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Reuters: Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova recruited fighters for Eastern Ukraine

Moldova’s intelligence believes that the five Russian diplomats expelled in May 2017 were spies recruiting fighters for the insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, reports Reuters referring to a government source and two diplomatic ones.

Accordingly, the five employees of the Russian Embassy in Chișinău were suspected of spying as undercover officers with the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. The spies were allegedly recruiting fighters from Gagauzia, the autonomy in southern Moldova, for paramilitary training in Rostov region of Russia and then for fighting in Eastern regions of Ukraine since 2014.

Neither the Russian or Moldovan Foreign Ministries, nor the Russian Defense Ministry commented the allegations. Not even Ukraine’s intelligence center, the SBU, who first reported about Gagauz people fighting in Donbass for the separatist entities, responded to requests from Reuters. According to the sources, some of the Gagauz recruits who returned from Eastern Ukraine, had been either arrested, interrogated or become informants to Moldova’s intelligence.

On 29 May 2017, five diplomats representing the Russian Federation were declared personae non-gratae in the Republic of Moldova. As a custom, the reason of expulsion was not made public.

Few know what might be the reasoning of Chișinău’s move, but one can find roots in the diplomatic note sent to Moscow in March on the abuses on Moldovan investigators of the Russian Laundromat, but also in the recent arrest of a former MP who was engaged in espionage together with the assistant to the military attache of Russia in Moldova. Some suspect the expulsion of Russian diplomats is just a move of the Moldovan governing Democrats to show their “anti-Russian” attitude to the EU and the USA.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy.

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Justice

Supreme Court of Justice rejects appeal of Moldova ex-PM Vlad Filat, 9 years sentence stays valid

On 12 December, the Supreme Court of Justice of Moldova rejected as inadmissible the appeal of the former Prime-Minister Vlad Filat.

The Court motivated that the appeals of cancellation regarding Filat’s case are “clearly unfounded”.

According to Ziarul de Gardă, the decision means that Filat used all the national appeal tools and that he can apply for appeal only at the European Court for Human Rights (ECtHR). Igor Popa, the lawyer of the former Liberal-Democrat, previously declared that the European Court is the last hope for “justice”.

Former Liberal-Democrat Prime-Minister, Vlad Filat, was arrested on October 15th, 2015 for allegations of passive corruption and traffic influence towards the then businessman and now mayor of Orhei, Ilan Shor. On June 27th, 2016, he was condemned to nine years of closed imprisonment by the Court Buiucani of Chişinău, a decision reinforced by the Appeal Court of Chişinău on November 11th, 2016. Moldova’s Supreme Court rejected Filat’s lawyers’ requests to reexamine the case.

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Politics

Poll ordered by Democratic Party: Socialists-24,7%, PAS-16,3%, PDM-12,4%, PDA-5%

IMAS published the results of a poll on the political preferences of Moldovans at the request of the Democratic Party of Moldova.

The poll shows that the rating for the government party Democratic Party increased- to 12,4%. Nevertheless, the Socialists’ Party would lead with 24,7% of votes in the Parliamentary elections, Action and Solidarity Party- 16,3%. Close to the 5% threshold are Platform “Dignity and Truth” rated at 6,4% and the Communists’ Party with 5%. 9,4% of respondents declared they wouldn’t vote, while 14,1% didn’t know how to answer.

Source: IMAS Moldova

In a case of a referendum, 60% of Moldovans would vote for Moldova join the European Union. 44% would vote for the Eurasian Economic Union, 32% for union with Romania and only 21% for joining NATO. Between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, 56% of  Moldovans prefer the EU.

36% rated the activity of President Igor Dodon with grades from 7 to 10, 33% did so for PAS leader Maia Sandu and PM Pavel Filip, 31% for suspended Chișinău mayor Dorin Chirtoacă.

46% of people have little confidence in the Government led by Pavel Filip, 29% have none or very little confidence, while 19% believe in Filip’s cabinet.

According to the poll, 45% of Moldovans have a bad opinion about the initiative of some NGOs and several parties to start a referendum on switching the electoral system back to a proportional one. 38% have a good opinion about the latter. On the other hand, 63% think to spend the money on this referendum would not be justified.

The poll was conducted during November 27-December 7 with 1101 respondents, with an error rate of 3%.

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Politics

Prime Minister Pavel Filip had a meeting with Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko

The current state of Moldovan-Belarusian relations and the possibilities for starting new partnerships in areas of mutual interest were discussed today in Minsk during the meeting of Prime Minister Pavel Filip with the President of Belarus, Alexandr Lukashenko.

The joint assembly of tractors and trolleybuses has been highlighted among the areas where there is effective and mutually beneficial cooperation. In the future, buses and trolleybuses will be assembled in Chisinau.

At the same time, officials have shown interest in joint investment projects in the wine, agro-industrial, zootechnical and pharmaceutical sectors. Moldova wants to take over the Belarusian experience in developing livestock complexes, and Belarus is interested in creating a joint venture for bottling Moldovan wine and cognac.

At the end of the meeting, Prime Minister Pavel Filip invited President Alexander Lukashenko to visit Moldova.

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