Visitors to Annual Conference Liverpool 2008
Over many years they have helped CWUHA deliver many tonnes of vitally needed aid to hospitals, schools, orphanages and deserving poor Transdniestrian families. It was because of this vital work, the trustees decided to invite them to attend conference and to address the gathered throng at the CWUHA A.G.M. Their visit was highly successful culminating in their joint presentation to the A.G.M, which when finished resulted in a standing ovation. They attended all of the social nights held during conference week. As they are life long fans of the Beatles, to be in the cavern club watching and listening to the Beatles tribute band brought happy tears to their eyes Everyone concerned agreed that the girls were the stars of the week.
Pictured below, is a photograph of our two Transdniestrian guests who are standing in front of the CWUHA Stand. The picture was taken at the CWU Annual Conference which was held in Liverpool, the 2008 capital of culture. On the left is Natasha Novikova on the right Svetlana Belova. The girls work for EveryChild based in Tiraspol, Transdniestria.
Crossing the border into Transdniestria requires considerable patience, with nervous, armed officials consulting security chiefs for clearance. Making a phone call from Chisinau in Moldova to Tiraspol is all but impossible. Freight trains have long stopped running. Progress in this area, on social, political, and cultural matters will be extremely difficult to achieve.
Roger Jones (with assistance from the Tanzanian Guardian 2/06/08)
HARD PATH AHEAD TO SOLVE MOLDOVA SEPARATISM
It was hoped that progress would come out of a recent meeting between the President of Moldova and the leader of the separatist Transdniestria region. This meeting in March was the first time they had met since 2001 and both sides relayed news of a positive meeting, yet it does not seem that there has been much of a breakthrough as reality seems to have taken grip in Moldova, Europe’s poorest country. Entrenched positions will be difficult to break down; 16 years after Russian troops ended their war. Russia backed the separatists and relations have slowly improved between Chisinau and Moscow with Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin offering the ‘broadest possible autonomy’ to Russian-speaking Transdniestra – which enjoys no international recognition. Igor Smirnov, self-styled president of Transdniestria says he will settle only for independence.
Transdniestra’s Slavs declared independence in 1990 in Soviet times on fears that majority Romanian-speakers would make Moldova part of Romania, as it was before World War Two. That never happened, but since the war, Transdniestria has acted as an independent state, with 1,200 Russian troops staying to uphold the peace and guard a massive 20,000 tonnes of munitions. The dispute has proven as intractable as post-Soviet conflicts in Georgia. It is possible that Russia has altered its tactics in Transdniestria for strategic reasons. A diplomatic success in Moldova, with participation from Russia, would contrast sharply with the impasse in securing a settlement in Kosovo, whose independence has been underpinned by the West.
Tiraspol, Transdniestria’s regional ‘capital’, sports crumbling Soviet-era buildings, dotted with small shops, the occasional modern restaurant or bank and a lively market. Generally, though, poverty and disillusionment are widespread. Young people clamour for passports and dream of heading off elsewhere for better pay and prospects.