Transnistrian Communists brace for protests

The Communist Party of Transnistria (PCT) is planning to hold a series of protests in a number of Transnistrian towns, including Rabnita, Tiraspol and Dubasari after the Russian presidential elections, Info-Prim Neo’s correspondent in Transnistria reports, quoting the PCT leader Oleg Horjan. He says they will protest against the very difficult economic situation in the region and against the sudden rise of prices of goods and public utilities. Since the beginning of the year, bread prices have increased by 25%, while the public utilities went up by about 30%. The running water is now three times more expensive -- up to 40 Transnistrian roubles (about 60 lei) a month for a member of the households that do not have water meters. After January 1, the prices of food products continue to increase and are much higher than the ones on the right bank of the Nistru. The average salary of a budget-paid employee in Transnistria is about 700-800 Transnistrian roubles (900 – 1,000 lei), while the pensions are approximately 400-500 roubles (600 – 700 lei). In the wake of these rises, the Transnistrian authorities decreased a number of benefits provided earlier to several categories of people, including to the disabled, war and labour veterans. Last year, the PCT staged three regional protests after every rise of prices, in March, June and November. Legal action was taken against Oleg Horjan on charges of disobeying the police after the March protest. Horjan was given a 1.5-year probation, while the leaders of the PCT branches were kept in custody for three days. Before the protest planned for next March, the PCT plans to print around 10,000-15,000 loose-leafs calling on the population to take part in the protest. Also, the 3,500-copy edition of the party’s newspaper “Pravda Pridnestrovya” (“Transnistria’s Truth”) will be doubled by the end of this June. As to the plans for 2008, Horjan says his party will step up its activities. The PCT will launch the second stage of collecting signatures to hold a referendum on ten most important issues for the population. “We need the signatures of 5% of the total number of voters to hold a referendum, but we intend to collect three times more,” Oleg Horjan said. Amongst likely referendum questions he mentioned the nationalisation of privatised industrial enterprises, the introduction of state monopoly on selling alcohol, sugar, fuel and lubricants. According to the latest opinion polls carried out in the region, the PCT takes the second position in the political ranking after the party “Obnovlenie” headed by the speaker of the Transnistrian legislature Yevgeni Shevchuk. At the last December elections of the would-be Transnistrian president, the Communist Nadejda Bondarenko, employed by the “Pravda Pridnestrovya” newspaper, came the second.

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