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Weekly Roundup: Protests continue in Chișinău, IMF’s third tranche, and NATO’s done with Soviet pesticides

Just a banner from a protest in Chișinău, 1 July 2018

1 July 2018- Here’s another Weekly Roundup. Protests again in Chișinău and many other things…

“Let’s stop the dictator!”: Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Great National Assembly Square on Sunday. They asked for the validation of the results of Chișinău mayor elections, suggesting that the oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, obviously bothered by Năstase’s win, influenced the judicial decision. On June 29th, the Central Electoral Commission took the decision to invalidate the results, after Moldova’s Supreme Court annulled the results.

The initial invalidation decision was a claim that 3 Facebook live videos posted by Năstase on election day and calling people to vote allegedly influenced the results.

The protesters were creative on Sunday’s protest too. Sometimes, sadly creative:

“It’s much more profitable for him to victimize himself”- Moldova’s PM Pavel Filip about mayor-elect-not-validated Andrei Năstase (Washington Post).

DW is attempting to call the current protests Moldova’s Maidan. The leader of the protest movement, Andrei Năstase, is denying this designation, underlining the importance of peaceful means of political protesting.

Here’s Atlantic Council with a bunch of opinions on what’s this protest-thingy is all about for Moldova.

Moldova’s Democratic Façade Crumbles as Supreme Court Invalidates Democratic Election: Mihai Popșoi argues for Jamestown Foundation that Plahotniuc’s smokes and mirrors (read: PR and lobby done outside Moldova) used to hide his anti-democratic techniques might take Moldova back into Russia’s orbit, eventually.

Mogherini and Hahn: We expect the Moldovan authorities to take measures ensuring Chișinău election results are respected

According to Mogherini and Hahh, the “non-transparent invalidation of the mayoral elections in Chișinău”, confirmed by Moldova’s Supreme Court on June 25th, “deprives the people of Chișinău of their democratically-elected mayor, Mr. Andrei Năstase(…)”.

The EU officials are asking the Moldovan authorities to take “appropriate measures” to ensure the election results are respected.
(…)we expect the Moldovan authorities to take appropriate measures to ensure that the results of the Chisinau mayoral elections, as recognised also by national and international observers and reflecting the will of the voters, are respected.

Скузаци, вэ рог: The European Commission’s President has apologized after the phrase ‘Moldovan language’ appeared on its website- calling it a “regrettable administrative error”.

Last month, in the section on the Consultation on the Future of Europe, an option allowed readers to select their preferred language of use – including “Romanian language/Moldovan language”. The Romanian vice-president of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Andi Cristea, called for the error to be repaired as soon as possible. If only Cristea was more strict with his S&D colleagues, the Moldovan Democrats, as he is with linguistic matters…

“I was informed about fabricated penal charges”: The statement belongs to the UN Human Rights Council expert, Michel Forst, during his visit to the Republic of Moldova. Forst called on the authorities to stop intimidating the human rights defenders and the civil society representatives.

$33,8 million: The IMF approved the review for a new (third in the current programme) disbursement for Moldova.

…the 2018 budget amendment accommodates priority infrastructure needs and other social assistance, consistent with program objectives. Priority spending should be protected, the wage bill should be contained relative to GDP, and budget overruns ahead of the elections should be avoided. (Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the IMF Executive Board)

The ECF/EFF arrangements in a total amount of SDR 129,4 million (about US$178,7 million, or 75% of the Republic of Moldova’s quota).

“Transnistria made the first profit from cryptocurrency”: The first mining capacity has already started working, and the government has received its first revenues, prime-minister of the separatist region Alexandr Martynov declared. According to Intellnews, there are multiple sources of revenues: the taxes charged to companies carrying out blockchain mining operations, but also the price of the gas used by the Cuciurgan plant. The latter is reportedly used at its maximum capacity.

1269 tons of Soviet-era chemicals were collected and transported from Moldova for destruction in Poland, with NATO’s support. On 28 June 2018, a NATO-sponsored project focused on the disposal of pesticides and dangerous chemicals in the Republic of Moldova ended.

The last batch of 31 tons of pesticides collected from Sîngerei, Drochia, Edineț districts and Bălţi Municipality were evacuated on the last day from the regional central warehouse from Alexandreni village.

The total cost of the project was 2,2 million euros, covered through a NATO Trust Fund.

Moldovan Church Sidelines Priest In Spat Over LGBT Support: Ghidighici-based priest, Maxim Melinti, was relegated to the role of spectator by the Moldovan Orthodox Church, which banned him indefinitely from officiating services as of June 21, alleging he was “promoting and encouraging sexual minorities and contributing to the development of the LGBT movement in the Republic of Moldova.”

“In me, many have found the man who will understand them and treat them with respect. I do not judge anyone, I just help people get to Christ”, he told reporters at a press conference on June 26. (Radio Free Europe)

Over and out. Come by next week!

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


Weekly Roundup: Facebook Live’s influence on election results, UNGA adopts Moldovan resolution, Democrat ambassador to the US

"Stolen vote"

It’s a new Weekly Roundup here, at How much does it influence your opinion?

Facebook Live and independent Moldovan judges: 

The Central branch of the Chișinău court didn’t validate the results of the recent mayoral elections in Moldova’s capital. Thus, the mandate of the mayor-elect Andrei Năstase (won by 52,57% in the 2nd round) was not validated.

Mayor-elect Andrei Năstase

The Chișinău court decision was based on a claim that 3 Facebook live videos posted by Năstase on election day and calling people to vote allegedly influenced the results. The court decided to annul the results based on a complaint filed by the Socialists’ Party, but later even Năstase’s former opponent Ion Ceban declared he wanted the court “just to notice some violations”, not to completely cancel the election results. Despite large protests in the Moldovan capital, the Chișinău Appeal Court maintained the decision of the lower court.

Sunday saw another day of large protests, with more young voters and more innovative slogans coming here and there. The protesters are waiting for Moldova’s Supreme Court of Justice to have its last word, and they showed signs of willing to protests if their democratic will is not heard or “obstructed by political influence” (hint: Democratic Party of Moldova- PDM).

Radio Free Europe has a video of the protesting crowd:

Our Ana Gherciu has some photos of people’s slogans today:

“The face of a disappointed person”

“Sorry, we don’t produce as much as you steal!”

“The people are not like a cow: you milk, it stays silent”

“Today I am in the sun so that he stays at cold” (implied “in the prison”)

Slogans and posters aside, the real questions are not even how much Facebook LIVE videos can influence voting preferences, but something else: How independent is the Moldovan justice system? How desperate are those canceling election results with the help of judges?

Meanwhile, the EU and the US are closely monitoring the judicial process around the Chișinău mayoral election results.

UN General Assembly adopts Moldova’s resolution on withdrawal of “foreign military forces” from its territory:

The resolution calls on the UN Member States to urge the Russian Federation to “complete orderly, unconditionally and without further delay the withdrawal of the Russian Operational Group of Russian Forces” (more commonly known as OGRT or OGRV), in accordance to its commitment agreed at the 1999 OSCE Istanbul Summit, but also the UN Charter. The Russian request to examine to take “no action” on Moldova’s resolution was rejected.

Put to vote, the resolution was adopted with a simple majority of 64 votes in favor, 15 against, and 83 abstentions.

Here’s how the voting went:

More about the resolution here.

Sham coincidences: On June 21st, the Russian Federation told the JCC that the military columns moving last week had the goal to increase security at the munition deposit in Colbasna (some 21 thousand tons of munitions are still stored there since Soviet times) in the wake of possible “terrorist acts and provocative actions” during the World Cup. The JCC could not approve the weekly security report because of disagreement over attaching video proof of the columns to the documents.

22 June, 11 am, NYC time- The UN General Assembly adopts the resolution on the withdrawal of Russian troops- the so-called OGRT- stationed in the Transnistrian region of Moldova.

23 June, 4.00 am to 1.15 pm: Four columns of military vehicles were spotted moving unannounced on the Dubăsari-Grigoriopol-Tiraspol road. Back from Colbasna, apparently.

According to Chișinău, approximately 11 TABs and 25 trucks (URAL, ZIL, UAZ) were moving on the road without any symbols of belonging to either the OGRT or the peacekeeping mission, with number plates missing. Moreover, the columns were accompanied by the Transnistrian “special police forces”.

The Moldovan delegation managed to gather military observers from all the peacekeeping parties. When asked to stop, the military vehicles reportedly did not react in any way.

So, did the World Cup end already? 🙂 is following the case with the OSCE Mission to Moldova, as well.

New Ambassador to the US, now in a “Democrat VP” shape!

Moldova’s new Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Cristina Balan, recently presented the accreditation letter to POTUS, Donald Trump.

Oval Office – Credentialing Ceremony for Newly Appointed Ambassadors to the US Cristina Balan

More skilled in the business sector, Balan has come into the diplomatic mission as a result of the nomination of her party, PDM.

Balan himself is the Vice-President of the Moldovan Democrats and is known to be the right-hand of oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc in handling foreign affairs.

More on her profile:

Democrat VP Cristina Balan nominated as Moldova Ambassador to the US

New US Ambassador to Moldova coming soon:

President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate Derek J. Hogan of Virginia as US Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova. Rumor says that current Ambassador James D. Pettit is going to retire, needing a replacement.

 While it was hard to find a picture of the future Ambassador to Moldova, it was much easier to find a description of his career:

Mr. Derek J. Hogan, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1997.  He is currently Deputy Executive Secretary of the United States Department of State, a position he has held since 2017.  Mr. Hogan is one of the Department of State’s experts on Eastern Europe, having served five tours working in or on Eastern Europe, including Russia.  He has held senior leadership positions both at United States missions overseas and domestically for the Department of State.  Mr. Hogan most recent overseas tours – as Chargé d’affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Azerbaijan from 2013 to 2016 and as the Department of State Representative on the civilian-military Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Southern (Uruzgan Province) and Eastern (Kunar Province) Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009 – have demonstrated that he possesses the leadership, management, innovation, and communication abilities needed to succeed in complex operating environments.  Mr. Hogan earned a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and a M.P.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.  He is the recipient of multiple Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State.  Mr. Hogan speaks Russian and Spanish.

We will miss H.E. Pettit for his sharp honesty.

“Energetic” Moldovan-Russian-Romanian spy: Russian news reports say an executive with energy holding

company Inter RAO has been arrested and charged with spying for an unnamed foreign country. The executive is Karina Turcan, a Moldovan national, who is accused by Russian FSB for spying for the Romanian intelligence.

Turcan oversaw electricity trades in parts of Eastern Europe, including Moldova, reports Radio Free Europe and Rosbalt.

MoldovaAgroindbank slice goes to the EBRD: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said it would take part, together with two private equity firms, Invalda and Horizon Capital, in an auction to buy a 41,09 percent stake in Moldova’s largest commercial bank, Moldova Agroindbank. (Reuters)

Over and out.

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Weekly Roundup: Moldova’s UN resolution, Russians move within Security Zone, and the “Grand Theft” recovery strategy

It’s a late edition of’s Weekly Roundup.

Moldova’s UN General Assembly resolution: On 15 June 2018, the Foreign Minister of Moldova, Tudor Ulianovschi, announced on Friday about the registration of a draft resolution on the “withdrawal of foreign military forces” at the United Nations Secretariat.

The resolution titled “Complete and unconditional withdrawal of foreign military forces from the territory of the Republic of Moldova” is expected to be addressed to the UN General Assembly on June 22nd. Around 10 states are sponsors of the resolution. The resolution calls on the UN Member States to urge the Russian Federation to “complete orderly, unconditionally and without further delay the withdrawal of the Russian Operational Group of Russian Forces” (more commonly known as OGRT or OGRV), in accordance to its commitment agreed at the 1999 OSCE Istanbul Summit, but also the UN Charter.

Foreign Minister Ulianovschi emphasized that the resolution does not call for the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping contingent which is under the command of the Joint Control Commission, the main peacekeeping mechanism in the Transnistrian conflict settlement.

Moscow and Tiraspol are (obviously) not happy about the resolution (1st page2nd page), nor are some experts in the area.

Vlad Lupan, Moldova’s ex-Ambassador to UN, has found the draft resolution language too soft and imprecise on the terms of the withdrawal, and on the impartiality of Russia in the Transnistrian conflict settlement and the acting peacekeeping mission. Ambassador Lupan didn’t bother going deep into the details of the resolution.

Pure coincidence: Three columns of military vehicles, apparently Russian, were reported to be moving on the Tiraspol-Râbnița road in the Transnistrian region of Moldova in the morning of June 14th.

Some 40 TABs, DRDMs, URALs, ZILs, KAMAZes, and UAZes, accompanied by Transnistrian “police” were spotted on their way to the north of the region- most probably, to the Colbasna military depot.

The Moldovan Bureau of Reintegration expressed its concern in regard to the unauthorized movement of these military units within the presumably demilitarized Security Zone. Chișinău declared that it found “unjustified” application of “peacekeeping forces” symbols on the vehicles, most of which belong to the Operative Group of Russian Troops, illegally stationed in Moldova.

Moldova’s Bureau of Reintegration declares that the 4th article- the neutrality of the Russian army dislocated in the region-, of the 1992 Moldo-Russian Agreement on Transnistrian conflict settlement was violated, as well as the JCC provisions on preliminary informing on any movement of non-peacekeeping contingents.

The OSCE was notified about the incident. Neither Moscow, nor Tiraspol has come out with any position on the incident. Ukraine naturally “expressed its concern”.

Meanwhile, OGRT is not ceasing to conduct other “peaceful” activities in the Transnistrian region.

Here, the Russian officers congratulated some 50 Transnistrian children with their admission into the “Youth Army”:

Orthodoxy, militarism and Soviet nostalgia- the pillars of Russia’s policy in the occupied territories in one picture:

Of course, the Russian soldiers from OGRT participated in the Russia Day celebrations in Transnistria. A video can be found here.

Sticking to Russia: Moldovan Parliament speaker, Andrian Candu, declared in an interview for Censor that Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia might come with a joint judicial complaint on the issue of Russian-occupied territories.

Candu also told the Ukrainian portal that President Dodon can be judged for “high treason”, but then interpreted it otherwise for the Moldovan press.

One cannot take Candu’s promises seriously. In regard to the joint complaint, we should expect an evaluation of the damage by the Russian occupation, at most.

Sticking to occupied territories: Transnistrian Communist “MP” Oleg Khorzhan was placed under arrest for 2 months, being accused of violently opposing arrest. On June 2nd, Khorzhan organized a non-sanctioned meeting in Tiraspol against the “oligarchic power”.

15%: GDP in the separatist region grew by 15.1% in comparable prices in the 1st quarter of 2018, after a deep plunge of around 30% in the past couple of years. The information was distributed by “PMR’s government”, IntelliNews reports, underlining the importance of EU exports in the region’s economy.

The “Grand Theft” Recovery Strategy: The Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office, together with the National Anti-Corruption Center and the General Prosecution Office, presented its 30-pages-or-so long strategy on recovering the stolen one billion EUR/USD from the three failed banks in 2014.

What prosecutors don’t (want to) tell the public is the names of the beneficiaries of the “Grand Theft”. Moreover, according to Newsmaker, there seems to be a small division between the bank thefts and the corruption cases that occurred during 2014.

The prosecutors reported that only 3,5% of the value of the stolen money was recovered. It’s 2018, by the way.

Heard of Moldovan justice independence? 

A Chișinău court has postponed a confirmation hearing for pro-European Mayor-elect Andrei Năstase, whose election two weeks ago has been challenged by Socialists. Supporters of Nastase rallied outside as Chisinau City Court postponed the hearing on June 18 after the Chisinau District Electoral Council filed a motion to replace the judge. The court did not set a new date, reports Radio Free Europe.

Meanwhile at another Chișinău court:


30% increase of budget for 2021-2027: The European Commission is proposing a 30 percent increase in its 2021-27 external-action budget, with a focus set on helping countries in its southern and eastern “neighborhoods” to raise standards in their efforts to join the European Union, Radio Free Europe reports.

What is pain? Patients with incurable diseases have something to say:

Ask here the palliative care foundation Hospice Angelus Moldova how you can relieve the pain of those patients.

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Weekly Roundup: Andrei Năstase’s win in Chișinău, Vlah’s surprising cult of personality, and Russian lost position

11 June 2018- This weekly roundup comes later than usual due to our editor’s inability to combine studies and writing. Plus, following the insane flow of Moldovan politics requires time and nerves. Or does it?

Năstase is getting used to the seat of a protester-mayor:  On June 3, Andrei Năstase of Platform “Dignity and Truth” won Chișinău’s mayor seat by 52,57%. His opponent, Ion Ceban, won 47,43% of the votes.

4 June 2018- The full preliminary results (100%) of the Chișinău mayoral elections reveal that Andrei Năstase of Platform “Dignity and Truth” won the mayor seat by 52,57%.

His opponent, Ion Ceban, won 47,43% of the votes.

The mayor-elect called on “pro-European, anti-oligarchic” voters and forces to remain united for parliamentary elections later this year (RFE/RL).

“Let us continue in the same way, to remain united, and that is how we will succeed in the future, both in parliament and in the other elections,” Nastase said.

On the other side, Ceban said in his conceding speech that he congratulates Năstase with his win, but expects him every day at 8 am at the City Council- Ceban himself is a Socialist city councilor.

And so Năstase did come early to work: Despite not being acknowledged by the Electoral Commission yet, Năstase has already paid several visits to the City Council. Moreover, he has started to warn some officials with firings over incompetence and corruption claims:

“Don’t do anything in the last hundreds of meters”, told Năstase.

The unappointed mayor has also shown up at the demolition site of the former Cinema “Gaudeamus”, famous for its special place rather than the Soviet-ish beauty. Climbing over fences and bulldozers, Năstase asked the workers to stop the demolition of the Cinema, with the claim that the building deserves to be saved. Maybe it does deserve to be saved, but what is more certain is that someone from the previous administration authorized the privatization and demolition. Former mayor Dorin Chirtoacă claims the building was privatized by Voronin family around 2004.

New Chirtoacă: Vitalie Sprânceană argues for Open Democracy that by electing Andrei Năstase for the mayor seat, the Chișinău locals chose again a “political agenda” for the city. Sprânceană says that the city needs something “apolitical” than a promise to save the democracy from the famous “Russian tanks”. Will Năstase become a restarted Dorin Chirtoacă?

Staying with mayors: Dumitru Șalari, mayor of Băcioi suburb, declared that the Democrat MP Constantin Țuțu threatened him to leave two positions in the local council, including the mayor seat. Șalari is now requesting asylum from the US and EU embassies for him and his family, claiming insecurity. The Băcioi mayor is a member of the National Unity Party.

Țuțu rejected the accusations for TV8 and recommended Șalari to contact the police.

At the same time, some Băcioc councilor stated that Șalari might be involved in some penal cases.

Cult of personality, Gagauzia-style:

According to, Gagauzia’s bashkan, Irina Vlah, put her signature on 5 babies. All 5 babies, 3 and 2 cousins, had shirts with Vlah’s portrait too:

We can all agree that babies are cute and a cult of personality is not cute. No?

Artist of the People: The Russian (actually Bulgarian) pop-signer (of the 00s), Filip Kirkorov, received the award of “Artist of the People” from the Moldovan President Igor Dodon.

In the same weekend, Kirkorov sang at the Strawberry Festival held in Dodon’s home village- Sadova. Allegedly, for free. Who knows? Maybe picking strawberries with a president pays off. This is hardly news, but it is obvious that Dodon encircles him with notorious Russians who work for him “for free”.

Strange monument: A granite stele dedicated to veterans of the border guard troops was unveiled in Comrat on May 28, 2018. The news would have definitely remained an ordinary event at regional level if it hadn’t generated a scandal. It was established that the perimeter not of Moldova’s borders, but of another country was inscribed on the stone and the flag of foreign border guard troops was raised alongside the state flag of Moldova in the inaugural ceremony. The representatives of the Moldovan authorities expressed their discontent with what happened, while the Gagauz officials remained impassive.

Veaceslav Crăciun is asking himself in an editorial for IPN: Where do respect for oneself among Gagauz people end and love for Russia start?

Russian Language loses interethnic status: Paul Goble analyzes for Jamestown Foundation.

250 km: Moldova’s state railway company plans to loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and European Investment Bank (EIB) for a railway rehabilitation project covering about 250km kilometers of the Bender-Basarabeasca-Etulia-Giurgiulesti route, Mold Street reports.

New Ambassador to UAE: Victor Haruța was appointed by the Government of Moldova as the Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. The Embassy was opened in May.

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