Russia stokes unprecedented energy crisis in Moldova

Russia stokes unprecedented energy crisis in Moldova

A power plant in the vicinity of the city of Balti, in northern Moldova, on November 2, 2022.

Bad luck for Moldova. While the former Soviet republic of two and a half million inhabitants is in talks with its Western creditors to manage to face the worst energy crisis in thirty years, the pro-European government stumbles on a political scandal. According to private Moldavian television TV8, talks were underway at the presidential palace on Sunday evening November 13 to find a possible replacement for Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita. In question, the disputed appointment of an anti-corruption prosecutor by the Minister of Justice, Sergiu Litvinenco. Several magistrates and members of the opposition are calling for his resignation, against the backdrop of the decline in popularity of the pro-European president, Maia Sandu, elected in 2020, while demonstrations are organized every Sunday by the pro-Russian opposition.

Exasperated by Moscow’s interference in her country’s internal affairs, the president told a Romanian channel on November 2 that Moscow was using its secret services and members of pro-Russian parties in Moldova. “to orchestrate protests where people express their dissatisfaction with rising prices”. According to Maia Sandu, “these actions aim to destabilize the political situation in Moldova (…). We have high inflation, which the pro-Russian forces are trying to use in order to overthrow the Moldovan government”.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia polarizes the political debate to the extreme. On November 10, a parliamentary debate pitted former Communist President Vladimir Voronin against the Speaker of Parliament, Igor Grosu, a member of the pro-European Action and Solidarity Party (PAS).

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The debate opened on the theme of the Moldovan fighters engaged alongside the Ukrainian forces. They would number three hundred, according to Moldovan public television. Vladimir Voronin, who is described as pro-Russian, has called for the identity of these fighters to be disclosed. Igor Grosu countered that the authorities should instead investigate those who are fighting alongside the Russians and said he hoped to see Ukraine triumph in this war.

“Every Russian missile strike against Ukraine is a missile against our energy security”, Nicu Popescu, head of Moldovan diplomacy

The neighboring war has deeply disrupted the fragile economy of Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe and one of the most dependent on energy imports. Nearly half of household spending is already spent on electricity and gas bills. “Every Russian missile strike against Ukraine is a missile against our energy security”explain to World Nicu Popescu, Deputy Prime Minister and Head of Moldovan Diplomacy, on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum.

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