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Moldova separatist leader vows to solve opposition politician’s suspected murder

The president of Moldova’s separatist pro-Russian Transdniestria region vowed on Tuesday (18 July) to solve the suspected murder of an opposition politician who was a rare advocate of reconciliation with the country’s pro-European government.

Transdniestria broke away from Moldova before the end of Soviet rule and after a brief war against the newly independent state’s military in 1992 has remained a separate entity, though with no international recognition.

Opposition politician Oleg Horgan was found dead in his home this week, apparently after being struck with a heavy object. A safe in the house had been emptied. Officials in Transdniestria said they believed the case to be a simple robbery.

In Moldova’s capital, government ministers pointed to a political killing and the Deputy Prime Minister, Oleg Serebrean, asked the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Europe’s biggest security body, to help in the investigation.

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Transdniestria President Vadim Krasnoselsky said he would take “personal control” of the investigation.

“Evidence is being collected to enable us to determine a motive,” Krasnoselsky told a visiting European Union (EU) delegation on Tuesday. “We will solve this crime and identify the criminals.”

Horgan, a Communist, was a critic of Transdniestria’s separatist administration and the large Sheriff company that controls much of the region’s commerce. He had recently served 4-1/2 years in prison on charges of inciting civil strife.

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A parliamentary committee summoned a special sitting of the assembly to discuss the suspected murder later in the week.

Horgan clinched an accord last week with a Moldovan opposition party, the Civic Congress, to work for the prosperity and civic freedoms of people in both Moldova and the enclave.

“We are the first who have dared openly to extend our hands in solidarity and support,” their joint statement read.

Moldova has embarked on a drive to join the EU since the 2020 election of President Maia Sandu, who has roundly denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Moldova has been buffeted by the conflict, with Russian missiles occasionally landing in the country. Sandu has accused Russia of trying to unseat her government and Transdniestria leaders have alleged that Ukraine plotted to kill Krasnoselsky.

About 1,500 Russian “peacekeepers” remain in Transdniestria, whose leaders are still loyal to Moscow and receive Russian gas for the enclave practically for free.

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