Sunday, July 6, 2014

First wine, now meat. Russia continues to bully former Soviet states.

Last fall, as Moldova prepared to sign a bilateral pact with the European Union, Russia unilaterally banned the import of Moldovan wines.  This was a hard blow to Moldova (one of Europe's poorest countries) which is heavily dependent upon agriculture.  They also produced some of the best wines in the former Soviet Union.  Russian authorities claimed that the ban was enacted because some of the wines tested positive for traces of plastics.  But Moldova's agricultural minister points out that "Russia permits a higher amount of the same elements in its own water supply, and the European Union a higher amount still."   According to Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy Valeriu Lazar, this ban cost Moldova over $6 million dollars (by the end of last year).  According to the "Wine Moldova" website  ".. the export of Moldovan wine fell by 65% because of the embargo by Russia." Exports dropped from 4 million liters (first quarter 2013) to just over 800,000 liters in the first quarter of 2014.

On Wednesday, July 2, Moldova's parliament ratified a broad trade and political agreement with the European Union. On the same day, Russia banned meat exports from Moldova.

“We are very much aware and worried about the possible reaction.. We are not alone in keeping worried about the future. Of course, the entire region is largely affected by the recent decision of the Russian federation to occupy and annex Crimea and make turmoil in eastern Ukraine.” 
  -Moldova’s ambassador to the United States Igor Munteanu

Russian bullying and threatening smaller, former satellite nations has got to stop.  Putin has the opportunity to bring Russia into the 21st century or drag it back into the gulags of Lenin and Stalin.  The WTO (World Trade Organization), EU, and the US need to continue to strengthen and increase sanctions against Russia until it is no longer economically feasible to continue their unilateral attacks.  Ignoring this problem will not make it go away.

Please share this information with your elected officials.  Russia must be stopped before they get so bold as to start military operations against other former satellites (besides Ukraine).

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