Moldovan President Igor Dodon has thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help in removing bureaucratic barriers that were preventing Moldovan labor migrants in Russia from returning to Moldova to take part in the country's February 2019 parliamentary elections.
Dodon wrote on Facebook on December 3 that he and Putin agreed in early November that some 170,000 Moldovan nationals working in Russia, including those who violated Russian migration regulations, will be allowed to leave Russia for Moldova during January and February and return to Russia by March.
Dodon said those taking part will not be liable for violating Russian migration laws.
"This move indicates the openness of the Russian leadership as well as its great interest in helping our citizens and developing our two nations' strategic partnership, " Dodon wrote.
The Russian Interior Ministry said on December 3 that Moldovan citizens who have outstayed their permission to live and work in Russia will not be held liable if they leave by February 24, 2019 -- the day of Moldova's parliamentary elections.
Dodon is the leader of Moldova's Socialist Party, a splinter group from former President Vladimir Voronin's Communist Party.
He also is a staunch ally of Putin.
Dodon won the presidency in 2016 after an election campaign that capitalized on a wave of nostalgia for the Soviet era.