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Transdniestrian leader Smirnov refrains from contesting results of elections

December 29, 2011, 2:30 UTC+3

Smirnov dropped out of the election race after the first round. He had been repeatedly urged by Russia to leave after more than 21 years of presidency

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TIRASPOL, December 29 (Itar-Tass) —— Transdniestria’s outgoing leader Igor Smirnov said he had decided against challenging the results of the presidential election in the self-proclaimed republic in order to avoid civil confrontation.

“By so doing I did not allow our foes to provoke civil confrontation in Transdniestria. We must not allow anyone to doubt the unity of the Transdniestrian people, and stable and democratic development of our state,” Smirnov said.

He said the election was democratic but the “dirtiest” in the history of the republic because of “mass falsifications, biased coverage in mass media, bribery and deceit of voters”.

Smirnov dropped out of the election race after the first round. He had been repeatedly urged by Russia to leave after more than 21 years of presidency marked by abuse of office and misuse of financial aid from Russia.

Last year Moscow suspended the aid due to its misuse. The Russian Investigation Committee said about 160 million roubles were stolen from the humanitarian aid. Transdniestria’s Gazprombank which was controlled by Smirnov’s son and daughter-in-law.

Russian police searched the offices of several firms belonging to the Transdniestrian leader’s son, Oleg Smirnov, in early November.

“The offices of legal entities where Oleg Smirnov is the founder and top manager were searched today within the framework of criminal case,” Investigation Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass.

“Financial, business and other documents related to the criminal case were seized,” he said.

“It has been established during the investigation that Oleg Smirnov used premises registered as the representative office of the Transdniestrian Moldovan Republic in… Moscow to cover up for his financial activities in the Russian Federation,” he said.

“The investigation and detective work continues in order to determine all the circumstances of the crime,” Markin added.

In late October, the Russian Investigation Committee opened a criminal case against Oleg Brizitsky, deputy chairman of the Transdniestrian Republican Bank, Oleg Smirnov and other officials suspected of theft by way of large-scale embezzlement committed by a group of people by collusion.

According to the investigators,from November 2008 to November 2009 Brizitsky, by preliminary agreement with Smirnov and other persons, stole the money disbursed by the Russian government in humanitarian aid to Transdniestria to support pensioners and agriculture. As a result, about 160 million roubles were stolen.

Smirnov is registered in Moscow, has Russian citizenship and bought several flats in Moscow and an upscale mansion in the Moscow region using the stolen money. He also the founder of several commercial firms in Moscow, whose operations are being audited for compliance with tax legislation.

Transdniestria’s President-elect Yevgeny Shevchuk will be inaugurated on December 30. The republic's Central Election Commission officially announced Shevchuk the new president of the unrecognised republic on December 26.

Shevchuk, 43, is a former parliament speaker and the present leader of the Revival movement.

The CEC said there were no reasons for invalidating the results of the elections.

Shevchuk won the runoff election with 73.8 percent of votes. His rival, incumbent Parliament Speaker Anatoly Kaminsky received 19.6 percent. Outgoing President Igor Smirnov’s supporters urged voters to cast ballots against all candidates in the runoff election, but only 4.4 percent followed suit.

Shevchuk called for consolidation of Transdniestrian society. “Consolidation carries a serious potential for our development and we will do everything we can to bring the people together. The elections showed that Transdniestriaans choose development and stability and want their next of kin who have been driven out of home by unemployment to return. We can restore out republic only if we all pool our efforts with kindness, wisdom and industriousness,” Shevchuk said.

He said he would give priority to “restoring order in the economy and making Transdniestria attractive for investors”.

“We should also find revenues for the budget that will experience a tremendous deficit. Experts say that budget revenues will not cover budget expenditures,” Shevchuk said.

Shevchuk was born in the town of Rybnitsa in former Soviet Moldova on June 19, 1968. He graduated from the Ukrainian Agricultural Academy and Dniester State University, the Academy of Management of the Russian Interior Ministry and Diplomatic Academy of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

In 1992-1998 Shevchuk worked at Dniester Interior bodies in charge of preventing economic crimes.

In 1998-2000 Shevchuk worked at commerce structures.

In 2000-2009 he was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Dniester Moldovan Republic; later he was promoted to the post of deputy chairman and chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Dniester Moldovan Republic.

In 2006-2010 Shevchuk was leader of Obnovlenie (Renewal) party; in 2010 he founded Vozrozhdenie (Revival) movement. Since 2010 he has been deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Dniester Moldovan Republic.


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