Spotlight 19/20 "Breaking the vicious circle: Can the new Moldovan president Sandu succeed in balancing relations with the EU and Russia?"
by Mikhail Polianskii and Rebecca Wagner
1 Corruption scandals in the Republic of Moldova: In 2014-2015, nearly $1 billion disappeared from the nation’s banking system (the equivalent of around 12 percent of the country’s GDP). The disappearance of the money was linked to the infamous banker (and founder of the Sor Party) Ilan Shor, which led to a country-wide economic and political crisis. In summer 2019, a video was released which showed Igor Dodon receiving a black plastic bag supposedly filled with a significant amount of cash from Vladimir Plahotniuc. Plahotniuc, himself linked to various corruption scandals, is a powerful oligarch and a long-time behind-the-scenes political powerbroker in Moldova. Until his departure in 2019, he was the leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) and controlled Moldova’s politics and economy.
2 The World Bank expects Moldova's economic output to decrease by 5.2 percent in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, downgrading the forecast it made in June of a 3.1 percent contraction.
7 Andrey Rudenko, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated shortly after the first election round that “Moscow is planning on cooperating with any Moldovan President elected by the people.” See: tass.ru/politika/9892843
8 Traditionally, the participation of voters from Transnistria has caused domestic tensions regarding potential irregularities such as voter transportation and vote-buying. Voters registered on the left bank of the Dniester (Transnistria) could vote at 42 designated polling stations in established neighboring areas in the Republic of Moldova. For the 2020 presidential elections, the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) regulated potential bussing of voters, yet, on both election days, there were clashes between Transnistrian voters, a traditional pro-Russian and thus pro-Dodon electorate, and supporters of other parties.