The speaker of Moldova’s parliament has accused Russia of meddling in the country’s politics ahead of a presidential election that could cement the former Soviet republic as a contender for European Union membership or further Russian control, The Associated Press reports:
Parliament Speaker Andrian Candu said the government thinks “the Russians are financing political parties and leaders” and backing anti-government protests. Candu told The Associated Press that Moldova’s leaders also suspect Russia of “manipulating media outlets and doing propaganda.”
Russia is hoping to sabotage Moldova’s aspiration to join the European Union and re-orient its politics towards liberal market democracy, reports suggest.
Moldovan voters demonstrate a desire for change and enthusiasm for the upcoming presidential election, according to a new nationwide poll* from Moldova released today by the International Republican Institute.
“This survey shows that Moldovans are enormously dissatisfied with the status quo, particularly in relation to corruption and economic issues,” said Stephen Nix, IRI Regional Director, Eurasia. “The level of excitement over the election indicates that people are investing in this process and want to see change. Whatever the results, the next president will need to rebuild public confidence and address the problems driving the populations’ discontent.”
Investigative journalists at Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project partner RISE Moldova, launched on Wednesday Prezidentiale 2016, an online source for voters who want to know who the candidates are, what businesses they are involved in, and where their money is coming from, the OCCRP reports:
Initial stories trace connections between the leading candidate and a mysterious Russian-linked offshore that has funneled money to the Socialist Party; the ties between a reform candidate and two wealthy businessmen who fled convictions in Moldova; and how a historic building another candidate wants to demolish vanished from a list of protected properties.
*The survey was conducted by Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization on behalf of IRI, with funding support from the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance NGO. RTWT