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The U.S. Department of State: Vladimir Plahotniuc and his family members are ineligible for visas to the United States

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Vladimir Plahotniuc, his wife and two children have been banned from entering the United States because of “significant corruption actions” involving the former democratic leader from Moldova, according to the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The press statement issued by the Office of Spokesperson of the U.S Department of State as following:

“Today, I am designating former Moldovan official and oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc due to his involvement in significant corruption.  In his official capacity, Plahotniuc was involved in corrupt acts that undermined the rule of law and severely compromised the independence of democratic institutions in Moldova.

This designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94).  Under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for visas to the United States.

The law also requires the Secretary of State to either publicly or privately designate or identify such officials and their immediate family members.  In addition to Plahotniuc, I am designating his wife, Oxana Childescu; his son, Timofei Plahotniuc; and his minor child.

Today’s action sends a strong signal the United States does not tolerate corruption and stands with the people of Moldova in their fight against it. The Department will continue to use these authorities to promote accountability for corrupt actors in this region and globally.”

Along with the former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova, in the list of ineligible persons for receiving visas published by the US State Department are also found other politicians of the world, accused of corruption crimes, but also several politico-military organisations in the Middle East.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted earlier  a message on his Twitter account, stating that the United States of America supports Moldova in the fight against corruption and condemns the corrupt actions of Vladimir Plahotniuc, who has been declared internationally wanted on October 28, 2019.

The U.S. Ambassador Dereck J. Hogan‘s also sent a message to the Moldovan public: “The United States is taking corruption seriously. No one should be above the law,” is said in his message.

President Igor Dodon thanked the U.S. authorities for the decision to declare the former democratic leader an undesirable person. “Sanctions against the fugitive oligarch is a good sign from our Western partners, for which we thank them. We have addressed this requirement many times. But in order to get a result, it is necessary, first of all, to involve judicial officers,” Dodon declared for Tass.ru.

Vladimir Plahotniuc is criminally investigated in two criminal cases for money laundering and one criminal case for illegally obtaining a second passport of the Republic of Moldova, with a second identity. On October 11th, 2019, the Chișinău Municipal Court issued a 30-day arrest warrant for Vlad Plahotniuc and at the end of October a red notice was issued on his name as well.

The authorities of Romania and the UK responded to the National Anticorruption Centre’s requests to look for the former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova on their territories, including under the name of Vladislav Novak, which is his second identity in Moldova, as ipn.md reported.

Photo credit: Dumitru Doru (EPA-EFE)

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Miscellaneous

A new way of looking at the world – the Good Country Index: How does Moldova rank?

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The Good Country Index is an index that measures what each country contributes to the common good of humanity and to the planet and what it takes away, relative to its size, according to goodcountry.org. Therefore, an overview of each country is given to show whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between, highlighting the top countries that serve the interests of their own people, but without harming – and preferably by advancing – the interests of people in other countries too.

The Republic of Moldova ranked 27th out of 153 countries in this ranking, being followed by such countries as Slovakia and Romania.

Depending on the analysed criteria, Moldova was ranked in the following positions:

  • Science and technology – 33rd position
  • Culture – 49th position
  • International Peace and Security – 10th position
  • World Order – 50th position
  • Planet and climate – 73rd position
  • Prosperity and equality – 38th position
  • Health and well-being – 41st position.

Countries such as Finland, the Netherlands and Ireland, Sweden and Germany ranked top five. The last countries in the ranking were placed as following: Mauritania, Libya and Iraq.

Top 10 countries according to the Good Country Index| Source: goodcountry.org

According to the authors of the index, countries received scores on each indicator as a fractional rank relative to all countries for which data is available (after most data is corrected for GDP, i.e. the economic size of the country). National statistics, international publications data (e.g. Reporters without borders, UNESCO, UN missions, UNCTAD, WHO, etc.), treaties and agreements signed, other rankings served as source data that was used to compile the Good Country Index.

The Good Country Index is a project launched by Simon Anholt in 2014 to start a global debate about what countries are really for: do they exist purely to serve the interests of their own politicians, businesses and citizens, or are they actively working for all of humanity and the whole planet? The debate is a critical one, because if the first answer is the correct one, we’re all in deep trouble.

Photo: goodcountry.org

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Miscellaneous

Moldova.org is among the finalists for the Journalistic Ethics and Professional Deontology National Prize

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These days, the Journalistic Ethics and Professional Deontology contest, edition 2019 is held. The Press Council nominated 5 finalists out of 20 participating media institutions.

The winner will be announced at the 2019 Media Forum, which will take place on November 4-5 in Chisinau.

The contest finalists were selected following a multi-stage voting procedure, in which the public, experts and members of the Press Council voted. Between September 6th and October 15th, consumers of media products had the opportunity to vote 20 media institutions, which were proposed afterwards for the 2019 Journalistic Ethics and Professional Deontology National Prize.

The professional conduct of the selected media institutions was assessed by a group of experts and by the Press Council members. Therefore, by totalling up the score offered to candidates by the public and by the experts and members of the Press Council, 5 media institutions have received the highest rankings and were nominated the finalists of the contest:

  • Moldova.org;
  • Newsmaker.md;
  • Chisinau Radio;
  • RISE Moldova;
  • TV8.

Next, Press Council will decide which of these five finalists will receive the prize. In case Press Council considers there are no media outlets worthy of this award, it reserves the right not to designate a winner.

The National Prize for Journalistic Ethics and Professional Deontology is awarded annually since 2015 in order to promote ethical and deontological principles and in recognition of media institutions’ successes, with the support of Soros Foundation Moldova Media Program. The objectives of the Prize are to highlight the good professional practices, to create a community that promotes ethical values, to contribute to the education of the young generation of journalists and to promote high-quality journalism, according to the contest website.

Moldova.org was mentioned as one of the most impartial portals in reflecting the reality during the election campaign for the parliamentary elections in 2019, according to a report of the Center for Independent Journalism and the Independent Press Association.

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Miscellaneous

The synopsis of 2018. What are the most important things that happened in Moldova this year

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This is the time when everyone analyses the events of the passing year and makes the New Year’s resolutions. Moldova.org will do the same. So, here are the most important events that happened in the Republic of Moldova in 2018.

January

A new year, the old procedures: Igor Dodon, the President of the Republic of Moldova was suspended several times as he refused to sign the presidential decrees proposed by the government. People were asking themselves: “why do we need a President that can be replaced at any time?” No answer came.

People got to know that the Presidency of Moldova’s reconstruction was going to be financed from a 7-million-euro donation made by the Turkish government. The cost for this donation was to be revealed later.

Moldova experienced a new wave of power usurpation through the refusal of the Central Electoral Commission to register an initiative group that had as its main goal the abrogation of the mixed electoral system.

June

The middle of the year was marked by the most booming court decision – the decision of the Court of Appeal from Moldova by which the municipal elections in Chisinau were declared invalid, motivating that Andrei Năstase and his opponent, the Socialist Ion Ceban, called for mobilization to vote on election day, on social networks, this being qualified as electoral campaigning.

July

The invalidation of the municipal elections in Chișinău had as a major consequence the organisation of mass protests. The protestants urged the Parliament to take measures for validating the local elections in Chisinau, to dismiss and bring to justice the judges who decided to invalidate the elections in the capital city and to cancel the mixed electoral system.

Photo source: jurnal.md

August

The most important and, in the same time, shameful event of August were the protest organised by the Political Party “Șor” on the 26th of August. It was organised purposefully on the same day with another anti-governmental protest led by the extra-governmental opposition – the PAS and DTPP. The main square of the Moldovan capital was split into two by the police. On one half of the square, people were asking for the dissolution of the current parliament and the resignation of people holding key positions in the judiciary system. On the other half, the so-called protestants were demanding for buckwheat and more canned meat, while dancing and having fun. That was the most representative and desolating image of the society’s dispersion in Moldova: those driven by the wish of change and those consumed by physical cravings.

The next morning, the riot police forcibly removed the anti-governmental protesters who spent the night near the symbolic statue of Stephen the Great on the main square, after they had ordered them to vacate the area to make way for government officials. Among the protesters were the leader of the Party of Action and Solidarity – Maia Sandu and the leader of the Dignity and Truth Platform Party – Andrei Năstase.

Photo source: cotidianul.ro

Generally, the day of August 27th, the Independence Day of the Republic of Moldova can be declared the saddest day of the 2018, as that was the day when the Moldovan government was literally the farthest from its people.

Photo source: diez.md

September

On September 6th, 7 Turkish citizens teachers of the Moldovan-Turkish high school network “Orizont”, were expelled or extradited (the governmental institutions still can’t explain what that act was, as the declarations were contradictory) by the Moldovan Information and Security Service (SIS), packed in a plane and sent to Turkey where they might have been the subject of torture. According to the lawyer of the Turkish citizens, they were removed from Moldova with another identity and sentenced in a prison next to Istanbul. Some opinions stated that the Turkish teachers were “sold” to the Turkish government for the sum donated for the Presidency building reconstruction.

October

There are still positive events that happened in 2018. In October, for example, the Moldovan tennis player Radu Albot became the winner of the Liuzhou Challenger Competition. The “Liuzhou International Challenger 2018” was held from 22nd to 28th October 2018 in China.

Photo source: diez.md

November

Moldova has made one more step towards becoming a “grey” area were illegal assets could be legalized and money laundering is possible. Thus, the adoption of the Capital Amnesty law and the Citizenship by investment law could facilitate the legalisation of the extracted money from the Moldovan bank system in “The Great Moldovan Bank Robbery” and could attract new financial sources from people that want to “buy” the Moldovan citizenship.

December

On December 1st, Romania and the Republic of Moldova celebrated 100 years from the Great Union. Whereas Romanians celebrated this day with parades, manifestations and concerts (this day is a national holiday in Romania), Moldovans were silent, melancholic and divided between east and west. Just like always!

The best is not yet to come: in February 2019, the Moldovan citizens will decide who will represent them in the parliament and in the national uninominal constituencies, as a result of the mixt electoral system. The election campaign has just begun. The political parties are preparing for one of the most unfair and unpredictable elections in the history of the country.

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