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Moldovan Official: Russia Won't Act Harshly Over Anti-Soviet Holiday

Acting Moldovan President Mihai Ghimpu adjusts the ribbon of a bouquet of flowers he placed at a Chisinau memorial to the victims of Soviet occupation and the totalitarian communist regime on June 28.
CHISINAU -- A top Moldovan official has said after meetings in Moscow that he does not expect Russia to take strong measures against Moldova in response to its marking a "Day of Soviet Occupation," RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Deputy Prime Minister Victor Osipov told RFE/RL that he came to that conclusion after meeting in Moscow on June 5 with Yuri Zubakov, deputy secretary of Russia's Security Council, and other Russian officials.

"My perception and hope is that Moscow will not take any effective steps comparable to its initial emotional reaction," said Osipov, who is the Moldovan official in charge of issues regarding its breakaway region of Transdniester.

But Osipov noted that his Russian counterparts see relations with Moldova as "difficult" and do not promise any breakthrough in reviving the stalled "5+2" negotiations that were created to seek a settlement in breakaway Transdniester.

Moldovan acting President Mihai Ghimpu has come under fire from Moscow, Moldovan Communists, as well as allies in the country's ruling coalition since issuing a decree two weeks ago making June 28 the "Day of Soviet Occupation."

The Soviet Union annexed Romanian territory in June 1940 that makes up most of modern-day Moldova. Romania won it back one year later in the German-led attack on the Soviet Union, but at the end of the war Moldova became a Soviet republic.

The Soviet occupation is still considered an act of liberation by some Moldovans.

The Russian Foreign Ministry this week criticized Ghimpu's decree, calling it an attempt to "rewrite history." A similar statement was passed unanimously on June 30 by the Russian State Duma.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov called on July 1 for Muscovites and all other Russians to boycott Moldovan goods until Chisinau apologizes for the decree and cancels it.