Europe Needs to Pay Attention to What’s Happening in Moldova

Maia Sandu, leader of Moldova's Party of Action and Solidarity, attends the European People's Party congress in Malta, March 29, 2017
Maia Sandu, leader of Moldova’s Party of Action and Solidarity, attends the European People’s Party congress in Malta, March 29, 2017 (EPP)

After five months in power, Maia Sandu’s pro-European government in Moldova has collapsed. President Igor Dodon, whose sympathies are with Russia, has appointed Ion Chicu, a Euroskeptic, as interim prime minister.

The situation worries Moldovans — but it should also worry the EU. Read more “Europe Needs to Pay Attention to What’s Happening in Moldova”

Despite Historical Ties, Moldova Unlikely to Follow Romania’s Path

Unlike my colleague and friend Irina Staver, my culture and native language are not Romanian. I am an expatriate living in the neighboring Republic of Moldova, a country with close cultural and historical ties to Romania.

Yet I have observed with great interest the parallel evolutions of these two countries. A number of similarities thus spring to mind, so that I might be able to draw from the current Romanian context a few lessons for Moldova. Read more “Despite Historical Ties, Moldova Unlikely to Follow Romania’s Path”

Battles and Breaks

Vladimir Putin Sergei Shoigu
Russian president Vladimir Putin and his defense minister, General Sergei Shoygu, arrive in Anapa on the Black Sea to observe military exercises, March 29, 2013 (Kremlin)

While the world was looking at the Russian military campaign in Syria, Russia may have scored a victory in Europe: the government of Valeriu Streleț in Moldova was toppled by a vote of no confidence initiated by pro-Russian parties in the Chișinău parliament. Meanwhile, opposition protesters clashed with police in Montenegro’s capital and the Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, visited Moscow. It seemed as if Russia had been on a winning streak. But in reality, Vladimir Putin has too many battles to fight and his own strategy — if there is one — put him under pressure. In fact, Russia is winning only where it does not have to have a strategy. Read more “Battles and Breaks”

Communists Back Pro-European Coalition in Moldova

Dependent on the Communist Party for its majority, Moldova’s new government may have to downplay its interest in deepening ties with the rest of Europe.

Parliament voted in a new administration in Chișinău on Wednesday, led by the former businessman Chiril Gaburici. His Liberal Democratic Party won 20 percent support in November’s election, placing it behind the pro-Russian Socialist Party which got 21 percent support.

The Liberal Democrats failed to renew their alliance with the Liberal Party but still govern in coalition with the Democratic Party. Both are centrist and pro-European but do not command a majority in parliament between them. They needed the Communists to keep them in power.

The Communists ruled Moldova before it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. Unlike the more radical Socialists, they claim to support integration with the European Union but seek to revise Moldova’s trade agreements with the bloc to shield farmers from competition. Read more “Communists Back Pro-European Coalition in Moldova”

Pro-Europe Parties Lose Support in Moldova, Maintain Majority

Parliamentary elections in Moldova on Sunday showed support for Prime Minister Iurie Leancă’s shift toward the European Union and away from Russia but the ruling pro-Western parties were nevertheless on course to lose several seats as a result of their inability to tackle corruption.

With 85 percent of the votes counted on Monday, the outcome also showed the country eying its former Soviet master with the Communist and Socialist Parties, both of which advocate closer relations with Russia, winning 18 and 21 percent support, respectively.

Russia has hurt Moldova’s economy by banning meat, vegetable and wine exports after the country signed an association agreement with the European Union this summer that put it on a path to membership. Read more “Pro-Europe Parties Lose Support in Moldova, Maintain Majority”

Moldova Next? Voters Asked to Choose Between Europe, Russia

Moldovans are asked to choose between further integration with the rest of Europe or better relations with their former Soviet master, Russia, in parliamentary elections on Sunday. The stark choice is reminiscent of recent events in Ukraine where large demonstrations in favor of closer relations with Europe brought down the government and prompted Russia to back a separatist insurgency in the southeast.

“If before everyone thought it was possible to adapt and find a stable balance between East and West, now, I think, voters really must make a choice between East and West,” Romania’s former foreign minister, Teodor Baconschi, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in an interview.

Prime Minister Iurie Leancă’s pro-European parties are at 49 percent in the opinion polls. But his Liberal Democratic Party is neck and neck with the Communists. Both are polling at 21 percent support. Read more “Moldova Next? Voters Asked to Choose Between Europe, Russia”

Russia Formally Annexes Crimea, Transnistria Requests Same

Vladimir Putin Sergei Lavrov
Russian president Vladimir Putin speaks with his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in Sochi, March 10 (Kremlin)

President Vladimir Putin formalized his country’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea on Tuesday when he signed a treaty that returned the peninsula to Russia.

A day earlier, lawmakers in the Moldovan breakaway region of Transnistria requested similar admission into the Russian Federation.

Putin announced the annexation in an address to a joint session of parliament in Moscow’s Kremlin, days after an overwhelming majority of the Crimea’s population had voted in favor of joining Russia.

Denounced by Ukraine’s government and Western nations as illegitimate, the referendum saw almost 97 percent of Crimeans voting to become Russian with turnout at 83 percent. Read more “Russia Formally Annexes Crimea, Transnistria Requests Same”