Twitter Space: Movements in Moldova
Paula Erizanu, journalist and author, speaks with Roger Hilton to break down the foreign composition of government protests, what Moldova needs to defend itself against Russian psy-ops, competing factional struggles inside Transnistria, how Ukraine’s victory can be a catalyst to resolve the Transnistria issue, and Romania’s substantial developing role in supporting the country’s EU path.
What are the key points discussed in the episode?
- The western headline suggesting the collapse of Moldova’s government was misleading, where the current government poses a stable majority and the new leadership was a result of a cabinet shuffle. Moldova policy watchers should be focused on the next elections — local elections in autumn, presidential elections in 2024 and general elections in 2025, which hold the potential to be more disruptive for the country’s EU path.
- The current wave of protests in Moldova focusing on energy prices and the high cost of living were manufactured with participants being paid and driven in by Russian friendly political actors.
- Due to Moldova’s small size and long-standing relations with Russia, the Kremlin poses the ability to wage war in Ukraine and psy-ops against Moldova, notable due to the presence of miscreant domestic actors such as Ilan Sor looking to derail Moldova’s EU trajectory. Expelling Russian diplomats would serve no policy and be viewed as unnecessarily provocative.
- To counter Russia’s influence, Moldova requires a diverse set of resources including better air defense systems, continued financial support from the EU to offset the current economic hardship, higher levels of information literacy resources, and more intensive anti-disinformation collaboration projects.
- Internally, Moldova must make a conceded political effort to improve the quality of its democracy with a significant emphasis on its juridical reform. Cleaning the judiciary system of corrupt judges and prosecutors is a priority.
- Within Transnistria, a brewing struggle between the economic faction led by the oligarchic group Sheriff and the security faction led by Vitaly Ignatyev is ongoing and therefore preventing the Russian stationed troops in Moldova from intervening in Ukraine.
- When Ukraine wins the war, greater clarity regarding resolving the Transnistria issue could be expected, where the greatest challenge remains winning the hearts and minds of residents who have been engrained with decades worth of propaganda and remain distrustful of their fellow citizens.
- On the issue of supporting Moldova’s EU integration, the current Romanian government continues to play a large development and reconstruction role, but where supposed Pro-EU parties, based in Bucharest, like the Social Democratic Party (PSD) need to be carefully watched to ensure they have Moldova’s best interest at hand and not advance Russia policy objectives.
Listen to the full episode below.