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An outline of the ‘Open Dialog’ scandal. PAS and DTPP in the gunsight of the Moldovan Parliament

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Yesterday, November 12th the second meeting of the parliamentary commission on the investigation concerning the Open Dialog Foundation took place. Initially, the representative of PAS (Party of Action and Solidarity) declared in a press release that Maia Sandu will go in the Parliament hearing in order to “make things clear and to end the lies spread in the so-called enquiry regarding the PAS funding sources.”

Maia Sandu and Andrei Nastase, the leaders of the electoral bloc “ACUM”, were waiting at the parliament entrance ready to enter along with the journalists, when they were announced that the commission would meet in a closed session and they are invited to the hearing one by one. Sandu and Nastase refused to participate, declaring it a farce. “There are no reasons for having the meeting in a closed session. We are not government workers. We don’t have any obligations to keep state secrets and they can’t discuss them with us”, mentioned Sandu. They organised a press conference right at the entrance of the Parliament. “There are two main goals of these closed meetings: first, discrediting PAS and DTPP (Dignity and Truth Platform Party), and the second, trying to remove our parties from the electoral campaign”, mentions Sandu during the press conference.

As official sources state, the main objective of the enquiry commission was to collect and analyse information, as well as to formulate recommendations, without any legal competences. Still, the president of the parliamentary commission – Igor Vremea, declared after the second hearing, that the leaders of PAS and DTPP were “obliged” by law to come at the second session, as the main scope was to hear their opinion on the information provided for the commission.

Background information

On October 4th, the Moldovan Parliament formed, at the initiative of DPM, an enquiry commission for elucidating the allegations of the Open Dialog Foundation and its founder’s – Ludmila Kozlowska, interference in the domestic affairs of the Republic of Moldova, as well as funding PAS and DTPP political parties.

The first official hearing was organised on November 2nd. It also was a meeting in closed session. From the very beginning, Maia Sandu asked to be summoned to a public hearing and refused to make statements to the committee in a closed session. According to the PAS leader, the closed sessions are “neither for revealing the truth by the Parliament, nor to inform people about what happened”. In response to that, Andrian Candu, the speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, declared that the Sandu’s request is an attempt to block the hearings, as she is aware that the analysed information is confidential.

Regarding the allegations that were made, Maia Sandu claimed that the only thing that was funded by the Open Dialog Foundation was a visit for an event in Brussels, having the European Parliament and the Open Dialog Foundation as the event’s organizers. Other than that, PAS never received any financial support from the Open Dialog Foundation.

Moreover, Ludmila Kozlovska denied in an interview for Jurnal TV that the Open Dialog Foundation has ever financed the opposition parties of Republic of Moldova. “It is a complete fabrication” she declared, “and it’s absurd that they consider me and my organisation a threat for Republic of Moldova”. She sees the act of organising a parliamentary commission as a desperate measure taken by DPM (Democratic Party of Moldova).

Open Dialog Foundation

The Open Dialog Foundation is involved at the moment in dealing with several cases of political prisoners from Russia, Republic of Moldova and Kazakhstan. After an analysis of the situation in Republic of Moldova, reports were sent to European Union institutions, and efforts were made on behalf of this institution for freezing the financial support from EU to Moldova. “In turn, Vladimir Plahotniuc started to denigrate the Open Dialog Foundation, this is how people had the opportunity to hear more often about it”, states Kozlovska.

What’s also important to be mentioned is that, according to the Newsmaker fact-check, the press release of the Parliament of Republic of Moldova contains several fake or misinterpreted information about Ludmila Kozlovska. For example, the press release text states that she was expatriated from Poland for being suspected of cooperation with Russian special forces. In reality, her entering in Belgium was banned on August 13, 2018 because Poland included her in the SIS (Schengen Information System) blacklist without stating any reason for that. About the so-called cooperation with the Russian special forces, wrote Marcin Rey, a polish blogger, and his article was mentioned as an “expert” source in the Moldovan Parliament press release.  Another fake information that was included in the press release and in the media, is that the Ukrainian Security Service blamed Ludmila Kozlovska in “betrayal of her homeland”, while she only appears as a witness in a court case.

Featured image source: zdg.md

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Federica Mogherini: We will keep a close eye on the formation of the Moldovan government and its future programme.

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One of the topics discussed at the Meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council held on March 18th, 2019, was the current political situation in the Republic of Moldova following the parliamentary elections of February 24th.

Foreign ministers highlighted the importance of a transparent and credible government formation process that should reflect a genuine parliamentary majority that respects the outcome of the elections, as it is mentioned in the outcome document of the council meeting. They stressed the importance of non-interference in the formation process and the fact that the EU does not support individual parties and specific political actors, but values and principles.

At the same time, the Council reiterated that the basis for EU cooperation with Moldova is the implementation of the Association Agreement and confirmed the importance of the principle of conditionality in delivering macro-financial assistance to Moldova, which had to be withheld following serious deterioration in the areas of rule of law and the upholding of democratic principles. On the other hand, foreign ministers highlighted the critical importance of offering support to Moldovan citizens and to civil society.

At the press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council meeting, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, presented the remarks regarding the previously discussed topics.

“We assessed with the Foreign Ministers the state of play, with full respect of the politics of the country and still with the willingness to support the reform agenda in the country and the rule of law and the democratic perspectives there. We have expressed some concerns and, obviously, agreed that we will keep a close eye on the formation of the government and the programme that the government will put in place,” claimed Mogherini.

Additionally, the High Representative declared that the Council won’t enter into the discussions about coalitions and formation of the government. However, it is crucial “to stay vigilant on the rule of law situation and most of all the implementation of the [EU-Moldova] Association Agreement agenda with Moldova that is a key partner in the Eastern Partnership.”

According to the preliminary conclusions of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission stated in the Background Brief document of Foreign Affairs Council, the elections were “competitive and fundamental rights were generally respected.” However, shortcomings were noted throughout the campaign and on the election day, including “allegations of pressure on public employees, strong indications of vote buying and the misuse of state resources.” The Mission also noted that “control and ownership of the media by political actors limited the range of viewpoints presented to voters.”

Photo: eeas.europa.eu

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The CEC confirmed the results of the parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova

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The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) summarized the results of the parliamentary elections held on February 24th, 2019 in the national constituency and in the single-seat constituencies. The results were announced during a press conference on March 3rd.

According to the CEC data, the parliamentary mandates are distributed as following:

  • the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova – 35 mandates;
  • the Democratic Party of Moldova  – 30 mandates;
  • the electoral bloc ACUM formed of the Party of Action and Solidarity and the Dignity and Truth Platform Party – 26 mandates;
  • the “Șor” Party – 7 mandates;
  • independent candidates – 3 mandates.

According to the Electoral Code, a report of the summarized results, announced during the CEC meeting, must be submitted to the Constitutional Court for the validation of the poll within 24 hours.

Within five days after receiving the CEC documents, the magistrates of the Constitutional Court must confirm or deny the legality of the elections and validate the mandates of the new members of the Parliament.

The CEC specified that a total of 1 457 220 voters participated in the national constituency elections, out of which 76 583 persons voted in the polling stations opened abroad, and 37 257 persons – in the polling stations from Transnistria.

In the single-seat constituencies, 1 441 326 voters participated in the parliamentary elections, out of which 76 642 persons exercised their right to vote in the polling stations opened abroad and 36 696 persons – in the polling stations from Transnistria.

Photo: cec.md

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Tiraspol’s separatist leader, Krasnoselski, commemorates 27 years since “Moldova’s aggression against Transnistria”

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Today, Tiraspol’s separatist leader, Vadim Krasnoselski, commemorates “27 years since the beginning of Moldova’s massive aggression on Transnistria,” the NovostiPMR agency communicates.

“Moldovan combatants intended to eliminate Transnistrian statehood with tanks and planes, operating terrorist groups,” according to Krasnoselski.

Really? Let’s see what the other side has to say.

“11% of the territory of the Republic of Moldova is under the occupation of the Russian Federation”

Security expert Rosian Vasiloi notes that the place of Krasnoselskii, Smirnov, Ignatiev, and other leading people is in jail for the crimes committed during these 28 years of independence. According to the expert, these are the fruits of political need promoted to all governments.

“So Krasnoselski running freely on the right bank of Nistru and using the Chisinau airport to fly to his masters in Moscow, isn’t counted as “massive aggression of Moldova against Transnistria”?

When receiving money from the Moldovan Government for electricity so that the people of Transnistria survive, while part of this money is being stolen and shifting to obscure circles in Chisinau, isn’t “massive aggression of Moldova against Transnistria”?

Today I saw state dignitaries, ministers, officials, smiling with flowers in hand to monuments. It seems that ruling a country feels like playing. For me, the war is not over yet. It will end when the left bank of the Nistru will be fully integrated with the right bank. This is possible, but not with those who go on monuments on March 2, smiling.”

One of the most complicated conflicts in the post-soviet space

In a comment made in 2017 by the Doctor of History, Institute of History of the ASM, Octavian Ticu, it is mentioned that the Transnistrian crisis was artificially created by Moscow at the beginning of 1990 against the backdrop of the systemic crisis in the USSR and the intensification of the national movements in the Soviet republics. Faced with the likelihood of the Soviet Union leaving the USSR, Anatoly Lukianov, president of the USSR Supreme Soviet, with Dmitry Iazov’s involvement, and Boris Pugo, Minister of Defense and Interior Affairs, decided to create two states on the territory of Moldova: the left bank and another in Gagauzia. At the same time, the Soviet official has created a link between the issue of local separatism in Moldova and the commitment of MSSR to sign the new Soviet treaty initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev in hopes of saving the Soviet Union.

The first effective support from Moscow for the Transnistrians came in September 1990 when troops of the Soviet Interior Ministry were detached to defend the “Congress” of the Russian-speaking elites who had declared the independence of the “Transnistrian Republic” to Moldova within the Soviet Union. The intervention of the troops had the general role of conflict management – in this case, to discourage a possible attempt by Chisinau to forcefully force the force, as it threatened. But there was also a second goal: to exert pressure on Moldova to either abandon the aspirations of independence or to be dismembered.

The 14th Army troops, comprising many people born in the Transnistrian region, have also been encouraged by the openness to Tiraspol by the Ministry of Defense. Thus, when in November 1990, not far from Dubasari, the first Moldovan-Transnistrian army confrontation erupted, the Transnistrian Russian language speakers had on their side not only armed volunteer formations but also the expectation of supporting the Soviet troops.

The conflict between the new authorities in Chisinau and the “MRI” erupted at the end of the spring-summer of 1992, leading to the loss of several hundred lives. The conflict would soon be eclipsed by other events in the world, disappearing from headlines. It still remains one of the most complicated conflicts in post-Soviet space, both in terms of its prehistory and in terms of its political implications and possible developments. Although the July 7, 1992, was concluded a ceasefire, a solution to the disputes underlying the conflict was not yet found – legal and territorial status of the left bank of the Moldovan state.

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