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Romanian President: Moldova Protests Similar to 1989 Revolution

Czech Republic - Romanian President Traian Basescu during an interview with RFE/RL’s Eugen Tomiuc at RFE/RL headquarters, Prague, 16Jul2009
(PRAGUE, Czech Republic) During a visit to RFE/RL's Prague headquarters today, Romanian President Traian Basescu compared neighboring Moldova's recent post-election protests to Romania's 1989 anti-communist revolt. [read Basescu's full interview]

"We have seen such events before," Basescu said, referring to April's post-election demonstrations in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau. "We saw them in December 1989, when another Communist leader [Nicolae Ceausescu] failed to understand his own people, and furthermore, failed to understand the younger generation."

Basescu also strongly rejected Moldova’s accusations that Romania was behind the violence. He said Romania's stance toward Moldova will always be “one people, two countries.” The president also spoke about the EU’s eastward expansion plans and Russia-US relations. [full interview]

In a meeting with RFE/RL journalists, Basescu said, "You were the best supporters of the Romanian revolution."

"Radio Free Europe led the 'radio revolution' - we heard about all the important events from you. RFE was the gold standard for Romanian journalists in the first years after the collapse of communism."

During a tour of RFE/RL's Afghan Service, Basescu told Radio Azadi journalists that, "What you are doing in Afghanistan today, RFE did for Romanians from 1950 to 1989."

Last August, after nearly 60 years of operations, RFE/RL's Romanian-language service ceased broadcasting to Romania. However, Romanian-language broadcasts to Moldova and the Transdniester region continue.

Joining President Basescu on his visit to RFE/RL's headquarters were Romanian Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu and Justice Minister Catalin Marian Predoiu.