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Economy

5 uncommon businesses in Moldova we bet you didn’t know about

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All of them work really hard to see their dreams come true. All of them took risks when investing money, work, equipment and time into their businesses. All of them are great, representing our country and its heritage at home and abroad. There are many more unique businesses like this in Moldova. It’s just that they are not yet discovered by the public eye. For now, check out those presented below.

Biantti – ecological almonds and sea buckthorn products

Biantti is the only local producer of organic flour, cold pressed oil and almond flakes, which is certified as being ecological in the Republic of Moldova.

The owner of a 7 hectares almond orchard, a 10 hectares walnut orchard, a 5 hectares sea buckthorn orchard, as well as the producing factory is Igor Golban. He came back to Moldova after he graduated his studies in France and started the almond business in the village he was born.

By taking the technology from Germany, the planting material from Romania and accessing funds from several sources, including non-reimbursable funds, the idea of growing almonds became reality.

source: madein.md

Besides the almond and walnut oil and flour, briquettes made out of shells, sea buckthorn leaves tea, the producer sells also dried fruits, pumpkin seeds, flax, hemp and cumin oil, pumpkin, as well as flax flour.

“We have a total of 7 generations of nuts and almonds trees. Last year, we gathered 12-14 tons of almonds. This year, around 7-8 tons,” declared Igor Golban.

Only 15% of the volume of the products are exported, the rest remains in the country, being used in Moldovan kitchens.

The owners of this business – Mr. and Mrs. Malancea launched it after the retirement. The pasta and home made noodles are produced from organic ingredients. It is so good that most kindergartens and schools in the region buy pasta from the Malancea family. The couple plans also to export the goods abroad.

“80% of our production is represented by homemade noodles. Moldovans love homemade products,” said Mr. Malancea.

Source: masainfamilie.ro

Every day, 8 employees work at the factory in Antonești. During one day, they use at least 2000 eggs, needed in the production process. Generally, over a ton of pasta is produced in the factory for one day.

The noodles are prepared after a traditional recipe, as they are prepared at home. After the pasta and noodles are dried for 8 hours, the package process comes in place.

Still, Malancea spouses revealed that the biggest problem they have to face is the shortage of skilled labour, as a lot of such workers prefer to work abroad.

Green – handcrafted soap made of natural ingredients

Ivan Chiriac is a beekeeper  who creates honey products and handmade soaps with different natural additions. He can quickly name his products’ properties and has a great passion for what he is doing.

The young man said that it all started with the purchase of the first hive. Then he took what the bees produce and managed to open a small workroom near his house, where he and his partner started to produce honey goods and natural soaps.

source: ea.md

“After discovering the properties of honey, I started to produce different products derived from it, such as solid shampoo and natural soaps, with various additions of plants or oils,” claimed Ivan.

The entire composition of solid shampoo and soap produced at the Ivan’s workroom is based on natural products, such as vegetable oils, seeds, honey, everything being indicated on the label.

Brânza de Popeasca – a unique kind of cheese protected by the European Commision

About Cheese from Popeasca we already wrote in a previous article. It is one of the few authentic products from Moldova that were qualified as products with a protected designation of origin. Once it obtained such a labelling, it can no longer be manufactured according to the same recipe and the same name anywhere in the world. “Brânza de Popeasca” is a cheese made with different additional ingredients like dill, parsley, olives, bell pepper and other kinds of cheese.

source: moldnova.eu

Vadim and Mariana Osipov are the households that manage a farm of 200 heads. Their customers are several restaurants and supermarkets in Chișinău. These people face daily a lot of difficulties, from human factor to climatic conditions. Despite all the hardships, they never give up and continue to work for developing their business and taking it to a new stage.

FROM THE HEART.SHOP – the online shop where only Moldovan goods are sold

FROM THE HEART.SHOP aimed to be the first online store in the Republic of Moldova where products manufactured and created in Moldova were collected in one place. It was set out to create a bridge between Moldovan producers and consumers, wherever they are, as it facilitated the online purchase of the goods desired and their delivery in any corner of the world.

source: fromtheheart.shop

The online platform was founded by a group of enthusiastic people led by Nata Albot, a blogger, TV producer, journalist and a media manager from Moldova.

There online shop sells all kinds of clothing products, shoes, cosmetics, accessories, books and household items from 28 Moldovan brands and there is still room for more.

Photo: Getty Images (Opolja)

Society

What is the Moldovans’ budget share spent on food? Comparative figures

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While most of the European countries’ population spend not more than a quarter of their minimum wage on food, Moldovan people allocate 50,1% of it on food expenditures, estimated a study conducted by Picodi.com.

The analysts compared food prices with the minimum wage, by creating a ‘shopping cart’, which included eight basic products designated to cover the daily nutritional needs of an adult: bread, milk, eggs, rice, cheese, meat, fruit and vegetables.

The total estimated value of the included products was 1034 lei, representing 50.1% of the net minimum wage in Moldova – 113 euros. In comparison with Moldova, the lowest minimum wages in the EU countries are in Bulgaria and Romania – 242 euros and 282 euros respectively, Bulgarians and Romanians spending 23,4% and 29,5% of their minimum wage value on food. At the same time, such countries as Luxembourg and Ireland have settled their minimum wage level among the highest in the EU – 1796 euros and 1574 euros per month respectively, the food expenditures in these countries reaching  only 9,5% and 7,3% of the minimum countries’ budget.

According to the national statistics of Moldova, provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the monthly average wage earning in 2018 was 5141.9 lei (about 250 euros at that moment), that being 12% more than in 2017. Also, the consumer price index (CPI) for food products amounted 107.5% in December 2019, as compared to December 2018, while in December 2018 the CPI marked 100.9%, as compared to December 2017.

The same source shows that the average monthly expenditure budget of the population of the Republic of Moldova in 2018 was on average 2407.9 lei per person (117 euros), increasing by 7.0% compared to the previous year. In real terms (with the adjustment to the consumer price index) the population spent on average 3.9% more in 2018 compared to 2017.

The national statistics prove the same thing: most of the Moldovans’ expenses are designated for food purchasing – 43.8%, being followed by the maintenance of the house expenses – 18.2% of the total consumption expenses, clothing and footwear – 10.7%, health services – 5.1%, communications – 4.6%, transportation – 4.0%, housing – 3.8% and education – 0.5%.

In addition, almost 40% of the population of the Republic of Moldova said that their income is only enough for their basic needs, while 24,3% said that the money they earn are not even enough for the basic needs they have, as a survey conducted by the Sociologists and Demographers Association displayed. The biggest concerns of Moldovans are poverty (25,8%), unemployment (23,1%), migration (21,3%) and corruption (19,2%).

Photo: Rob Maxwell |Unsplash

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Tourism

Six countryside guesthouses from Moldova that are worth visiting

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Rural tourism is very popular nowadays. It is practised even in such small countries as Moldova, where one can travel and stay in a traditional style guesthouse or inn. They usually offer accommodation services, restaurants, spa, swimming pools, rent a bike, excursions’ services, etc.

Six of countryside guesthouses from the Republic of Moldova have been certified and became a part of the common CerTour network formed of 12 countries in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean areas. Here are the guesthouses:

1. Eco Resort Butuceni

source: pensiuneabutuceni.md

The inn is located in a picturesque place in Butuceni village, being classified as a 3-star guesthouse. The interior and exterior decoration of the buildings is adapted to the rustic style. In 2004, first houses were purchased, which were restored, refurbished and opened for accommodation in 2007. Nowadays, there is also a spa centre, a craft centre, conference rooms, swimming pools, a pond for fishing and a concert space.

source: pensiuneabutuceni.md

The houses have specific architectural elements of the Old Orhei ethnographic area. Thus, some houses contain local elements of decoration, local crafts, furniture, fabrics and everyday items with a great cultural value. The natural drinks and local dishes are served in clay dishes, being prepared using natural ingredients from old traditional recipes.

2. Casa din Luncă

source: casadinlunca.com

The guesthouse was built by the Benzing family in May 2002, in the village of Trebujeni near Old Orhei. It was the first guesthouse of its kind in the Republic of Moldova.

It is classified, according to national standards, as a 3-star guesthouse and consists of two courtyard houses. The area in the yards includes three pavilions, a playground, swings, a swimming pool and a Russian sauna.

source: casadinlunca.com

The guesthouse is an ecological residence, choosing to reduce all types of pollution (chemical, biological, visual, olfactory or sound ones). The efficient use of energy resources is a priority for the staff and clients. Hot water is obtained by using batteries to accumulate solar energy. The heating of the rooms is ensured by the heating system with wood and biomass. The illumination of the territory is mainly done with solar lamps. The guesthouse has an ecological container for the collection of household waste, located in a specially designed space. There is also an autonomous system for capturing and evacuating rainwater.

3. Casa Verde

One of the pioneers in the field of rural tourism was the guest house “Casa Verde”  built in 2001. It is a complex of 3 traditional houses where such traditions as painting Easter eggs is preserved and promoted. This craft is practised by several women from Trebujeni.

The guest house also includes a restaurant where a wide range of fresh, traditional, authentic food can be served or even prepared by visitors, along with non-alcoholic beverages (fresh compote, juices, herbal tea), as well as alcoholic beverages (homemade wines, brandy, sour cherries liquor).

4. Vila Roz

source: vilaroz.com

The countryside guest house was opened in 2011, in Trebujeni, after the reconstruction of the owner’s parent house. The guesthouses’s doors are open all year long, offering accommodation services in two buildings. The terrace is decorated with Moldovan carpets, table covers and other decor elements made by local craftsmen.

The guest house’s kitchen is specialised in traditional dishes, prepared from vegetables grown in the own garden and bought from local farmers. The most famous local dishes are the biscuits in the form of roses and the home-made roses jam.

source: vilaroz.com

5. Fata Morgana

source: fatamorgana.md

The inn is located in Molovata village, Dubasari district. It was opened for visitors in 2012 and accommodates them during the warm season of the year, as well as during the winter holidays. It was designed and built in accordance with local architectural traditions, using traditional materials: stone, wood, clay and reed.

The complex is formed of a big house and small bungalows for relaxation and fishing, as well as a summer terrace and the wine cellar that are decorated with traditional elements such as clay pots, traditional towels, wagon wheels, etc.

The menu of the local restaurant includes traditional dishes like crabs boiled in butter, accompanied by homemade wine and cvas.

6. Hanul lui Hanganu

source: hanulhanganu.md

The guesthouse is located in Lalova, Rezina district. It started its activity in 2006, offering, at that time, accommodation services in two rooms, meal and leisure. Now it represents a set of rooms built in rustic style: walls of clay, roof covered with ceramic tiles, furniture made of natural wood and woollen carpets.

source: hanulhanganu.md

The general objective of the CerTour project is to promote rural tourism in the partner regions and to improve the quality of the offered services by introducing a common quality standard and a certification process. The guesthouses receive certification for a number of criteria: proximity to cities, security, traditional products for sale, sustainable use of natural resources, minimal impact on the environment and others.

Information source: the catalogue of certified guesthouses in the Republic of Moldova

This text is a translation. The original article can be found here.

Photo: pensiuneabutuceni.md

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Politics

Moldova in the last decade// the most prominent political fiascoes the country experienced

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The decisions taken by the Constitutional Court, the expulsion of Turkish teachers, the adoption of the mixed electoral system, the president removed from office “for 5 minutes”, the lack of Government or the doubled Government – there were so many failures in the Moldovan politics in the last 10 years, that it’s hard to count them.

During the last ten years, the citizens of the country have witnessed many changes of the political and state institutions. Moldova.org selected the most relevant events. Here is where we can remember the saying “Every nation has the leaders it deserves.”

1  Decisions of the Constitutional Court from 7 to 9 June 2019

The Constitutional Court of Moldova (CC) announced, on June 7, that the deadline for the Parliament, which was elected on February 24 and validated on March 9, to appoint the new Government expired. The CC calculated that the constitutional term of “three months” provided for the formation of the Government actually means “90 days” and that it expired on June 7, not on June 9. The next day, the political bloc ACUM and the PSRM signed a temporary agreement for the formation of a majority government, Zinaida Greceanii being voted the president of the Parliament and Maia Sandu being appointed the head of the Government.

Immediately thereafter, the CC declared all the laws and decisions adopted by the new Parliament as unconstitutional. On June 9, the Constitutional Court decided to remove President Igor Dodon from office and appointed Pavel Filip as the interim president. After the Democratic Party announced its power withdrawal, on June 15, the CC cancelled its own previously taken decisions.

The Venice Commission published an opinion, stating that the CC violated its own procedures when taking the respective decisions, but also the principle of impartiality towards the political parties. The Commission recalled that the Court’s role is to be equidistant and to act as an impartial arbitrator in the event of a confrontation between political parties.

2 The period of two Governments

Between June 8-15, 2019, the Republic of Moldova had two Governments – the Government appointed by the newly formed majority government, led by Maia Sandu and the previous Government who still remained in power, according to the decision of the CC. Pavel Filip, the so-called interim president, announced the dissolution of the Parliament and the date of future snap elections.

The newly elected Parliament had its first session in the dark, as the technical employees of the building did not come to work that day. The democrats stated that they did’t recognise the new Government and didn’t intend to give up the power. The democrats’ leader Vladimir Plahotniuc accused the socialists of trying to usurp power. A week later, the Democratic Party decided to give up the power in favour of the Government appointed by the ACUM and socialists’ majority.

3 Clandestine interceptions’ scandal

A RISE Moldova investigation has discovered an entire operation of intercepting and chasing the political opponents of the democratic government, which has been carried out in recent years. The operation was carried out under cover of three criminal cases, filed because of inconvenient Facebook messages or statements at press conferences. As a result, it was established that the activities of 52 people, including politicians, representatives of civil society, organisations representatives and journalists, were investigated by prosecutors and police officers.

After coming to power, the ACUM representatives declared that the number of people chased by the former government was much higher. In addition to intercepting phone calls, some of them have also been monitored, as microphones and video cameras were installed in their houses. President Igor Dodon claimed that, in 2018, there were 10 thousand interceptions, out of which 600 at the request of the Information and Security Service (ISS), and 3 300 interception in 2019, out of which 200 were initiated at the request of ISS. Most interceptions were initiated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). Based on the interception scandal, criminal cases were filed against four MIA employees, three prosecutors and four judges.

4 Camouflaged expulsion of Turkish teachers

On September 6, 2018, seven Turkish citizens who were teachers at Horizon High School, were removed from their homes by employees of the ISS and taken in an unknown direction. The state institutions declared the action as “expulsion”, saying that the Turkish nationals were suspected of links with an Islamist group. They have been declared undesirable by the competent bodies and expelled from the territory of the Republic of Moldova.

The Turkish citizens were taken to Turkey by a charter plane and were sentenced to years of imprisonment. Immediately after the expulsion operation, European officials asked the Moldovan authorities “to comply with the rule of law and all judicial procedures” in this case. On June 11, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights issued a conclusion stating that Moldova violated the rights of Turkish citizens and required the government to pay 25 thousand euros for each of the Turkish citizens, whose rights were violated.

5 Cancellation of Andrei Nastase mayoral mandate

In June 2018, the Chișinău District Court cancelled the results of the snap local elections for the mayoral seat of the capital city. The elections were won by the Dignity and Truth Platform Party leader, Andrei Năstase. His mandate was not validated on the grounds that he would have campaigned on social media on the day before elections. Andrei Năstase addressed voters on Facebook and advised them to participate in the vote.

The decision was heavily criticised by local experts, ambassadors and representatives of international forums. The decision remained in force and after being challenged in the higher courts. After one year and three months, the mandate of Andrei Năstase was validated. By that moment other local elections were organised and his rival, socialist Ion Ceban won the mayor seat.

6 The Citizenship by Investments Law


Also in 2018, the Parliament adopted the law on granting citizenship by investments – a mechanism by which foreign citizens could obtain citizenship of the Republic of Moldova. “The Law on Citizenship by Investments of the Republic of Moldova is one of the projects that created favourable conditions for international money laundering,” Transparency International-Moldova states in a report. Such models for granting citizenship are criticized by European officials, and some countries have already given up these programs. In the summer of 2019, the Government instituted a moratorium on this law for a period of four months.

7 The president removed from power “for 5 minutes”

In 2017, the Constitutional Court decided that the president’s refusal to carry out his constitutional duties in appointing a minister represented “a temporary impossibility to exercise his duties” and justified assigning the president of the Parliament or the prime minister as the interim head of state. In other words, the CC decided that the president Igor Dodon had no veto in appointing a minister, and the signature of the head of state on the confirmation decree is only a formal one.

In the period of 2017 to 2018, Igor Dodon was temporarily removed from office for five times, and the respective decrees were signed by the President of the Parliament Andrian Candu. The removal for “five minutes” became a joke of the representatives of civil society and experts who stated that Igor Dodon may claim to be included in the Guinness Book of Records. In December 2018, Igor Dodon stated that he had called for protest in case another removal from power would have taken place.

8 The adoption of the mixed electoral system

In the summer of 2017, the Parliament adopted the law on the mixed voting system. It provided that 50 deputies would be elected on party lists, and 51 – directly by citizens, in single-seat constituencies. The mixed voting system was adopted by the socialists, democrats and popular-Europeans and has been criticised by the Venice Commission, the European Union, the United States and by the political opposition.

After the formation of the new majority government, the Parliament adopted, in the summer of 2019, the return to the proportional representation system, cancelling the mixed voting system.

9 The appointment of the Government led by Pavel Filip

On January 20, 2016, the Parliament where the democrats held the majority, granted a vote of confidence to the candidate Pavel Filip and his Cabinet of Ministers. At that time, neither the draft Government activity program, nor the list of proposed Government members had been made public. The new Government was voted in a session that lasted about 30 minutes, in which the designated PM held a speech for 8 minutes and, in another 2 minutes, presented the Executive’s list. The discussions and debates were omitted.

Moreover, the procedure for taking the oath by the members of the Government also took place on January 20, secretly, at midnight. Thousands of protesters surrounded Parliament, calling for snap parliamentary elections. Subsequently, the protesters entered the Parliament building forcefully, and altercations took place.

10 Ilan Șor became the mayor of Orhei

Being criminally investigated in the “Theft of the century” case and being arrested at home, on June 14, 2015, Ilan Shor won the mayoral elections with 61.97% of the votes. Political analysts described his involvement in politics as an intention to escape house detention.

In 2017, he was sentenced by the first court to 7 and a half years in prison. Despite the accusations, Ilan Șor pleaded not guilty and continued his political activity . Moreover, he also obtained a mandate as a member of the Parliament. In 2019, he received the certificate of integrity to run for parliamentary elections. Later on, Ilan Şor left the country despite the court ban, after the democrats’ power withdrawal.

11 The theft of the century


In 2014, the Republic of Moldova became the scene of an international scandal, following a fraudulent scheme of 1 billion withdrawal from 3 saving banks from Moldova. To save the situation, two governments (led by Iurie Leancă and Chiril Gaburici) took decisions to grant state guarantees for covering the hole in the banking system. To investigate the case, Kroll company was invited.

At the initiative of the political bloc ACUM, a new parliamentary commission was created in order to investigate the banking fraud. It’s conclusions were that the amount of damage could be much higher than initially stated and that the main beneficiaries of the bank robbery were the Vladimir Plahotniuc, Ilan Șor and Vladimir Filat groups.

12 The stolen billion has to be paid by Moldovan citizens in the next 21 years


In 2016, the Government led by Pavel Filip decided to convert the emergency loans, amounting to 13.5 billion Moldovan lei, transferred by the National Bank of Moldova to three affected by the robbery banks, into state debt. Therefore, the citizens of Moldova would have to return in the next 25 years about 21 billion Moldovan lei (including the interest for the emergency loans). It was calculated that every child born in the Republic of Moldova would owe the state 4000 lei (182 euros) from the first day of his life.

13 No president, for almost three years

In 2009, when the former head of state Vladimir Voronin announced his resignation, the Parliament tried twice, but without success, to elect the democratic leader Marian Lupu to this position. In November 2010, due to Parliament’s inability to elect the head of state, snap parliamentary elections were held again. Finally, in March 2012 the candidacy of the former president of the Superior Council of Magistracy, Nicolae Timofti, was voted to be the president. Therefore, the constitutional crisis lasted for about two and a half years (from September 2009 to March 2012).

This text is a translation. The original article can be found here.

Photo: privesc.eu

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