Ecaterina Locoman

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Moldovan President Maia Sandu delivers a speech during her inauguration ceremony in Chisinau, Moldova, on Dec. 24. (Reuters)

Today, Moldova’s first female president, Maia Sandu, marks her first 100 days in office. Sandu campaigned on a pro-European integration platform and has steered Moldova in that direction, ending the country’s pro-Russian orientation under her predecessor, Igor Dodon.

Sandu also promised to tackle high-level corruption, and the European Union promised to support her efforts. Despite this success, Sandu’s tenure remains constrained at home by a parliament that appears opposed to any anti-corruption reform attempts. In addition, Russia’s strong grip within the region is likely to challenge Moldova’s rapprochement with the West.

Russia continues to compete for influence

Research shows how the European Union and Russia shape political institutions in the post-Soviet countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

Why are Russia, the United States and the European Union suddenly cooperating in Moldova, a former Soviet Republic, to support a new government led by a pro-E.U. prime minister? The alliance hardly seems likely, considering the political warfare that has included economic sanctions, disinformation campaigns and sharp competition for supremacy in the lands between Russia and the European Union.

And yet even the pro-Russian president of Moldova called the new government “a success of East-West diplomacy and ... probably a bridge between the West and the Russian Federation.”

Here’s what you need to know.

Moldova was locked in a political stalemate

Moldova held parliamentary elections in February — but until June 8, none of the parties could either rule on its own or form a coalition government with the others.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman walks past electoral campaign posters Friday in downtown Chisinau. (Dumitru Doru/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

On Sunday, Moldova will be holding parliamentary elections. Most observers will likely analyze this as a referendum on whether the Eastern European nation orients itself toward the West or toward Russia – and since the pro-Russian Socialists are likely to win power, will conclude that Russia has won its loyalty. But the election’s main effect will be to cement and legitimize oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc’s total control over the country’s political life.

Plahotniuc is leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova, the largest party in parliament, and one of the wealthiest businessmen in the country. He has risen to dominate Moldovan politics by maneuvering between Russia and the West, buying out rivals, changing electoral laws to benefit his party, using the state apparatus to manipulate the media and harass opponents and owning a good share of the news media.…  Seguir leyendo »