Foreign Ministry criticizes proposal to open 'Soviet occupation' museum in Moldova

Moscow is indignant at the Moldovan defense minister's proposal to open a 'Soviet occupation' museum, deems the dismantlement of a memorial for tank crews in Balti to be a sacrilegious act and warns about the possible exacerbation of Russian-Moldovan relations.

Moscow is indignant at the Moldovan defense minister's proposal to open a 'Soviet occupation' museum, deems the dismantlement of a memorial for tank crews in Balti to be a sacrilegious act and warns about the possible exacerbation of Russian-Moldovan relations.

"Moscow is indignant at the 'initiative' of Moldovan Defense Minister Anatol Salaru to create 'a military museum of Soviet occupation' and deems blasphemous the dismantlement of a memorial for heroic tank crews in Balti," the Russian Foreign Ministry information and press department said in a commentary posted on the ministry website.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called particularly cynical the fact that "the Moldovan authorities did that in the year of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet people against Nazi Germany."

"Hopefully, amid mass protests in Chisinau, the Moldovan authorities will have enough political maturity and common sense not to replace a deficit of dialogue with their own people with ideas that are fraught with serious complications in Russian-Moldovan relations," the ministry said.

A Soviet tank T-34 was removed from its pedestal at the location of the Stefan Cel Mare motorized infantry brigade on September 16 to be transferred to the 'Soviet occupation museum'. The proposal to open the museum was made by new Moldovan Defense Minister, Liberal Party Vice-Chairman Anatol Salaru.

The minister told reporters at the monument dismantlement ceremony that he had signed a decree to make the tank the first exhibit of the new museum.

"The museum will open in March 2016. In addition to the tank, which is a Soviet-era remnant notorious to people in many countries, there will be other pieces of hardware on display. We will soon decide together with colleagues from the Culture Ministry how many of them are available and what their condition is. In fact, this tank has never been on the books of the Defense Ministry. The Moldovan army does not have tanks and, besides, we are not a conqueror country," the minister said.

He also said that the removal of the T-34 tank from the pedestal proved that "the wave that once rolled across Eastern Europe has reached Chisinau."

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