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Moldovan President Hails Soviet Past

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin (right) with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
CHISINAU -- In a speech devoted to the 650th anniversary of the first Moldovan state, President Vladimir Voronin glorified the country’s Soviet history and lashed out at pro-Romanian Moldovans, saying they refuse to “grow up.”

It wasn’t until the country joined the Soviet Union in 1940 that Moldova evolved from a “rural province” of Romania into a modern state with a vibrant culture and economy, he said.

Moldova was part of Romania until it was annexed by the Soviets through the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.

Moldova was established as an independent country after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Three broadly pro-Romanian political parties will run in April’s general elections, but they are unlikely to beat Voronin's pro-Russian Communists, who lead in the polls.