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Moldovan Party Accuses President Of Treason, Files Lawsuit

Moldovan President Igor Dodon (left) shakes hands with a Russian soldier at the peacekeeping post in Varniţa.
Moldovan President Igor Dodon (left) shakes hands with a Russian soldier at the peacekeeping post in Varniţa.

CHISINAU -- A Moldovan political party says it has filed a criminal complaint accusing President Igor Dodon of treason and of fomenting divisions in the interest of Russia.

In a statement posted on its website, the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) said that it had filed the suit with the Prosecutor-General's Office on August 29.

It accused Dodon of violating laws against the "betrayal of the homeland" and "incitement of national, ethnic, racial, or religious disunity."

It contended that Dodon, who has courted Moscow and is at odds with his country's pro-European Union government, "acts [in] contrary to the interests of the Republic of Moldova, openly promoting the interests of another state -- the Russian Federation."

The Moldovan president has not commented on the complaint.

Among other things, the party criticized Dodon for congratulating the separatist leader of the breakaway Transdniester region, Vadim Krasnoselsky, on his victory in a December election that was not recognized by Moldova or the international community.

Dodon "seriously damages the consolidation of the Moldovan society and the unity of the citizens" through his actions, it said.

The move comes as Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, marked the 26th anniversary of its 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union on August 27.

During celebrations that day, Dodon decorated several people for contributing to closer ties with Russia while Prime Minister Pavel Filip reiterated his government's determination to pursue closer ties with the EU in a speech to parliament.

The celebrations came amid heightened tensions with Russia after Moldova's envoy to the United Nations, Victor Moraru, earlier this month called on the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly to discuss the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transdniester.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the move "provocative."

Transdniester declared independence what was then the Soviet republic of Moldova in 1990.

Moldovan forces and Moscow-backed Transdniester fought a short war in 1992, in part over fears in the breakaway region that newly independent Moldova would seek reunification with neighboring Romania. The conflict ended with a cease-fire agreement after Russian troops in the region intervened on the side of the separatists.

Russia maintains an estimated 2,000-strong force in Transdniester -- 1,500 troops that Moscow says guard huge Soviet-era arms depots, and up to 500 other soldiers to ensure the uneasy 25-year-old cease-fire.

At a 1999 OSCE summit in Istanbul, Moscow pledged to withdraw its troops from Transdniester by 2002, but it has not done so.

No country recognizes Transdniester as independent, but Moscow has been unofficially backing the separatist leadership.