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Protesters in Gagauzia demand Moldova resume relations with Russia

The protesters demanded resignation of President Maia Sandu, the Natalia Gavrilita government and early elections

CHISINAU, July 31. /TASS/. Participants in opposition rallies in Moldova’s Gagauz autonomy on Sunday demanded Moldova’s authorities resume relations with Russia and asked the Russian government to reduce gas prices.

"We ask to reduce gas prices, otherwise we will be faced with a catastrophe. If it is not possible to reduce prices for entire Moldova, we are asking to look at providing natural gas at acceptable prices to people in Gagauzia," according to an appeal to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin adopted by the participants in a rally in Comrat, which was demonstrated live on local television.

"The anti-popular domestic and foreign policy has led to the impoverishment of Moldova’s people. In the coming winter, our people will be left without heating because they cannot pay the bills. There is a high probability that social establishments - kindergartens, schools and hospitals will share this destiny. Local budgets will be unable to pay for that. People are very worried about the next heating season and are afraid of a humanitarian catastrophe," the document notes.

The protesters demanded resignation of President Maia Sandu, the Natalia Gavrilita government and early elections. They also demanded relations with Russia be normalized "The Gagauz people will never support the severance of ties with Russia and the CIS. We share a common faith, common mentality and history. We don’t need alien values," Nikolay Dudodglo, Comrat’s former mayor and now a member of the autonomy’s parliament, said at the rally.

The protesters also accused Moldova’s government of ignoring the autonomy’s problems. In December, Moldova’s parliament passed a law on Gagauzia’s special status, which was supposed to put an end to the confrontation between Chisinau and Comrat, which has been lasting since 1990, when Gagauzia proclaimed a republic and Chisinau tried to do away with it by force. Soviet troops helped avoid bloodshed back then. In 2014, the autonomy held a referendum on the country’s foreign policy. More than 98% of voters favored Moldova’s integration into the Customs Union.

Protests have been held in Moldova since June demanding the resignation of the current leadership. People are protesting against the unprecedented growth of prices for gas and other energy resources and food, and against deteriorating living conditions. The current authorities are also criticized for political pressure on the opposition.