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Moldovan vote thorn in region's side

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Moldovan vote thorn in region's side


One of Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich’s problems will be what do about troubled Transdnestr. On paper it is part of Moldova, 10 percent of that country but with 40 percent of its industry. In 1990 it broke away, the Russian-speaking majority afraid Rumanian-speaking Moldova would eventually merge with Rumania. A brief war in 1992 cost hundreds of lives and was only ended by the Russian army, which still patrols a demilitarised zone today. This weekend the tiny unrecognised would-be nation holds a referendum. President for the last 15 years Igor Smyrnov expects the result to cement his personal position. Ukraine and the EU do not recognise the vote, but it will ask the nearly 400 000-strong electorate if it wants independence and eventual attachment to the Russian Federation, or integration with Moldova.

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