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Moldovan president warns of possible provocations at polling stations in Russia

Parliamentary elections will be held in Moldova and its diplomatic missions abroad on Sunday

CHISINAU, February 23. /TASS/. Moldovan President Igor Dodon warned on Saturday that provocations may take place at polling stations to open in Russia for Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

In an interview with NTV-Moldova, the Moldovan leader suggested that Moldova’s opposition-led government decided to recall president-nominated Ambassador to Russia Andrei Neguta to facilitate possible attempts to disrupt the vote in Russia.

"They [the Moldovan government] recalled the ambassador in order to turn the vote into chaos, to force voters to boycott the [electoral] process," he said.

For Sunday’s parliamentary elections, Moldova opened only two polling stations in Moscow and two in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.

Russia is a popular destination for migrant workers from the country, and the number of Moldovan passport holders on its territory amounts to dozens of thousands. Therefore, long queues are expected at polling stations in Moscow and St. Petersburg, where most of Moldovan citizens in Russia are staying, Dodon said.

According to Dodon’s information, Moldovan embassy staff will try to deliberately slow down the process of voting to prevent as many people as possible from casting their ballots.

"They will work as slowly as possible so that people do not have the time [to vote], <…> in order to disrupt the mass vote of our citizens in Russia. Such signals have been received," the president said.

The Moldovan leader said his administration would do its best to mitigate the problem.

International observers and the Russian Foreign Ministry have criticized the organization of previous parliamentary polls, held in 2014, for long queues and insufficient number of ballots. On that day, mass disturbances were prevented in Moscow, where an angry crowd was about to storm a polling station.