Moldavia

La inminente cumbre de la UE puede ser la más importante de su historia reciente. Sobre todo, por el momento en que se produce.

La contraofensiva ucraniana se ha estancado. Por primera vez desde el estallido de la guerra, empieza a arraigar la sensación de que Rusia tal vez esté ganando.

La aclamada firmeza occidental en apoyo de Ucrania está debilitándose. Los Balcanes occidentales están en ebullición. Y las elecciones presidenciales del próximo año en Estados Unidos no presagian nada bueno para Europa.

Existen muchas presiones para que los líderes de la UE, que se reunirán en Bruselas esta semana, inicien las negociaciones para la adhesión de Ucrania y Moldavia, y aprueben un paquete de ayuda económica a Kiev por valor de 50.000 millones de euros.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speak after a joint press conference after talks in Kyiv on February 2, 2023. SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

On Nov. 8, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen officially recommended that Ukraine and Moldova open membership negotiations with Brussels soon, upon fulfilling certain criteria. The move is both an expression of commitment to Ukraine and a shot across Russia’s bow. Indeed, EU officials are betting that by anchoring Eastern Europeans—Ukraine and Moldova, as well as the Western Balkans and eventually Georgia, too—ever more solidly in the EU, it can lift them out of the precarious no-man’s-land between the EU and Russia, and thus stabilize the EU’s eastern borders. The best way to expand Europeans’ peace and prosperity, according to von der Leyen, is to lock all liberal-minded states from the Baltics to the Balkans into the institutions and structures of democratic Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, greets Moldovan President Maia Sandu in Chisinau, Moldova, on March 6. (Sergei Grits/AP)

Those who want to pull U.S. aid from Ukraine fail to understand the devastating impact that such a move would have on many other countries — and especially those in Vladimir Putin’s sights. For the small Eastern European nation of Moldova, international support for its neighbor Ukraine is the linchpin of its own security. Pulling it now would doom the region and set a terrible precedent around the world.

That was the main message of Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu, whom I interviewed in New York last week on the sidelines of U.N. General Assembly meetings. “What happens in Ukraine does not stay in Ukraine”, Popescu told me.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Ukraine’s resistance has secured Moldova’s existence, and Moldovans are now sowing the seeds for their European future.’ A pro-EU rally in Chisinau, Moldova, 21 May 2023. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

While Russia’s war on Ukraine rages on and Kyiv prepares its counteroffensive, Moldova, the former Soviet republic sandwiched between Ukraine and the EU, is fortunate to be still standing. Had Russia succeeded in its original war aims, not only would it have captured Kyiv and Odesa, but from there it would have been a matter of days before Russian forces had reached Chisinau.

Moldovan authorities have no doubt this was Vladimir Putin’s plan. The prime minister, Dorin Recean, is crystal clear: Moldova survives only thanks to Ukrainian resistance. If Moscow had been able to spread the war to Moldova, there is no way it would have been able to put up the kind of fight the Ukrainian armed forces have.…  Seguir leyendo »

Crises can make or break countries. Crises can make or break leaders.

The Republic of Moldova, like much of the rest of Europe, is facing multiple challenges the likes of which haven’t been seen since our country, bordered by Ukraine and Romania, declared independence in 1991. Russia’s ruthless and senseless war against Ukraine is supposed to make us, and other countries, crack under the pressure. We won’t.

As president, I am heartened to see the resilience and perseverance of our people in the face of the intertwined crises: the war on our doorstep, Russia’s energy blackmail and resulting soaring inflation, economic downturn and staged protests.…  Seguir leyendo »

At least every other week, Ana Golea takes the 620-mile round-trip journey back to her home city of Chisinau – the capital of Moldova – to visit her parents. Fearful for their well-being, the 34-year-old marketing specialist has been doing this ever since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. At that point Moldova, which borders Ukraine and Romania, was quickly thought by some to be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next target.

The trips she makes from the Romanian capital of Bucharest, where Ana has been living for the past decade, to Moldova, have only gotten more frequent since power blackouts and energy shortages hit the small country of 2.6 million people.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mapa antiguo de Europa Central

Tema

¿Qué representan la guerra en Ucrania y los conflictos recientes en el espacio post soviético?

Resumen

La reanudación de las hostilidades en Nagorno-Karabaj entre Armenia y Azerbaiyán y en la frontera de Kirguistán y Tayikistán, así como las tensiones continuas en los conflictos congelados de Transnistria (en Moldavia) y Osetia del Sur y Abjasia (en Georgia), han puesto de nuevo el foco sobre el espacio post soviético, planteando la cuestión de si la guerra en Ucrania es la causa de las hostilidades recientes y si podría tener un efecto dominó y crear más inestabilidad en la región.

La guerra en Ucrania no es la causa de las hostilidades, porque estas datan de mucho antes de aquella.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una vez más, la guerra de Rusia en Ucrania bifurcará a Europa. El este quedará separado del oeste, y probablemente la frontera entre ambos será una zona segura y militarizada durante el futuro previsible.

Por supuesto, no sabemos cuándo o cómo acabará la guerra. Pero, tras los últimos acontecimientos, parece seguro suponer que tanto Ucrania como Moldavia se convertirán en candidatos a ser parte de la Unión Europea, y miembros plenos al cabo de unos años. Los líderes de los tres mayores estados miembros de la UE (Francia, Alemania e Italia) y de Rumanía lo dejaron en claro al visitar Kiev la semana pasada.…  Seguir leyendo »

Moldavia se encuentra en un momento histórico y a la vez está en medio de la mayor crisis de seguridad de su región y de Europa. La decisión de presentar su solicitud de ingreso en la UE el pasado 3 de marzo confirma el deseo inequívoco de Moldavia de unirse firmemente al mundo libre.

La aspiración de los ciudadanos moldavos de unirse a la Unión Europea se ha fortalecido más de 30 años después de la independencia del país. No ha sido un camino fácil, pero hoy nos encontramos ante una decisión histórica: la de otorgar a la República de Moldavia el estatus de candidato al ingreso en la UE.…  Seguir leyendo »

After the great destruction of the second world war, there was a singular purpose behind the creation of what is now the European Union: lasting peace. The EU must renew its commitment to this mission in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And enlargement is the most effective instrument that it can use to foster peace and bring stability to fragile eastern Europe.

Article 49 of the founding treaty of the EU establishes that any European state which respects human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights, and which is committed to promoting them, may apply to become a member of the union.…  Seguir leyendo »

Teatro de Tiraspol (capital de Transnistria, Moldavia) y una señal que indica la dirección a Odessa (Ucrania). Foto: Marco Fieber

Tema

Los rasgos estratégicos y económicos de Moldavia determinan su relación con las potencias vecinas en un contexto de tensión en la región.

Resumen

Moldavia es un país de lengua de raíz latina pero con importante influencia rusa, en un terreno fluctuante entre las distintas potencias regionales. La situación de la región independentista de Transnistria condiciona la política, las instituciones y la economía del país, que se ha visto negativamente afectado por la inestabilidad institucional en las últimas décadas.

Esto ha afectado a sectores estratégicos como la energía o la banca. Moldavia tiene una fuerte dependencia energética con profundas consecuencias políticas, y el sector financiero se ve lastrado en su desarrollo por los problemas institucionales y la concentración de poder económico.…  Seguir leyendo »

Fotografía de archivo de una tienda de souvenirs en Chisináu, Moldavia. Reuters

1. No hubo una explosión en Transnistria, sino tres en 24 horas. Los sucesos incumben a dos antenas de repetición construidas durante los tiempos de la Unión Soviética, suficientemente potentes para captar las señales procedentes de la Rusia europea, y una sede del autoproclamado Ministerio del Interior de la autoproclamada región independiente de Moldavia. Esta última explosión fue provocada con un disparo de lanzagranadas.

Explosions reported in Tiraspol, Transnistria near the building of State Security committee "MGB" https://t.co/6d8O4mYaCM #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/uANBBIkDZi

— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) April 25, 2022

2. Nadie pasa por alto la relación de los sucesos, el origen compartido y la sutileza de los objetivos escogidos.…  Seguir leyendo »

As the United States and Europe continue to scramble to help Ukraine defend its territory, preserve its democracy and save its economy, they should keep in mind that Ukraine is not the only country in the region suffering due to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression. Next door, the small country of Moldova is appealing to the West for urgent help and long-term partnership. If we turn away from Moldova, again, we will push it into Putin’s arms.

“The Russian military aggression in Ukraine is making every single person in Europe feel less secure and is having a negative impact on every single person in Europe”, Moldova’s foreign minister, Nicu Popescu, told me in an interview this week in Washington.…  Seguir leyendo »

En menos de siete días tres Estados europeos han presentado su solicitud de adhesión a la Unión Europea. Entre el lunes 28 de febrero y el viernes 4 de marzo, Bruselas recibió sendas peticiones por parte de Ucrania, de Georgia y de Moldavia. Tres exrepúblicas soviéticas que, según la concepción geopolítica putiniana, habrían puesto en peligro la seguridad de Rusia con su acercamiento paulatino a Bruselas y, lo que es aún peor, a la órbita de la OTAN.

Desde Kiev los motivos para solicitar su adhesión al club de los 27 son más que evidentes: la invasión rusa y el consiguiente conflicto bélico.…  Seguir leyendo »

Here we go again: Russia’s energy ‘diplomacy’ in Moldova

In October, Moldova came under the spotlight when Russia, its primary provider of gas, slashed supplies by a third and refused to extend the existing contract.

The crisis was resolved at the end of October when Russia and Moldova signed a new contract, in which Moscow has used Moldova’s gas dependence to extract geopolitical concessions, weaken the new pro-western Chisinau government and drive a wedge between the EU and Moldova.

A chronic failure to reform

Moldova became a classic case of state capture when political elites – including nominally pro-European political elites – engaged in massive rent-extraction.

Up until 2020, when pro-reform forces came to power, Moldovan politics offered rapid route to riches for both the nominally pro-European parties and the pro-Russian Socialist Party; each was responsible for playing up ethnic and geopolitical cleavages in the country to mobilize votes and shore up legitimacy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of a local electoral commission count ballots in the July 11 legislative elections at a polling station in Chisinau, Moldova. (Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images)

Moldova held snap legislative elections July 11. After a months-long wrangle between Maia Sandu, the pro-Western president elected in November, and the pro-Russian majority in the legislature, new elections were called when the Parliament failed to name a new prime minister.

Sandu’s Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) won this election in a landslide, with 52.8 percent of the vote. The second-place party, the pro-Russian Socialists, took only 27 percent. During the campaign, parties focused on two issues: extensive domestic corruption and whether Moldova should more closely align with Russia or the West.

For voters, corruption ultimately proved the more salient political issue, producing a substantial shift in electoral preferences.…  Seguir leyendo »

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 »

An installation dedicated to doctors struggling with Covid-19 in Chisinau, Moldova, November 2020. Photograph: Valery Sharifulin/TASS

“I am happy to work on the frontline and to see the Canadian medical system function so well”, Alecu Mătrăgună wrote in a Facebook post, “but I am sad that I was vaccinated before my mother, who works in the medical system in Moldova”. Mătrăgună is a Moldovan sonographer living in Montreal. His mother is 61 and a paediatrician with more than 30 years’ service under her belt. Yet, he told me, she has no idea when the Covid-19 vaccine might become available for her and for more than 53,300 other healthcare staff in Europe’s poorest country.

I had a similar reaction to Mătrăgună’s about my family in Moldova when I saw a sign at my local London pharmacy as long ago as early December, announcing that the vaccine was on its way.…  Seguir leyendo »

Former Moldovan prime minister Maia Sandu arrives to vote in the runoff presidential election in Chisinau on Nov. 15. Sandu defeated President Igor Dodon in an election that many Moldovans considered a referendum on two divergent visions for the future of this small Eastern European nation. (Roveliu Buga/AP)

The Republic of Moldova, a tiny nation sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, held its second-round presidential elections on Nov. 15. The voters ousted the incumbent pro-Russian president, Igor Dodon, electing Maia Sandu, the pro-Western, Harvard-educated former prime minister.

Sandu will become the first female president of this former Soviet republic, population 3.5 million. What shaped her victory, and what does it mean? Here’s what you need to know.

Moldova has deep political divisions

Disagreements about three big issues have shaped Moldova’s politics in recent years — and corruption topped the list. Sandu organized an anti-corruption movement that opposed the oligarchic rule of Vladimir Plahotniuc, a businessman who completely captured the state until he was ousted in 2019 — following the joint political intervention by the United States, the European Union and Russia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Maia Sandu in Germany in July. Photo: Getty Images.

The lack of political will to carry out rule of law reforms is frequently the reason why reforms are not fully implemented. The case of Moldova proves that in societies where strong vested interests still persist, political savviness is equally as important as political will.

Old and new political power brokers in Moldova struck a fragile pact in June to oust Vladimir Plahotniuc. Plahotniuc had built a network of corruption and patronage with the help of the Democratic Party, which he treated as a personal vehicle and which allowed him and a small economic elite circle to enrich themselves off of government institutions and state-owned enterprises, to the detriment of Moldovan citizens and the health of their political process.…  Seguir leyendo »