Today 14 December 2019, Saturday - Last updated at ora 19:45

News 29 June 2019, at 08:55

The Wall Street Journal: Tiny Moldova Fears Russia is Playing a Long Game

Marime Font

For years, Europe’s poorest country has been torn between Russia and the West—and Moscow still has the upper hand

CHISINAU, Moldova—Moldova’s new Prime Minister Maia Sandu has struck a balance between Russia and the West over how to put her tiny nation back on its feet—at least for now.

Russia has backed a series of leaders in former Soviet bloc states who have shied away from moving closer to Europe and stuck close to Moscow, strengthening a chain of states buffering Russia.

Yet so far it is doing little to check Ms. Sandu, who took office in June after forming an unlikely coalition government between her ACUM bloc, which favors joining the European Union, and the Socialist Party, which favors closer ties with Moscow. Ms. Sandu, a Harvard-educated former adviser to the World Bank, says her government will begin work on a badly needed overhaul to clean up corruption.

“This is a window of opportunity that we have now,” Ms. Sandu said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “I very much hope that we’ll work hard to make it a new beginning.”

Moldova has long been a focal point for Russia’s anxieties over the EU’s advance into the old Soviet bloc. The Kremlin already has troops on the ground in Transnistria, the thin sliver of land along its border with Ukraine that for decades has had complicated relations with Russia. The breakaway region has its own police force, currency and postal service catering to a large population of ethnic Russians.

In a statement, Russia’s foreign ministry pointed to strong cultural and historical ties between Russia and Moldova and said it had worked hard to resolve the conflict between Moldova and Transnistria. It was because of Russia, it said, that the armed phase of the dispute was ended in the early 1990s and a platform for negotiations established.

However, because of Russia’s hardball tactics elsewhere in the region, Ms. Sandu and other Moldovans question the Kremlin’s long-term intentions in Transnistria and Moldova itself.

In eastern Ukraine, Moscow is backing pro-Russian separatists in a slow-burning conflict that followed the Kremlin’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and has claimed 13,000 lives since 2014. In neighboring Belarus, the Kremlin is increasing pressure to integrate the two countries into a formal union, effectively dissolving Belarus into Russia.

Further south in Georgia, relations with Moscow have long frayed over Russian support from breakaway regions where Russia still stations troops. Georgia’s president last week accused Moscow of meddling in its internal affairs after a Russian politician briefly took the chair in the Georgian parliament, triggering days of unrest, including an attempt to storm the chamber.

In the Balkans, too, Russian is trying to limit the spread of North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the EU by stirring political and social divisions, analysts said.

“There is no other case in the region, when during a political crisis occurring in a country, the U.S., EU and Russia reached a common position that benefits all sides,” said Denis Cenusa, a Moldovan political scientist and a researcher at Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany.

“As a rule, Russia is at odds with the West,” he said, making the apparent detente in Moldova all the more unusual.

Russia, the EU and the U.S. all applauded when wealthy oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, former chairman of the Democratic Party and one of the country’s most powerful men, agreed to step aside after his party unexpectedly took control of government at the height of the postelection deadlock.

The EU said it was ready to work with the legitimate government of Moldova. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it was satisfied with the peaceful resolution of the crisis and was looking forward to the new government taking steps to improve cooperation between Russia and Moldova.

The U.S. State Department congratulated all sides and called for restraint moving forward.

“We all had the same assessment that a government needs to be formed,” EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in an interview during a visit to Chisinau on June 19. “Nobody can afford to have a destabilized Moldova in our neighborhood.”

Russia, though, maintains the upper hand. Through its supporters in the Socialist Party, to which the country’s president belongs, it can still shape what happens in Moldova, some analysts say, and ultimately bring down the government.

Vladimir Cebotari, deputy president of Mr. Plahotniuc’s Democratic Party, said the different groups in the new government were “geopolitically too different” for it to survive.

Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said with the oligarch Mr. Plahotniuc out of the way, “the West and Russia have no compelling reason to collaborate” any further.

Immediate flashpoints could include pushing stronger ties to Europe or promoting further restrictions on the use of the Russian language in Moldova, which is closer culturally to neighboring Romania. In 2018, Moldova introduced a so-called anti-propaganda law that effectively bans Russian TV and radio broadcasts.

Keeping the new administration intact in this tinderbox environment will be a difficult balancing act.

Andrei Nastase, Moldova’s deputy prime minister, said Ms. Sandu and the pro-Russian Socialist Party would have to deliver rewards for both sides. Vlad Batrincea, who is president of the Socialist Party group in parliament, said the two factions had decided to place a moratorium on their ideological and political differences.

Ms. Sandu, who as prime minister heads the government, acknowledged the alliance between her anticorruption movement and the Socialist Party was “not a natural one” and it was unclear how long the partnership would last. She said she had made clear to Russian authorities her government would promote what she called “Moldova’s EU path.”

She also said she suspected Russia’s support for her broadly pro-Europe coalition was the only way to ensure a role for the Socialist Party, which she described as “close to the Kremlin.”

Ms. Sandu said, only time would tell. “If there are other reasons, I guess we will find out soon.”

—Laurence Norman in Brussels contributed to this article.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it has worked to resolve tensions between Moldova and Transnistria, a breakaway region along Moldova’s border where Moscow has stationed troops. An earlier version of this article omitted the ministry’s statement. (June 28, 2019) 

 Urmărește știrile pe Telegram
blog comments powered by Disqus

Din aceeaşi secţiune

Cele mai noi ştiri de azi

News 11 December 2019, at: 11:59

NATO leaders need to idenitify Russia as a threat to the Alliance, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said in London on Tuesday. "It is very important to identify Russia as a threat. If we don’t do that, we considerably change the whole angle of the NATO structure," Nausėda...

( ) Read all

News 11 December 2019, at: 11:03

How the television producer Konstantin Ernst went from discerning auteur to Putin’s unofficial minister of propaganda. Ernst’s work combines cosmopolitan savviness with subservience to the state.Illustration by Chloe Cushman In the final days of 1999, Konstantin Ernst prepared...

( ) Read all

News 10 December 2019, at: 12:57

 New Zealand volcano: PM Ardern says questions must be 'asked and answered' New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said there are questions which "must be asked" after the volcanic eruption on White Island. Five people are dead and eight are missing on the island -...

( ) Read all

News 10 December 2019, at: 11:03

The little girl has not been given a name yet A paramedic in Pakistan has been arrested after allegedly stealing a baby to give to her childless aunt. The little girl was taken shortly after birth from a hospital in Balochistan, in the south-west of the country. But the family was...

( ) Read all

News 10 December 2019, at: 10:19

Sitting two seats away from the leading architect of his country’s five-year war, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he had travelled to Paris in the hope of reaching consensus to bring the conflict to an end.  “The important thing for me is human life,” Mr...

( ) Read all

News 10 December 2019, at: 10:15

Four people have been killed in a shooting at a hospital in the Czech Republic, police have said. The attack took place in the city of Ostrava.

( ) Read all

News 7 December 2019, ora: 11:17

OSCE group of friends of Georgia condemn Russian aggression, demand release of abducted doctor

OSCE group of friends of Georgia condemn Russian aggression, demand release of abducted doctor

 The group of friends of Georgia in the OSCE has delivered a joint statement to reaffirm their “firm support” for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, condemn the Russian aggression and demand the release of a well-known Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili who...

( ) Read all

News 7 December 2019, at: 11:01



The foreign ministers of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have signed a joint statement on the establishment of a so-called EU+3 format including the three Eastern Partnership countries in order to advance their goals of European integration.

( ) Read all

News 28 November 2019, at: 08:13

The Albanian village of Thumane experienced the worst destruction in this week's earthquake. Residents there have celebrated rescues and mourned deaths as emergency crews search the rubble for survivors. The Albanian village of Thumane was hit hard by Tuesday's 6.4 magnitude earthquake....

( ) Read all

News 27 November 2019, at: 14:39

 Effort aims to reduce the stigma experienced by those living with the virus. A reproductive scientist checking embryos The online clinic aims to give people diagnosed with HIV the opportunity to create life and to raise awareness. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian The...

( ) Read all

News 21 November 2019, at: 17:01

Brown bear attacks: Deaths spark fear in Romania

Bears have become so numerous that there are growing calls for a return to trophy hunting A spate of deadly bear attacks in Romania has raised fears that the population of Europe's largest protected carnivore is increasing beyond control. Three men have been killed in little over a month in...

( ) Read all

News 21 November 2019, ora: 16:30

Russian domestic violence: Women fight back

Russian domestic violence: Women fight back

Two years ago, many Russians were shocked when the parliament significantly reduced penalties for domestic violence. Since then, women have been fighting back - demanding new legislation to restrain abusers, demonstrating in support of three sisters who took the law into their own hands, and...

( ) Read all

News 21 November 2019, at: 16:22

(VIDEO) Chisinau Airport deemed an example for former soviet countries - famous Russian blogger says

(VIDEO) Chisinau Airport deemed an example for former soviet countries - famous Russian blogger says

You can have a great time at the Chisinau International Airport while waiting for your transfer. This is the conclusion of the well-known Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov, who shared his impressions of a recent trip to Moldova. According to him, Chisinau Airport is an excellent example of the...

( ) Read all

News 6 November 2019, at: 23:30

Who is behind the attempts to expropriate Giurgiulești International Free Port?

Who is behind the attempts to expropriate Giurgiulești International Free Port?

 There have been various reports about an illegal attempt to expropriate Danube Logistics Holding BV of its shareholding in Danube Logistics SRL, the operator and general investor in Giurgiulesti International Free Port. In order to discuss this subject in greater detail TIMPIL.MD had a...

( ) Read all

News 26 October 2019, ora: 09:53

The Guardian How liberalism became ‘the god that failed’ in eastern Europe

How liberalism became ‘the god that failed’ in eastern Europe

 After communism fell, the promises of western liberalism to transform central and eastern Europe were never fully realised – and now we are seeing the backlash.

( ) Read all

News 18 October 2019, ora: 09:48

Turkey's Erdogan 'threw Trump's Syria letter in bin'

Turkey's Erdogan 'threw Trump's Syria letter in bin'

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put US President Donald Trump's letter "in the bin", the BBC has been told.

( ) Read all

News 12 October 2019, ora: 09:56

Will The OSCE ‘Democratize’ Russia’s Occupation in Ukraine’s Donbas?

Will The OSCE ‘Democratize’ Russia’s Occupation in Ukraine’s Donbas?

 Kyiv has co-signed with Russia and the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR, LPR) a commitment to: a) accept the holding of “local elections” in that Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine and b) accept the Organization for Security and Cooperation in...

( ) Read all

News 7 October 2019, at: 09:20

 On the occasion of the book launch, "Panorama of communism in Soviet Moldova", writer from the Republic of Moldova, Maria Sleahtitchi, one of the authors of the volume, spoke to about the condition of Moldovan literature in a society strongly divided by ethnic and political...

( ) Read all

News 4 October 2019, at: 07:26

 The Council of Europe is concerned about the possible adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of a bill amending some laws of Ukraine regarding the activities of the judiciary (No. 1008), which provides, inter alia, a reduction in the number of judges of the Supreme Court and changes in the...

( ) Read all

News 1 October 2019, at: 21:51

Thomas Moser: Rafiq Aliyev is attempting to coerce me into agreeing to the sale of Danube Logistics Holding BV

Thomas Moser: Rafiq Aliyev is attempting to coerce me into agreeing to the sale of Danube Logistics Holding BV

 I would like to clarify a number of false and misleading press reports about Danube Logistics Holding BV’s acquisition of Danube Logistics SRL in 2011 and other matters that have been circulating in Moldova last week.

( ) Read all

News 1 October 2019, at: 17:06

 The United States continues to closely follow and support efforts to reform and strengthen Moldova’s justice system.

( ) Read all
Current tier / breakpoint: xs sm md lg xl (= visible only on this breakpoint)

.hidden-xs-down .hidden-sm-down .hidden-md-down .hidden-lg-down

.hidden-xs-up .hidden-sm-up .hidden-md-up .hidden-lg-up .hidden-xl

.hidden-xs (only) .hidden-sm (only) .hidden-md (only) .hidden-lg (only) .hidden-xl (only)