region from fascism.