President Nicolae Timofti of Moldova told reporters on Tuesday that his people were benefiting economically from the European Union (EU), but stated that Russia’s presence was still felt in formerly communist country which became independent when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991.
"We can't deny the realities that exist in Moldova. We were part of a union where Russia predominated," Timofti said.
"[But] we are a European country and our people have European aspirations...It has been understood that we can live much better in the European family than in any other political conjunction," he added.
As a former constituent state in the Soviet Union, Moldova remained dependent on Russian economic and military support during its two decades of statehood, but the pro-European parties have dominated its policy very recently.
Moldova's three main pro-EU parties had formed a new coalition government despite the Socialist Party took the first place in the parliamentary election held in last December.
But the pro-European government relies on the support of Communist Party which prefers cordial relations with Russia by joining the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union instead of the EU.
Moldova is one of the poorest countries that is located on the edge of European geography near Ukraine where Russia’s military and economic presence begins.
The country’s economy is becoming more dependent on Europe as its almost 600,000 nationals went to the EU member states to work.
Since Russia has implemented a food export ban that is also valid for Moldova, the country’s trade increased to 54.5 percent with the EU, while transaction costs have been declining with Russia.
Meanwhile, more than half a million Moldovan citizens have travelled to EU countries after the 28-nation bloc lifted the Schengen visa for Moldovans in April last year.
Russia maintains its influence over Chisinau through the breakaway Russian enclave of Transnistria which gives Russia a potential springboard for action in the landlocked country of 3.5 million, wedged between war-torn Ukraine and EU member Romania.
Moldova and other Eastern European countries have been worrying over Russia’s increasing influence in the wake of annexation of Crimea and the separatist war in eastern Ukraine.
The EU suggested those countries to take part in the neighbourhood policy by signing of the association agreement that empowers cooperation and coordination between Europe and non-EU members.