Moldovan elections: Russia the big topic again

The pro-EU PAS party has won local elections in the Republic of Moldova with over 40 percent of the vote, but pro-Russian forces took the lead in many of the country’s cities. More than the actual outcome, the way it came about is being discussed. The Moldovan intelligence service has accused Russia of using 4.5 million euros to manipulate the elections, while the OSCE has criticised the exclusion of the pro-Russian Șansă party shortly before the election. (MD) /

Time for resolute action against dubious financing

The influencing of voters with financial incentives must no longer be tolerated, writes Radu Burduja, co-founder of the Euro-Atlantic Resilience Centre, on

“Decisive action and concrete steps are needed to break this vicious circle in which votes are given in exchange for financial rewards, particularly since these funds come from dubious and illegal sources. ... Political parties must get back on the road to normality and be financed legally. Otherwise the efforts to strengthen the security and resilience of the Republic of Moldova will be confined to anaemic actions and political documents gathering dust on the shelves of public institutions.”

Radu Burduja
Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

Alternate truths

Ukrainska Pravda is torn:

“Some would say that these were the elections that saved Moldova from having agents of Russia in power — and they would be right. All candidates from the Șansă party, which is financed by the pro-Russian oligarch Ilan Șor, were removed from the electoral lists by government decree. ... But others would say that these elections were held with unprecedented disregard for democratic standards — and they, too, would be right. Because the Moldovan leadership removed their rivals from the race just two days before the ballot, without a court or election commission decision or any legal basis whatsoever.”

Serhij Sydorenko
taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Questionable methods against Russian propaganda

The country is still deeply divided, notes the taz:

“On the one side those who see their country’s future in Europe, on the other those who look towards Moscow. The latter have been targeted once more by Russia’s hybrid warfare, which aims to influence the elections in Putin’s favour. At least in the larger cities, this seems to have been successful. It’s understandable that the government feels it has to protect itself against this. However the means used raise questions: pro-Russian TV stations and numerous Kremlin-affiliated online media were recently gagged. A pro-Russian party was excluded from the election. Critics doubt that this approach is legally sound. Such objections must be taken seriously, including in Brussels.”

Barbara Oertel
Deutsche Welle (RO) /

Republic of Moldova takes a step backwards

The re-elected pro-Russian mayor of Chişinău, Ion Ceban, was actively supported by the Romanian Social Democrats under Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu. Deutsche Welle’s Romanian Service would have preferred the party to make a different choice:

“The fact that the Russian techniques of voter corruption have paid off suggests that the Moldovan population can be manipulated or may not even want to move closer to Europe. ... Prime Minister Ciolacu backed Russia’s candidate, whose party is financed by the Kremlin according to a report by the US Treasury Department. If he had backed the pro-European candidates instead, the Republic of Moldova could have taken a step forwards rather than backwards.”

Sabina Fati