COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Belarusian government sees $2bn of withdrawals, issues $580mn worth of bonds in 2020
Lukashenko: I am no enemy of the people
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
One of Russia’s biggest wood product companies, Segezha could be Sistema’s next IPO
The volume of the Russian National Wealth Fund tops $183.93bn as gold overtakes dollar asset for first time
EU to begin certifying Russian Sputnik V vaccine for use in Europe
New Ukrainian VC firm QPDigital aims to invest up to $100 million in digital startups
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Most Ukrainians are optimistic about 2021 – poll
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Top Centre Party official suspected of corruption in Tallinn real estate scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
Romanian tech entrepreneurs expand into banking sector
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
Vodafone Albania plans €100mn infrastructure investments after AbCom merger
OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
Bosnia’s real GDP contracts 6.3% y/y in 3Q20
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex10 index at highest level since March 5
OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
Socialist lawmakers in Moldova scrap settlement on $1bn bank frauds
Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
Vast tide of floating waste threatens Balkan hydropower plants
North Macedonia's manufacturing confidence indicator down by 8.5 pp y/y in December
OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
Moldova fears flooding from Ukraine's planned Dniester hydropower plants
Romania’s industrial recovery paused in November
OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Slovenia’s dire COVID-19 situation in 4Q20 caused second economic dip
Slovenia’s Eligma completes €4mn funding round
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Let’s tentatively pencil in a date for Turkey’s hot money outflow
Turkish opposition leader lawsuit demands one lira from Erdogan, police probe “bald” interior minister posts
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
Russia, Kazakhstan pushing for oil production increases on the back of coronavirus vaccine-fuelled oil price optimism
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
Iran’s navy conducts missile drill while analyst argues Trump even capable of nuclear strike in final days
TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
STOLYPIN: Scope for limited progress under Biden, so long as the past remains the past
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Makro positions itself for growth in a more competitive market
Download the pdf version
Pro-Moldova, a faction that split in February from the Moldovan Democratic Party (PDM), has been joined by a seventh MP, Gheorghe Brasovschi.
The PDM was headed by oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, for years Moldova’s most powerful politician, until it lost power in July 2019. Plahotnuic fled Moldova immediately after the PDM was ousted from power by a short-lived alliance between the pro-Russian Socialists and pro-EU ACUM bloc.
The recent formation of Pro-Moldova, headed by one of Plahotniuc’s closest allies, former parliament speaker Andrian Candu, has led to speculation that the businessman and politician could ultimately be planning a return to Moldova.
The faction split from the PDM, which it accused of having allegedly carried out secret negotiations with the Socialist Party (PSRM). Pro-Moldova positions itself as a pro-EU party, a strategy that recalls the Plahotniuc era, thus raising legitimate questions about whether it would compete with former prime minister Maia Sandu and her Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) for the position of President Igor Dodon’s and the Socialists’ main challenger.
Separately, Candu’s personal ties with Plahotniuc, his marriage godfather, makes the party prone to becoming a political vehicle in principle available for the former leader to return to the country under more favourable circumstances. Plahotnuic, now the subject of an international arrest warrant, is supposed to have self-exiled in Miami.
The political rhetoric of Pro-Moldova is similar to the pro-EU narrative previously used by the PDM and Plahotniuc to build their pro-Western image, while maintaining firm control over the country’s centralised economy and corrupt justice. As this control deepened, observers including the European Commission warned of the growing decree of state capture in Moldova.
Now that the political project backed by Moldova’s western development partners last June — the coalition between ACUM and the Socialists —has collapsed, Pro-Moldova might expect to become the leading pro-EU force in Moldova and the main recipient of political support from its western partners.
Separate, unrelated developments support this scenario. Firstly, Andrei Nastase, the leader of Dignity and Truth political party (PPDA), has announced his presidential candidacy. In the previous presidential elections, the PPDA collaborated with Sandu’s PAS and Sandu came close to winning the election, only losing out to Dodon in the second round. Polls indicate Sandu is again the main challenger to Dodon in the presidential elections scheduled for this autumn while Nastase would be surpassed by even former prime minister and current PDM leader Pavel Filip.
The lack of cooperation between the PPDA and PAS leaves the door open for Pro-Moldova to become the main ally of Moldova’s western development partners.
The return of Plahotniuc to Moldova could then follow. Opinions that Moldova’s western partners should support Plahotniuc as “the only check on Dodon” are already being put forward in foreign media. A column published by US News on February 24 suggests that the US proved “counterproductive” when its secretary of state barred Plahotniuc from entering the US for “significant corruption”. In essence, the column argues Plahotniuc would make a reasonable ally of western (US included) partners in Moldova. “Dodon has been able to blacken Plahotniuc's reputation with charges that absolutely lack basis,” wrote Christina Petru, Ph.D, a retired economist, and Olga Kousi, an academic with specific provenance in the CIS/CEE.
The argument is debatable at least because it overlooks the role played by Plahotniuc in the past and his proven lack of capacity to drive changes towards rule of law and market economy in Moldova.
Separately, there are other pro-EU forces in Moldova that are better positioned in terms of electoral support to fight against Dodon. Sandu’s past cooperation with Dodon’s Socialists does not necessarily invalidate her as Dodon’s main challenger. The ACUM-PSRM coalition not only was blessed by the US and EU, but it was open and public, as opposed to Plahotniuc’s hidden cooperation with Dodon for several years before June 2019.
In fact, supporting Plahotniuc as “the only check on Dodon” would mean a return to the pre-June 2019 situation, which means limited technical reforms (like better banking regulations) but no progress in the fight against corruption, rule of law or market economy. In other words, Dodon’s obscure relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle do not necessarily qualify Plahotniuc as Moldova’s leading pro-western player.
here to continue reading this article
and 5 more for free or purchase
12 months full website access including
the bne Magazine for just $250/year.
Register to read the bne monthly magazine for
Password could contain only
and have 8-20 symbols length.
Please complete your registration by confirming your
A confirmation email has been sent to the email
address you provided.
can't be empty.
No user with
this email address.
Access recovery request has expired, or you are using
the wrong recovery token. Please, try again.
Access recover request has expired.
Please, try again.
To continue viewing our content you need to complete
the registration process.
Please look for an email that was sent to
with the subject line
"Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have
instructions on how to complete registration
process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in
case this communication was misdirected in your
If you have any questions please contact us at email@example.com
Sorry, but you have used all your free articles fro
this month for bne IntelliNews. Subscribe
to continue reading for only $119 per year.
Your subscription includes:
For the meantime we are also offering a free
digital weekly newspaper to subscribers to
the online package.
Click here for more subscription options,
including to the print version of our
flagship monthly magazine:
Take a trial to our premium daily news
service aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging
For any other enquiries about our
products or corporate discounts please
contact us at
If you no longer wish to receive
Magazine annual print
Website & Archive
Combined package: web
access & magazine print
Take a trial to our premium daily news service
aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging Europe: