THE UNDERSIDE OF GLOBALISATION// SEASON 4

« MOLDOVA, SUCH A LONG ABSENCE»

Directed by : ANNE CHARLOTTE GOURRAUD

Time

Person Speaking,

Lower thirds/ text on screen

Dialogue


00:31


Yova (in broken French)

The door won’t close but we will fix this straight away. It’s just because of a small defect...

00: 38

Yova

There we go!

00:40

COM

Yova’s bus is brand-new. In all but 36 hours it will have travelled from Moldova to France.

00 49

Traveller in leather jacket

Where are we going to stop?

00 50

Yova

At Porte de la Villette, metro line 5.

00 51

Taveller

And when do we arrive?

00 51

Yova

Very early on Friday morning – around 4 or 5 in the morning I should think.

1:01

VO

Since 2014, Moldovans can move freely within the European Union – a decision which has accelerated emigration.

Consequently, Yova’s bus line does this commute once a week.


1:17

Yova

Previously It wasn’t as easy for people to go abroad. You needed a visa and it wasn’t easy to get one. One had to negotiate and it was extremely expensive. For example, in 2005 I once had to buy one for 4500 euros.

1:31

COM

Travelling in Yova’s bus only costs 100 euros.

This week, there are around 40 passengers.

Officially, they’re going away on holiday, but really the majority are hoping to find work.

1:46

ITW George

Moldova is in a difficult situation you see. If only there were jobs for us in the rural areas – but there just aren’t any. And so, we have to move, to make a few kopecks.

2:04

COM

In the Biceni region, in Northern Moldova, a huge number of migrants are choosing France.

2:14

Yova in the bus

Look at this, it’s like the Champs Elysees, this road is exactly the same isn’t it?

2:16

COM

Others take the road to Russia, towards the East.

One third of the 4 million inhabitants have already left the country.


At the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the republic of Moldova gained independence. Trapped between Ukraine and Romania, the country endured a catastrophic transition to the market economy. Therefore, the former breadbasket of the USSR saw its production industry collapse.


24 years later, Moldova is now the poorest country in Europe. 30% of its population live below the poverty line and an increasing number of people are trying to live in exile.


What are the consequences of this mass exodus? How can Moldova progress without its national workforce?



3:20


2500 km away, in Essonne, around 100 adherents are attending a church service in Montgeron’s Russian Church.


In this town, the Orthodox faith has brought together Slavic, Romanian and Moldovan adherents.

03:53


Father Nicodeme celebrates the mass in three languages:

A moment of prayer and communion for these migrants who have come to find a better life in France.

4:13


After three hours of worship, the adherents share a meal together in the next door room.

It’s an opportunity for the numerous Moldovan migrants to exchange words about their experiences

In France, they work in construction, cleaning or maintenance services or childcare.


4 26

WOMAN

Well you know when we arrived here 5 years ago, it was worse than having to start from zero. The two of us came by ourselves and we had to leave our daughter back in Moldova. I couldn’t see her for 3 years, as I wasn’t able to go home.

Anyway, there are a lot of us who have had to overcome these hardships.

4:42

LUCIA

Yes, situation with children causes lots of suffering.

4:46

VO

Most of these people leave their children in Moldova, to keep them from a life of instability in France. Some have been able to obtain Romanian nationality and work legally in France. Others are still struggling to find trustworthy employers to help them work legally.

5:00


Without these exchanges, this solidarity in our community, no one would be here to help us.

5:11

VO

Today there are around 40 000 Moldovans in France.

Raya is one of them.

5:16

RAYA

I am 28 years old. It’s been three years now since I left to work in Paris, to earn some money and put some aside for the future.

I’ve found cleaning work, ironing, I work at three women’s houses every day and that’s how I earn my daily bread.

5:45

VO

After her husband died, Raya was left with no other option.

In order to support the needs of her son, she moved to France and left him in the care of her parents. The phone is her only way of contacting Catalin her 8 year old son.

5:59

RAYA

Have you missed me?

6:01

CATALIN

Yes… I couldn’t wait for you to call.

6:03

VO

Since she’s arrived in France, Raya has only seen her son twice.

6:09

RAYA

Every day goes by, and you try and occupy your mind with work, you really try but it is very difficult because I know that he’s growing up, away from me, his mother.

It’s hard because I left him when he was little and now he’s big. I’m still under the impression that when we meet he’ll be a small child but no, it’s not the same.

Every day I look at the calendar and I wait impatiently for summer, the month of August, so that I can go home and see my son.

6:49

VO

In Northern Moldova the village of Corjeuti is slowly waking up.

7:00

CATALIN

My grandmother brings me my clothes, and I get dressed by myself so I can go to school.

7:09

TAMARA

You need to wash as well don’t you?

7:11

CATALIN

Let’s go.

7:13

VO

For 3 years, Catalin has been brought up by his grandparents who are farmers. At 47 years of age, Tamara took up work again.

7:29

TAMARA

Do you want some bread and butter? Yes?


7:33

CATALIN

Yes

7:36

TAMARA

I feel good doing things for Catalin, I feel it is my duty towards my grandson.

(To Catalin) Wipe your hands and face now.

7:44

CATALIN

Thank you

7:45

TAMARA

Well done!

7:47

VO

When her daughter Raya left, Tamara feared the worst for Catalin.

8:03

TAMARA

I had very bad thoughts when she left. I feared that she would get married abroad, that she would forget us, forget her child.

You know, there are some that leave and work for a better future but others that destroy their families by leaving… That is why I was scared.

8:11

VO

In spite of Tamara’s fears, Raya has never stopped supporting them. Catalin’s clothes and his schoolbag were all sent from France.

8:22

CATALIN

Mum is in France. I don’t really know why… so that we have a better life. My biggest hope is to be a footballer because I like running, I like playing with the ball.

8:33

VO

In the meantime, Catalin goes to the village primary school every morning which is only three hundred metres away.

8:52

VO

This morning, in Catalin’s class …

8:54

Teacher

Hello students

8:57

Students

Hello Miss.

8:58

VO

It’s time for the French lesson.

8:59

Teacher

Sit down please.

9:04

VO

In Moldova, almost half of students learn French. In the village of Corjeuti, this choice is also linked to migration.

9:16

Teacher

If you ask them, you’ll realise that most of them have parents that have left.

9:21

Teacher

Okay children so how many of you have parents living in France. Raise your hand.


9:29

Teacher

Ionela, tell me everything, how long have they been gone for?

9:32

Ionela

Many years now.


9:33

Teacher

What class were you in?

9:36

Ionela

No class! They left me when I was two and a half.

9:42

VO

In Catalin’s class, most children have not seen their parents for years. The teacher is worried.

9:54

Teacher

You’re aware that they need more attention, that they need affection really, someone who helps them, and that is why we have to spend more time with these children than with the others.

It is difficult, the distance, the separation, it’s as though it creates a ditch, a big hole (be quiet please) and I think they will be a bit of a traumatised generation.

10:25

VO

At the moment Catalin is first in his class.

10:27

Catalin

Spring summer autumn winter

10:30

VO

But what future is in store for him here in Moldova?

10:47

Woman with books behind

Migration has continued to menace the Republic of Moldova. If it keeps on going at this rate, the country could be gravely affected by depopulation.


VO

According to the last census, Moldova only has 2.9 million inhabitants. That is 500 000 less than 10 years ago.

In the countryside, the average salary is inferior to 200 euros a month.

The black Moldovan land, rich in tobacco, vines and fruit is cultivated less and less. Furthermore, the majority of its heavy industry was lost when Transnistria, in the Eastern part of the country, seceded.


11:43


In Corjeuti, Catalin’s grandfather continues to tend to his plot of land …

11:50

Sheep baas


11:51


..And his 30 farm animals.

11:56

Grandfather

I used to work in Kolkhoze, as a driver, a tractor driver, but now we work on the land, we keep animals mostly, there’s nothing else to do…

12:07

VO

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Moldovan state redistributed parcels of a few hectors to each agricultural worker, instead of collective farms.

Too small, too disorganized, these new structures never managed to develop. Consequently, self-sufficient agriculture occupies the majority of the rural areas.


12:26

Tamara

Before there was more work, cooking jobs, jobs in government, there were lots..and now what? Well there is nothing.

12:33

Grandfather

We must look to the future.

12:36

VO

The grandfather works hand in hand with Catalin, his grandson.

12:42

Grandfather

Come on. Start at the back. Put it in the trough.


12:58

Catalin

It’s their food.

12:59

Grandfather

It teaches him things, and this way if I am not here, he can do it for me. I have taught him ever since he was little and if I hadn’t, he would have done nothing at all.


13:19

Grandfather

When young people have nothing to do, they quickly go on the internet but that’s life.

13:25

Catalin

Yes it’s better like that, at least you don’t hurt your eyes here.

13:34

VO

Once a week, Tamara and Catalin go to the Corjeuti market.

13:38

Tamara

You’re already done at the market?

13:40

Old man

Eh! You look younger.

13:41

Tamara

Really? Well of course! How can I get older? I’m looking after a child who’s in primary school after all!

13:47


VO

It is a vital meeting point for the people of the village.

In the Moldovan countryside, supermarkets don’t exist.

Markets provide essential base products to the inhabitants.

14:04

Tamara

Give me the best ones, nice and sweet please. How much is a kilo?

14:09

Salesman

25 lei (1,20 euros)

14:10

VO

The increasing inflation rate, on average 6% every year, means that money sent home has become even more crucial. Every month Raya sends a few hundred euros to her family.

14:26

Tamara

Without money from abroad we wouldn’t be able to survive. Back in the time of the Soviet Union prices were at least stable. Work was badly paid but at least our salaries were able to cover our spending.

Bread was less expensive, now bread is 10 – 15 lei (50-70 euros) when an hour of work is 20 lei (1 euro). So that’s just one loaf of bread and nothing else.

15:00

VO

Between disenchantment and anger, the Moldovan population oscillates between East and West. In 2013, when the country signed an association agreement with the European Union, Russia retaliated by imposing an embargo on Moldovan agriculture exports. The traditional sector, with its ties to the East, has since been cut off.


15:20

Old Man

It is a very serious situation, terrible. As long as these people are in power, it will always be the same, every time we elect a government things repeat themselves. If they help us get in to Europe things will definitely be better but as long as this doesn’t happen, nothing will change.

Thank god we live in peace but we have to speak the truth. We are not at war, but it is difficult. The people in power say they want to be part of Europe but deep down, I don’t think this is what they want.

15:58

VO

With 80% of Moldovans speaking Romanian, the country has strong ties to Russia.

In Chisinau, the capital, pro-European and pro-Russian parties have competed for power since independence.

Alternating between two radically opposed political parties has hindered the country’s development.

Since 2009, the European Union has made more and more gestures towards Moldova, in the form of economic treaties and visa liberalisation.

Nowadays, European aid in Moldova is the most significant in the region, but the results are almost non-existent.


16:24

Onzu Nantoi

The state has proved to be ineffective. In Moldova, there is no national consensus about the path we need to follow. We didn’t size up the problem and we don’t know how to successfully transit from the Soviet system to the economic realities of our times. No one will approach these sort of subjects. And so we have taken the most painful road, the most chaotic.

Because of corruption, and because the Moldovan justice system is so fragile, there has been no serious investment in the country to create jobs.

17:11





17:27

VO

After 25 years of mass emigration, certain areas in the country have been abandoned. Numerous villages have been deserted, houses left in ruins with only a few families who have stayed behind, struggling to survive.


In Donduseni, in the North, Vacile goes around the villages every day. He’s a social worker for a Moldovan NGO.

To make up for the deficiencies of the state, he looks after families torn apart by migration.


17:47

VACILE

Sometimes grandparents are no longer able to look after the children. Problems arise in families, children start adopting an unhealthy way of life and sometimes they can commit crimes.

18:04

VO

This morning, he’s visiting an exhausted grandmother.

As her husband is handicapped, she’s been having to look after her 3 grandchildren alone.

18:12

Vacile

One must go to school okay? School is sacred.

18:19

VO

Like 60% of Moldovan migrants, their parents went to Russia to find work. This was four years ago.

18:29

Vacile

I know that they don’t like being away from you either, but this is how it is. If they could find work here, they would be here. In any case, they have a lot of faith in you and you must obey your grandmother. That is very important.

18:


VO

With her €35 pension, Bunika is finding it harder and harder to cope. For three months, her daughter and her son-in-law have had basically no work in Russia.

18:52

Bunika

We’re very scared because the Russians are paying less and less. On top of this, the rouble has weakened and therefore they don’t earn enough money. There’s no point anymore. What they earn over there now counts for almost nothing here. How much more time will we be able to continue like this? Only god knows, I only hope he will keep us in good health so that we can stay by their side.

19:32

VO

Is Vacile’s prevention work enough?

140’000 Moldovan children are now living in the country with at least one of their parents abroad.

19:49

Woman in office

Up to now, the authorities regarded parents living abroad as something positive. In the sense that the money sent from abroad would help the children to live, to pay their studies, it was advantageous for them. But what we have identified is a situation of crisis. Sometimes children do not have enough to eat, we have seen a grandmother killing a cat to provide food and we have also seen children suicide attempts.

19:28

VO

In order to avoid these disasters, social workers prefer putting struggling migrants’ children in institutions.


Voice

ONE TWO THREE FOUR

20:43

VO

At the Ocnita children’s home, every day starts with open air gymnastics.

21:01

VO

Situated on the Ukrainian boarder, the childrens’ home welcomes around 60 children between 4 and 17 years old, whether they are handicapped, mentally impaired or migrants’ children. Angela Capatena has to run the establishment on a tight budget. Without donations from abroad, the run down children’s home, wouldn’t be able to function

21:30


Angela

The ministry gives us just enough to pay for food, electricity, our salaries, gas and heating. We have nothing for anything else. Nothing for clothes for the children, nothing for shoes, nothing. For that we rely only on foreign aid which comes mostly from France, Germany and the US.

21:56

VO

Among the children here are Daniel and Marius. Their parents left for Russia 7 years ago.

The family was homeless.

They now share their day to day lives with the children at the home.

22:15

Dan

This is my bed… this is my cupboard.

22:29

VO

With no better options available, they follow the same school curriculum as their handicapped classmates.

22:34

Dan

For now, we’re studying here but we’ll see what happens after. Once I’ve finished school I would like to return home to Drochia, to learn and find a profession. For example, I’d like to be a car mechanic, but I guess we’ll see.

22:50

VO

They have heard from their parents a few times since they left to work in construction in Sotchi. As they wait for their hypothetical return, the two brothers have adapted to their new lives.

23:00

DAN

It was more difficult before; we didn’t have any money at all. We went to school with empty pockets, it was very difficult. Now, since they went away, life seems easier, I feel as though things are getting better. We don’t want the bad stuff anymore; we’ve already had that. We don’t want to go back to it.

23:33

VO


More than just a refuge, the children’s home is also a place of protection. Moldova is one of the main targets of human trafficking.

Every year, hundreds of children are forced into prostitution, begging or organ trafficking.

On the outskirts of Chisinau, in a secret location. Victims are looked after by the International Organisation of Migrations.

23:59

VO

It’s a miracle that Cristina has survived. At 28, she has already been enslaved for 12 years.

24:08

Cristina

My mother left to go work in Moscow when I was five, she never came back. My father died in 2001, before this he drank a lot. When I was 6 he raped me.

24:25

VO

Fleeing from family violence, Cristina sought refuge at her neighbours’ house for food and support.

24:34

Cristina

Some gypsies said that I could live with them so I accepted. I went to go live with them, and they took me to live in Russia. They made me work over there, begging in a wheel chair. They injected me with anaesthetic in the morning, and until the evening I couldn’t feel my body anymore, my legs were paralysed.

And then they made me meet a family who looked after little girls and they said I should live and work for them. I thought I was going to work in the market, but I had to stay for 2 years and be a prostitute.

25:30

VO

Fortunately, Cristina managed to get away. She was able to return to Moldova a few months ago after 12 years of absence.

In between 300 and 500 Moldovan victims of foreign trafficking are identified by this centre every year. But how many have not been found?

25:59

Tamara

Hello, what are you up to? Have you woken up?

26:02

Raya

Yes and what are you doing? Catalin, put the camera down a bit, I can’t see you. Yes like that.

26:10

VO

Every Sunday Catalin skypes his mother for half an hour. On the other days, Raya gets home too late.

26:18

Raya

So have you learnt your French poetry?

26:21

Catalin

Yes, maybe she’ll give me a 10/10 in poetry.

26:24

Raya

Did she not say it was too fast?

26:26

Catalin

No I pronounce things the French way tatatatata

26:30

Raya

Be good Catalan. Alright?

26:33

Catalin

Alright.

26:35

Raya

Do your homework!

26:36

Catalin

Stop it I know!

26:38

Raya

Ok you know what I mean. Kiss kiss.

26:42


Catalin

Kiss kiss

26:43

Raya

Ok goodbye, have a good day.

26:45

VO

How much longer will Raya and her son be separated? An increasing number of Moldovans in France are getting their children to come live with them.

26: 59

Catalin

Tower.

26:59

Tamara

What is it called?

27:00

Catalin

The Eiffel Tower

27:05

VO

But for now, neither Raya nor Catalin see their future in the capital.

27:10

Catalin

It’s nice but home is better. I would also like for mum to come home and for us to be together.

27:26





27:55

VO

In Catalin’s village, every once in a while luxurious houses rise up from the ground. With 1.5 billion euros sent every year, migrants’ money now represents 25% of Moldova’s GDP. But businesses are rarely born out this money made abroad.

In Corjeuti, two migrants have built a bit of France in the centre of the village.

28:06

Natalia

The room is in the French style. It’s red blue and white -the French colours, like the French flag.

28: 16

VO

Replacing an old municipal crèche, this banquet hall has a traditional French style and replicas of beautiful Parisian monuments. Natalia runs the complex.

28:26

Natalia

Girls what do you still have left to do for tomorrow?

23:29

Woman

Natalia’s carrots.

23:30

VO

The “A Paris” restaurant has created a few jobs in the village and is known for its specialities.

28:42

Natalia

This is our “Paris” pizza with 6 cheeses.

28:46

VO

Tonight, a young boy in the village is celebrating his birthday in the Napoleon room. The teenager’s parents live in France. At 14, Ionela already wants to join them.

29:01

Ionela

I see myself staying in Moldova for 2 more years maximum, after I will continue my studies in Paris.

29:23

VO

As the saying goes “Wherever Moldovans dance, the Earth trembles”.

Ionela will be able to join her parents soon.

The owners of the restaurant have also opened up a bus line to Paris.

Situated on the outskirts of Europe, does Moldova’s future lie inside or outside its borders?



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