Briefing Note

Project: Russia and Eurasia Programme

James Sherr
  • Despite the dominance of governing clans, which have corroded Moldova's political and economic life since the election of the Communist president Vladimir Voronin in 2001, Europe has until now looked positively on the country's pluralistic and democratic credentials.
  • The violent disturbances in Chisinau on 7 April have shattered this complacency, raising fears that the government will use the protests as a pretext to impose an authoritarian regime.
  • President Voronin devoted his entire first term to enhancing Moldova's European prospects, strengthening the relationship with Romania, and moving towards a resolution of the Transnistria conflict.
  • Faced with internal challenges, however, Voronin may allow this progress to unravel if he perceives that the 'question of power' can only be resolved by titling the country towards Moscow.
  • The emerging situation in Moldova is attractive to Russia as it strengthens the hand of Transnistria, deepens Voronin's dependency on Moscow, undermines the EU's Eastern Partnership, and provides oblique support to Russia's 'privileged' claims in the former USSR.