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Vlad Plahotniuc - the criminal master of Moldova

Vlad Plahotniuc

The Republic of Moldova today is a state that is actually fully integrated into the economic and law field of the EU, but so far without the right to full membership in the union. Suffice it to mention that in the documents of the European External Action Service, Moldova is called the main partner of the European Union within the framework of the Eastern Partnership program, and the European vector of Chisinau is defined in the name of the national diplomatic service - MIDEI: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration.

In other words, formally, Moldova's foreign policy is mainly oriented to become part of a united Europe, which is reflected in all spheres of Moldovan reality. Today, Chisinau has implemented 16 000 EU standards out of a total of 25 000 in national legislation, more than 60% of Moldovan exports go to the countries of the European Union. But at the same time, Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe, about a third part of the population is forced to seek work abroad, and more than 60% of households are in arrears in paying utility bills. Here it is necessary to explain that at present the average Moldovan resident living in an apartment of 50 square meters has to pay about $100 a month, while the average pension in the country at the beginning of 2017 was about $64.

The EU authorities regularly criticize the leadership of Moldova because of the huge level of corruption, the imitative nature of many transformations and the oligarchic governance regime created under the slogans of European integration and democracy. Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland in his article for The New York Times called Moldova "captured state", which later became a very popular definition for the Moldovan regime in the political and expert circles of the European Union.

The main "invader" of Moldova is called the largest oligarch and leader of the ruling Democratic Party, Vlad Plahotniuc. No one had heard or known about Plahotniuc as politician until the end of 2010. Prior to this, Vlad Plahotniuc belonged to a number of large Moldovan buisnessmen, whose sphere of interests were banks, hotels, media and oil trade. But even then, he was nicknamed "Bad guy", since the businessman was already credited with fraud, raider seizures, the trade in arms and prostitution and many other illegal activities.

Vlad Plahotniuc began as a member of the Moldovan Communist Party, but in the 2010 parliamentary elections he became a member of the Democratic Party, where he immediately took the honorable second place in the list. Since that moment the sunset of Сommunist Party has begun in the republic. Today the Communists in the Moldovan parliament have only 7 deputies, that is less than 10% of the vote and socialists have 24 deputies. The ruling party is the Democratic Party of Moldova with 41 deputy votes, the ruling faction is the Alliance for European Integration. Oligarch Plahotniuc since December 2016 is the leader of the Democratic Party. It is interesting that at the same time, formally, he is not a member of the party. Today Vlad Plahotniuc does not occupy any government posts, but remains a man who fully controls the economy, legislative and executive power in a small state without any responsibility, as a civil servant.

Recently, this was once again confirmed by the fact that the Constitutional Court decided to suspend the powers of one of the main political opponents of Plahotniuc, the current president of Moldova Igor Dodon. The political field of Moldova, under the guise of fighting corruption, has almost completely been cleared of opponents.

At the same time it is the current government of Moldova, that officials of the IMF and the EU accused of corruption and misuse of Western loans. Not long ago, Vlad Plahotniuc was under investigation of the Italian Interpol in the case of the "Russian mafia", but his declared anti-Russian position is still Vlad's main indulgence in the US and the EU. Plahotniuc is credited with close ties with one of Russia's largest criminal gangs: "Solntzevskyie", some of its leaders now hold public office in Russia.

Vlad Plahotniuc makes a lot of efforts to become a respectable European politician for the West, periodically he pays for publications in prestigious European and American magazines. Vlad even hired a well-known American lobbyist company Podesta Group, which worked with Hillary Clinton's election headquarters. But despite all the efforts Plahotniuc did not become respectable either in the EU or in the US. Western politicians are convinced of the criminal origin of Plahotniuc's vast fortunes.

Nowadays the "master of Moldova" is tolerated rather than approved and at any opportunity will be replaced by a truly European politician who does not have the stigma of belonging to the "Russian mafia". Also in the EU there are great doubts that Moldova's Vlad Plahotniuc really aspires to the EU, and does not imitate desire to become a part of Europe. If Moldova really becomes part of the EU, Vlad's undivided rule will end, and he will be forced to share his power with Brussels and the major European capital that will open Moldova as a tin can.

Tension in the republic is connected with the opposition of the pro-Russian president Igor Dodon, the opponent Renato Usatii and the conditionally pro-European political bloc led by Vlad Plahotniuc. A year ago Moldova was on the verge of a civil war between pro-Russian and pro-European citizens, considering the significant growth of pro-Russian sentiments in the country in recent years, we can’t exclude the Ukrainian scenario in Moldova.

According to sociological polls the anti-rating of Plahotniuc and his government reaches 80%. In such circumstances, Vlad's last chance to remain in power will only be to provoke the escalation of the conflict in Transnistria and appeal to the EU and the US with a demand to protect against Russia's aggression. Europe least needs a second armed conflict on its borders, which will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of refugees, will contribute to the illegal trade in arms and the spread of crime. In November 2018, Moldova will hold parliamentary elections, which can be a difficult test not only for the Republic of Moldova, but also for the EU as a whole.

Jeffrey Simons

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