Russia accuses US of “active involvement” in Moldovan elections

Russia accuses US of “active involvement” in Moldovan elections
By bne IntelliNews February 13, 2019

Russia openly criticised what it called the US’s “intervention in the internal affairs of Moldova”, particularly in the former Soviet republic’s upcoming parliamentary elections through public support for certain politicians, in a statement from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The comments come in the context of pro-Russian President Igor Dodon’s party, the Socialist Party (PSRM), warning of street protests against alleged plans to ban the party from taking part in the February 24 elections. 

The PSRM is expected to strengthen its position as the country’s largest party in the election, and it is very likely to be in a position to form its own government. Currently, controversial politican and businessman Vlad Plahotniuc and his Democratic Party run a pro-EU government with a low level of public support. Russia’s statement reinforces its support for Dodon and the PSRM, and indicates it would back attempts by the Moldovan Socialists to form a government after the elections.

Immediately after taking office last autumn, the US Ambassador to Chisinau, D. Hogan began to actively participate in Moldovan internal processes, the statement from Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry claims. 

“Hogan publicly supports some politicians against others, distributes recommendations on holding parliamentary elections,” according to the statement. The Americans, in their desire to set the result of the vote, intend to evaluate how democratic the elections will be by the outcome of the vote, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry claims. If the winner does not suit Washington, Moldovans are threatened with breaking ties with the West and even repeating the Ukrainian Maidan, according to the statement.

Russia’s accusations come against the background of moderate support enjoyed by the US and Nato among the Moldovan electorate, compared to higher support for European Union integration. 

But the “active involvement” of Hogan mentioned in the ministry statement has not been particularly visible, and the former US Ambassador James Petite was even more neutral in his positions. In contrast, the European Parliament repeatedly recommended Moldova to recognise pro-EU candidate Andrei Nastase as the winner of the local elections for Chisinau mayor.  

Meanwhile, Dodon has been publicly accused by independent media in Moldova of organising an electoral campaign in favour of the PSRM with the help of Russia. Russia recently helped to recover two Moldovan helicopter pilots captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan three years ago when taking part in UN humanitarian missions, and President Dodon claims personal credit for the operations, besides underlining the “friendship” of Russia. The pilots are being held in a prison in Moscow and Dodon is preparing to personally bring them back home in an operation scheduled for a few days before the February 24 elections.

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