by Ralph Peters [author, novelist]

Don’t feel bad if you can’t find Moldova on a map. Our president can’t find it, either.

Our befuddled secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, could find Moldova, if she wanted to. But she doesn’t want to. Because that would mean facing up to Russian mischief.

And everybody knows the Russians are going to be our bestest-bestest friends, like forever, dude. They really mean it this time.

Anyway, why should we care about an impoverished state the size of a cattle ranch where a population of barely 4 million survives on a per-capita income of $2,500?

Why should the Obama administration care about people struggling to regain their snatched-away freedom and to unseat a Communist government that came to power in murky elections — then blatantly rigged recent voting to keep control?

Why care about hundreds of pro-freedom demonstrators beaten in the streets and jailed in cells once run by the KGB? Obama’s congressional intimates are busy flying to Havana to adore the Castro brothers. (So much for the pro-democracy Cubans rotting in Fidel’s prisons: Guantanamo bad; Cuban torture chambers? Viva la revolucion!).

A smudge at the edge of Europe, Moldova is a victim of history. Stalin hacked most of its territory from Romania (most Moldovans long to rejoin their motherland) and the rest from Ukraine. The Soviets then used it as an agricultural fief, unwilling to industrialize a border region.

As the Soviet Union collapsed, Moscow’s security services saw Moldova as a crucial outpost that must not be relinquished: It marked the USSR’s border with Europe, which the likes of Vladimir Putin would resurrect.

So the KGB and its successors armed and guided a separatist movement in eastern Moldova, on the left bank of the strategic Dniester River. “Transnistria” would serve as a future Russian bridgehead (and a goldmine of corruption in the interim).

Moldova’s post-independence lot was tough in other ways, too. Its humble agricultural exports were produced on land poisoned by Soviet farming methods. Its wine, although prized back in the USSR, won’t threaten Napa Valley.

Under Putin, Moldova’s top exports were banned from the vital Russian market, devastating the economy. Electricity, supplied through breakaway Transnistria, was disconnected repeatedly.

Russian natural-gas supplies were cut off in the dead of winter. And the Communists who returned to power in Chisinau, the threadbare capital city, in 2001? Amid wild corruption, government officials have been accused of white-slaving Moldovan women to the Middle East.

So much for national pride.

The people of Moldova want to be part of the West, to join the European Union. The population’s over 80 percent Romanian and fiercely anti-Russian. (The region once hosted a wonderful Jewish culture, but we all know what Hitler and Stalin did to that.)

Communist “President” Vladimir Voronin blames Romania, not Russia, for all Moldova’s suffering. The people know better and want Vononin gone. But Russia’s new czar, Vladimir Putin, backs Voronin. So the Obama administration ignores the demonstrations, the brutality and the unlawful imprisonments.

After all, if we don’t give a damn about Putin’s thugs murdering Russian dissidents at home and abroad, why should we care about Moldovans getting beaten or raped by their government? Repeat after me: “The Russians are our friends. And friends have to overlook each other’s little quirks.”

A quarter of Moldova’s workforce labors abroad. Families survive on remittances. Russian policies impoverish those who can’t leave. Democracy’s in ruins. Crime thrives. And now Russia’s stooges are clubbing the last dreams of freedom out of the population.

Today, Moldova. Tomorrow, Georgia and Ukraine.

And then our president will go to Moscow and apologize for America’s role in defeating the Soviet Union.

Freedom is so last week.


NY Post / copyright 2009 NY Post

Ralph Peters is Fox News’ strategic analyst. His latest book is “Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World.”

Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications.

3 Responses to “PUTIN’S PLAYGROUND”

  1. Irakli Says:

    Obma warms up relations with Cuba and Somalia. Seems, his genes call. So far it looks like Eastern Europe will be sacrificed. Georgia and Ukraine will once again fall under Russia and new waves of KGB repressions will begin. Someone will say it is not real, it won’t happen. It has already happen when some intellectual people are quite successfully persuaded that Georgia a 4.5 million country begun he war against Russia. Someone will say that US will not allow injustice. But in this 4.5 million country there are 600 000 refugees ousted from their private homes and lands. And this injustice continues to happen and allowed to continue. How 69000 sq kilometer Georgia can protect itself from such a newborn monster as Putin’s Russia is. Its face is still to be shown to the rest of the world.

  2. jim Says:

    So, I don’t usually agree with with some of the other articles I read on your website, but this one is close to dead on. I mean one cannot ignore the fact that there still is a 20 to 30% Russian speaking population, that the remaining percentage is considering itself in majority to be Moldovan and not Romanian (though according most mainstream historians the two are identical, the propaganda makes the difference). Your article also glazes over the re-conquest/occupation/re-occupation of Besserabia and Bukovina by the joint forces of Germany and the Kingdom of Romania during WWII. Although you mention the tremendous suffering of the Jewish population, you fail to mention that Romanian troops were involved. I also believe that if a balanced solution is not given in the area, the fervently Romanian/Moldovan youth would become, as you say it already is, anti-Russian, though it should not, despite the history. In the end you’d think that I oppose your article, but I sincerely do not. I completely agree with the other side of the equation and with the need for Secretary Clinton to finally find out where Moldova is on the map. It might lead to the discovery of the Russian 14th Army.

  3. Paul Sava Says:

    Things are not that simple.

    Romania subtly threatens Russia to invade Moldova and to break the new Iron Curtain

    Today the Romanian President Traian Basescu held a major speech in a joint parliamentary session. The topic was the turbulence in the neighbouring Republic of Moldova, formerly a Romanian territory which was taken by the USSR.
    Below are the paragraphs from the speech which clearly indicate that Romania considers a military solution to the political unrest in the Republic of Moldova. Statement which could trigger a brutal start of the second Cold War.

    RO “Suntem îngrijora?i de represaliile pe care autorit??ile Republicii Moldova le întreprind, de înc?lc?rile grave ale drepturilor omului. Situa?ia este agravat? de limitarea ?i blocarea activit??ii reprezentan?ilor mass-media, ac?iuni prin care se încearc? s? se ascund? opiniei publice abuzurile ?i comportamentul brutal al for?elor de ordine. Jurnali?tii care mai pot transmite men?ioneaz? r?piri de persoane, re?ineri abuzive, amenin??ri, terorizarea cet??enilor, fabricarea de dosare, anchete f?r? asigurarea asisten?ei juridice pentru persoanele re?inute.”

    EN “We are concerned about the reprisals inflicted by the Moldovan authorities, about the serious violations of human rights. The situation is worsened by the restriction and obstruction in the journalists’ activities, actions by which they try to hide to the public opinion the abuses and the behaviour of the security forces.
    Journalist who can still do their job speak of kidnappings, abusive arrests, threats,terrorizing the civilizians, forgery of cases, inquiries without providing legal assistance for those held in custody.”

    RO “România î?i manifest? preocuparea fa?? de agresarea ?i m?surile ilegale întreprinse pân? acum împotriva cet??enilor români.”

    EN “Romania expresses its concern about the attacks and illegal actions launched so far against the Romanian citizens.”

    RO “În condi?iile în care m?surile represive vor continua, România va analiza, în conformitate cu normele interna?ionale, formele de asisten?? umanitar? ?i de protec?ie pentru cei a c?ror via?? ?i integritate fizic? sunt amenin?ate.”

    EN “If the repressive actions continue, Romania will examine, according to the international regulations, all forms of humanitarian assistance and protection for all those whose lives and physical integrity are under constant threat.”

    RO “Amintesc c? prin articolul 7 al Constitu?iei, statul român are obliga?ia s? acorde sprijin etnicilor români din afara grani?elor.”

    EN “I recall that article 7 of the Romanian Constitution stipulates that the Romanian authorities are bound to assist the Romanian ethnics living abroad.”

    My commentary

    This is exactly how the NATO-Jugoslavia War began in 1999 and the Russia-Georgia War erupted in August 2008. The right to defend an ethnic group from repressive actions taken by a certain type of government. We are drawing closer to a war. NATO and EU are still rather neutral. We wait for their standings. I foresaw the increase in the alert condition applied to the Romanian armed forces. I bet that our army generals and the intelligence services prepared strategic planning and war scenarios.


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