Whoa, it’s cold here. “Minus 20” my ‘taksi’ driver told me in his best English at 7am this morning. I laughed but I wasn’t impressed as he’d just used absence of heat extort a higher then necessary taxi fare from me – he knew full-well that idea of walking 10 minutes to the metro was worse than paying an extra 10 grivna.

My (very warm) two-bed ‘lux’ room has plastic flowers and a TV. I don’t understand Russian/Ukrainian drama but the bed is comfy.

It’s a little boring because I have almost 15 hours to kill before I get to Chisinau in Moldova (and snow-covered fields are getting a little tedious) but I have chocolate, dried fish, an orange and water ‘without-gas’. It’s snowing a blizzard outside and we just pulled up next to some graffiti that says “Mad lady from Vinnista” (in English). I’ve only been to Vinnitsa once (I changed trains here when I came to Moldova in March) but I guess this refers to the girl who likes to dress as a fairy.

I’ve been invited to Moldova to attend an ELDR sponsored conference, hosted by Moldova Noastra on the topic of EU expansion. Currently form part of a fragile coalition liberal government that came to power after a botched election turned nasty in April and the so-called ‘twitter revolution’ and its revolutionaries (or other provocateurs) stormed the Parliament and Presidential buildings. A re-run of the election in July removed the Communist party majority and offered a small but essential chance for democratic and administrative change in Moldova, However, the small minority coalition may be in trouble as they don’t have the constitutionally required majority to elect a president. The communists are playing hardball and the outcome of this saga is still unclear. The deadline for a deal has passed and if nothing changes, Moldova will be forced into another expensive and awkward election – the 3rd in a year. All this comes at a bad time for Moldova who, like Ukraine face the dual evils of financial crisis and political instability.

Anyway, I’ll post some post-conference news and snow-covered updates from Moldova later…


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