2021 leaves us with hope for real changes on both sides of the Nistru. Petru Mustea

With positive and negative moments, 2021 is coming to an end and what it generated leaves an imprint on the destiny of the person, family, the country. IPN spoke with those who care and have what to say about victories and failures, hopes and letdowns, achievements and losses. How 2021 was for the man and civic activist Petru Mustea, deputy head of the public association “Două Maluri” (“Two Banks”).

Petru Mustea is from Ofatinți village of Râbnița district, which is situated on the bank of the Nistru River. During several years, he has had to live on the right bank owing to the fight for human rights that he conducted in the Transnistrian region. For him, 2021 was a difficult year owing primarily to the pandemic crisis and also because the human rights on his grandparents’ land continued to be violated.

“The year started with hope that, primarily on the left bank, particular changes will be brought about, mostly as regards human rights. I have dealt with this problem for several years and had to leave the region because of this. I cooperate with a number of organizations to defend the rights of different categories, such as entrepreneurs, young and older people. Regrettably, the human rights situation on the left side of the Nistru during the last few years has worsened and not much changed the past year. We hope the state institutions from the right side will hear us and will protect us, as the law provides. For now, the results are not the expected ones,” said the association’s deputy head.

Analyzing cases concerning human rights violations in the region, which reached the ECHR, he reached the conclusion that the European institutions care about the situation in Moldova more than the constitutional authorities. He said this is the opinion of many people who expected justice to be done to them. “The expectations have been very great, especially after the presidential elections and the snap parliamentary elections of July. The Transnistrians’ vote for the parties of the right shows that the people from the left side tend to a better life. In the regions, there are only older persons, pensioners with small pensions or persons who do not have where to go. There is serious degradation in medicine, social protection, education. The so-called authorities there are dissatisfied with the fact that the people try to express their opinion. Many people are jailed, forced to leave the territory and they do not have access back. It means that being a native, you cannot be near your family, relatives,” stated Petru Mustea.

He noted this happens because those who allow abuses do not answer for their deeds in accordance with the law. Now, at the end of the year, they held “phantom elections” in the region. More people intended to take part in these and they probably had good intentions, but the Transnistrian administration dashed their hopes.

“The Transnistrian issue was created artificially as borders between brothers cannot be placed. I haven’t seen my mother, who is older than 70 and who lives not far from me, for several years. There are many people in such a situation. Our freedom of expression is limited. We cannot go to the land of our grandparents where there are their graves. This year, regrettably, leaves us separated from the dear ones. There are many problems, but we remain with big hopes for changes for the wellbeing and future of the people from both sides of the Nistru. I want to see my mother and grandchildren not only on the Internet, but also in real life,” said Petru Mustea.

He also said the people are tired of restrictions, procedures imposed on the so-called borders. It is hard to reach those checkpoints and to fill out the forms, as if they go abroad. The pandemic is used as a pretext to restrict access to the region. But the people have family members there. They hope the new government will bring about changes that will be felt also by the citizens of the Republic of Moldova from the left side of the Nistru. If there are no real changes for the population, especially in the justice system, the people will be driven to despair as the problems in the justice sector from the right bank affect the whole country.

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