Ukraine Crisis: What It Means for the West

Category: Russia
Author: Andrew Wilson
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by Magnitsky99   2019-07-21

After 900 days w/o a head of state, the jurist Nicolae Timofti was finally elected president of Moldova in March 2012 [Ironically, the key extra votes came from Communist defectors].

This should've given the AEI fresh wind. But Filat turned on his opponents, withdrawing the license of the pro-Communist NIT TV, & backing a law banning the use of communist symbols (including the hammer & sickle).

The opportunity to do something about the Democrats' state capture arose in early 2013 [after a local businessman was shot on a hunting trip attended by Valeriu Zubco, the Democrats' prosecutor general]. Zubco was accused of orchestrating a cover-up & forced out of office in Jan.

The Democrats instantly fought back, using the NAC to launch investigations against leading Liberal Democrat ministers, including Filat. The accusations were amplified on Plahotniuc's TV channels.

The two sides traded blows, but there was no knockout punch. Plahotniuc was removed as deputy chair of parliament in Feb; Filat was defeated in a confidence vote in March. For Min Iurie Leanca was made acting PM instead.

Filat secured vague promises to depoliticize the legal ministries, but could not remove Plahotniuc's team. In May, the AEI was re-formed as the 'Pro-EUR Coalition', w a smaller majority of 53, & limped on. pg 165: https://www.amazon.com/Ukraine-Crisis-What-Means-West/dp/0300211597/ref=pd_ybh_a_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QKNYFVQPW3A5NRDMZVZX

by Magnitsky99   2019-07-21

Energy was the sector where the EU thought it could do most to reduce Moldova's vulnerability.

But Gazprom has fought a tough rearguard action against a planned interconnector across the western border into Romania [from Ungheni to Iasi], using its 51% share in Moldova Gaz & the subsequent capture of the local Econ Min [run by the Democratic Party] to constantly slow the process down.

[Gazprom first disputed who should own the interconnector, then pushed for multiple tenders, & finally tried to keep the pipe diameter to an 'emergencies-only' minimum.

But the pipeline was finally opened in Aug 2014 [though Moldova now needs a new compressor-station & an onward pipeline to Chisinau to be truly self-sufficient]. pg 166: https://www.amazon.com/Ukraine-Crisis-What-Means-West/dp/0300211597/ref=pd_ybh_a_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QKNYFVQPW3A5NRDMZVZX

by Magnitsky99   2019-07-21

The other problem is Transnistria [the region largely on the other side of the Nistru river that Moldova lost in the 1992 civil war].

Moldova is not like Georgia, however, where all politicians have to stress the importance of nat'l unity.

[Ordinary Moldovans place the Transnistrian problem very low on their list of priorities. Many politicians in Chisinau are happy to ignore it, other to collude w the business elite.]

Half of Transnistria's estimated $1B GDP comes from industrial goods [nearly all of which are exported, since there is a lack of a local market. Paradoxically, therefore, Transnistria has a very open economy].

It also lives beyond its means, w a massive fiscal & trade deficit [external debt is 400% of GDP].

Transnistria is dependent on funds generated through sale of RUS gas, cash remittances from expatriate workers, & funds received from Moscow.

Less than 10% of GDP comes from small and medium-sized business.

By the late 2000's, Transnistria was costing RUS several hundred million dollars a year [The region consumes 2/3rds of Moldova's gas, and, as of 2012, got it for $75-$137 per 1,000 c/m (compared to Moldova's $391)]. Chisinau, meanwhile, was burdened w the ever-increasing debt [$3.7B at the end of 2012]. pg 167: https://www.amazon.com/Ukraine-Crisis-What-Means-West/dp/0300211597/ref=pd_ybh_a_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QKNYFVQPW3A5NRDMZVZX