Thursday, August 21, 2014

Moldova - caught and suffering between super-powers

Moldova is often classified as the 'poorest' country in Europe.

It's a small country of only a few million people and it is between Romania and Ukraine. Lately, due to the troubles between the USA and Russia, Moldova has been suffering a great deal. Very little is being written about this country in the US press since the country does not seem to be useful to the US government.

Yet, apparently, the current government of Moldova wants to have closer ties to western Europe and apparently Russia is punishing Moldova with a boycott of some of its fruit and vegetable produce. (a boycott is when someone or group or some country or group of countries refuses to buy products from a company or country). From what I have been able to tell, many people in Moldova are turning against the government because they do not feel it has acted in the interests of its people by pursuing a closer relationship with western Europe.

It's a shame that a ridiculous disagreement between the USA and Russia is hurting a country like Moldova. When the "Cold War" ended in 1989 everyone thought this would lead to a period of greater peace and harmony throughout Europe.  It's such a shame that politicians in the USA, Europe and Russia could not act with honesty and integrity (ethics, morals, goodness) to bring nations and peoples closer together.

Here is an article from the Guardian about Moldova:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/15/moldova-fights-back-russia-food-bans

Vocabulary to help you understand the article about Moldova:

a ban - if something is banned, people in a given area or society cannot buy or use it.  i.e. Cigarettes are now banned in nightclubs in New York City.

an embargo - this is more formal than a boycott.  An embargo is when one country bans something from another country.

begin to bite - begin to hurt

a raft of measures - a raft is a small structure that can be made to float small distances. A 'measure' is, in this case, a plan of action. I am guessing that a 'raft' of 'measures' means plans of action meant to help the Moldovan economy function despite the harm the Russian embargo is causing.

a crop - a fruit or vegetable is grown as a 'crop' - this is the whole group of a certain type of fruit or vegetable.  So a crop of grapes may include thousands of bunches of grapes.

a new market - a new place to0 have his produce bought.

fuming - to be very angry

scrapped - got rid of, ended

duty-free exemptions - an exemption is an exception.  So it means Russia charged duty fees (taxes) on imports, but allowed Moldova to send its goods to Russia without paying these taxes.

retaliation - revenge; if someone hurts you, you might hurt someone back as retaliation

encroaching on - trespassing on, crossing a line or boundary that should not have been crossed, going where one shouldn't go

former Soviet countries - countries that used to be controlled by Russia when Russia was a communist country called the Soviet Union.

government sponsored measures - actions brought about by the government

to promote - to encourage or increase

a largely symbolic farmer's market - it is largely symbolic because it isn't having any real effect.  A farmer's market is usually a place in a city where people can buy fresh produce.

a publicity stunt - something silly or crazy which is done to bring more attention to a product or issue or company etc.

pledged - promised

compensation - money

lost revenue - lost money

state-subsidized - the government pays for it

slated to - scheduled to

allocated - set aside

a think-tank - a place where experts get together to talk about different policies and to make recommendations to companies and governments

the incumbent government - the current government

protests - when groups of people gather publicly to express their anger over policies or actions

a convoy - this is usually a long line of cars or trucks

their financial plight - their financial troubles

to scrap - to end

discontent - unhappiness, dissatisfaction

minimal - hardly anything, the least possible

pesticides - chemicals to kill the bugs which eat plants

autonomous region - there seems to be a region of Moldova which does not agree with the current government and it is now independent of Moldova and is supported by Russia.

keeping the lid on something - keeping something from getting worse

may hinge on - may depend on, may be base don

a quota - an amount which has to be reached; in this case a certain amount of goods from Moldova have to be bought

not holding their breath - this means something will not happen soon; there is an expre4ssion: When do you think this will happen?  Well, don't hold your breath!

to put the squeeze on someone - to make things difficult for someone

a glut - when there is too much of something

poses a hurdle - presents a problem presents an obstacle

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If you are in New York City and need a good English teacher, please consider me. :)

http://djg51qu.wix.com/gauss

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