CHISINAU, October 11. /TASS/. Frontrunner of Moldova’s presidential race and leader of the Party of Socialists of Moldova, Igor Dodon, said in an interview with TASS that in case he is elected Moldovan president he plans to pay his first visit to Moscow to discuss a possible agreement on partnership, friendship and economic cooperation, and the settlement of the Transniestrian conflict.
"If we resume relations with Russia, we will get back our ‘fishing-rod,’ I mean, markets for our goods, which will make it possible to increase incomes, create jobs and develop our economy," he said. "We will be able to preserve our small country, to guarantee peace and prosperity to it."
"I am already discussing many of these problems that concern relations between our countries during my meetings with Russian officials in Moscow," he added.
He said it is regrettable that Moldova’s leaders are not implementing the treaty of friendship and cooperation his country and Russia signed in 2001. "The government formed by the coalition of pro-European countries has excluded Russia, which has always been a key consumer of Moldovan goods, from its strategic partner," Dodon said.
He noted that most of Moldova’s labor migrants are working in Russia. "There are about 800,000 of such people, or almost a fourth of the country’s population, and these people are transferring billions of US dollars to their families, which makes it possible to keep the crisis-stricken economy afloat," he said, adding that his country and Russia have "centuries-long relations of friendship and cooperation, millions of family links," and share Orthodox faith.
Dodon has also pointed out that Moldova should revise its trade agreement with the European Union as it is harming its economy.
He said that once he wins the presidential office he will initiate a national referendum on this agreement. "Such life-changing issues are to be decided by all citizens of the country rather than a handful of politicians who are shunning no dirty tricks to stay in power," he said.
Dodon, who had been Moldova’s deputy prime minister in charge of economy until 2009, said he had warned the Moldovan authorities that the country’s joining a free trade zone with the European Union would tell adversely on Moldovan traditional experts and, moreover, would entail increased imports of such goods.
"Following the signing of the agreement with Brussels, imports of apples from the European Union and Turkey have increased more than three-fold, imports of peaches and sweet cherries - by 11 times and now Moldova has found itself importing even grapes, its traditional cultivated plant," he said. "Imports go on increasing killing domestic production."
He cited statistics to demonstrate that instead of export growth, as promised by the country’s authorities, Moldovan exports are going down. Thus, in 2015 Moldovan exports to the European Union dropped by ten percent.
"After Russia imposed trade restrictions to avoid re-export of European products flooding our country, exports to that country slumped by 40% It means that our country has lost from the free trade with the European Union in its current format," Dodon underscored.