The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 01 February 2016

by TRG Alerts Admin on February 8, 2016

The Rendon Group

 

(08FEB16)

 

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

 

Unfolding Crisis: Political Instability in Moldova Heats Up

 

A Moldovan officer watched a protest in the capital, Chisinau, on 24JAN. The appointment of Pavel Filip as the new prime minister spurred more than 15,000 people to take to the streets.

(Vadim Ghirda, Associated Press)

 

Moldova has been mired in crisis since APR15 when the exposure of a USD1-billion (910-million-euro) corruption scandal triggered huge protests and the arrest of former premier Vlad Filat.

The previous pro-EU government lost a vote of confidence in OCT15 and was dismissed, but since then, the parliament has been deadlocked over its replacement.

The country is torn between those who want it to join neighboring Romania in the European Union and those who want closer relations with Moscow.

The nomination on 20JAN of a new government reinvigorated the protests, with demonstrators trying to storm the parliament as the new administration was sworn in, prompting calls for calm from the EU.

 

News summary of events during the week of 25JAN16 – 31JAN16

  • 25JAN: A day after more than 20,000 people took to the streets in Chisinau to protest the new government, new prime minister, Pavel Filip, dismissed calls from anti-corruption protesters for his government to step down. (BBC)
  • 26JAN: Romania’s prime minister Dacian Ciolos pledged to send emergency aid to Moldova and work to bring its ex-Soviet neighbor closer to the EU as long as it makes greater efforts to reform its system and end corruption. (Reuters)
  • 26JAN: Prime Minister Pavel Filip said his government faced a “last chance” to regain public trust, calling for calm from protesters demanding his resignation. (AFP)
  • 27JAN: Transparency International released its annual Corruption Index and, in explaining the downgrading of Moldova’s status, the report placed blame on systemic government failures. (Transparency International)
  • 28JAN: The opposition camps refused to meet with government officials, who did not react to their ultimatum for the government’s resignation and early parliamentary elections that expired at midnight. (TASS)
  • 29JAN: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg  promised to continue to support Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova “to better resist outside pressure.” (Defense News)
  • 29JAN: Our Party, the Party of Socialists of Moldova and the Dignity and Truth (DA) civic platform called for fresh protests next week to demand early elections and an investigation into more than USD1 billion that disappeared from three banks. (TASS)
  • 01FEB: Prosecutors said a grenade was lobbed and exploded at the house of the outgoing governor of Moldova’s central bank. (AP)

 

Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about the Moldova crisis

 

  • @MoldovaPolitics – Mihai Popșoi, Political and Policy Analyst, Founder and Contributor at MoldovanPolitics.com.
  • @timjudah1 – Tim Judah, Balkans correspondent for The Economist.
  • @juliaioffe – Julia Loffe, Contributing writer at New York Times Magazine, columnist at Foreign Policy.
  • @MaximEristavi – Maxim Eristavi, Hromadske co-founder. 2015 Poynter Fellow at Yale.
  • @marcfs13 – Marc Schleifer, Regional Director, Eastern Europe, Eurasia and South Asia at the Center for International Private Enterprise

 

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the Moldova crisis

 

Nicu Popescu, Analyst, European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris

“The stolen $1 billion was the last straw in many ways.” “It turned people in Moldova from disappointment to active opposition.”

  • “Opposition Groups in Moldova Unite to Protest New Government,” NYT, 25JAN16

 

Arcadie Barbarosie, Executive Director, Institute for Public Policy (Chisinau)

“According to different estimates, in one or two months Moldova won’t be able to meet its budget payments, including state salaries and pensions,”

“Protest leaders now face a dilemma,” “Moldova badly needs a functioning government, to negotiate with the country’s foreign partners and plug the budget gaps to stop a social implosion.”

  • “Opposition Groups in Moldova Unite to Protest New Government,” NYT, 25JAN16

 

Vladimir Soloviev, Editor-in-chief, Newsmaker (Moldova)

“Deputies changed into police uniforms and escaped the parliament, so the crowds outside would not tear them apart. No European country would ever allow such a shameful appointment of the government.”

  • “Inside the Uprising Against Moldova’s Donald Trump,” The Daily Beast, 27JAN16

 

Radu Magdin, Transnational Consultant, Smartlink Communications (Romania)

[Help from Romania] “can’t replace the $1 billion plus that was stolen, but it helps with basic necessities.”

  • “Romania offers Moldova aid to keep it solvent, and with West,” AP, 26JAN16

 

Daniel Brett, associate professor at the Open University

 

“There is very real anger at the Moldovan political elite.”

 

“Politicians (in Moldova) have consistently sought to put their own interests ahead of those of the country. Opportunities to tackle corruption and the economic crisis have been missed, because tackling corruption threatens the interests of the elite.”

  • “Unrest for 2nd day: 7,000 hold anti-govt protest in Moldova” AP, 21JAN16

 

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the Moldova crisis

 

1.Moldova needs to build friendly relations with EU, Russia – opposition

 

Media: Tass (Russia)

Byline: N/A

Date: 29 January 2016

 

CHISINAU, January 29. /TASS/. The coming to power of Moldova’s parties oriented towards building good relations with Russia does not mean the denunciation of the association agreement with the European Union signed by the government, Our Party leader Renato Usatii told reporters on Friday. Together with the Party of Socialists of Moldova and the Dignity and Truth (DA) civic platform, he is holding protests to demand early elections.

 

“No need to reconsider this agreement. It is necessary to discuss some economy-related provisions, because they are detrimental to our country. We are talking about export figures and the free trade zone. There are some things that need to be stopped,” Usatii said.

 

Continue Reading

 

2. Moldova protesters weigh next move as election ultimatum passes

 

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 28 January 2016

 

Chisinau, Jan 28, 2016 (AFP) – Protesters in tiny ex-Soviet Moldova on Thursday pondered their next move after the authorities snubbed a deadline to call early elections in the latest twist in the country’s protracted political crisis.

 

Demonstrators — including both pro-European and pro-Russian groups — issued a Thursday ultimatum for parliament to be dissolved after ratcheting up street protests against rampant corruption among the impoverished state’s ruling elite.

 

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3. Romania offers Moldova $60 million loan to spur reforms

 

Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 26 January 2016

 

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The Romanian government has offered Moldova a loan of 60 million euros ($65 million) to prevent economic collapse in the impoverished ex-Soviet republic.

 

But Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said Tuesday that Moldova will have to fight corruption and make other reforms if it is to get the money.

 

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4. NATO hopes for mutual respect in Russia relationships; won’t stop support to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova

 

Media: Interfax (Russia)

Byline: N/A

Date: 29 January 2016

 

BRUSSELS. Jan 29 (Interfax-Ukraine) –  NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance hopes for the constructive relationships with Russia despite present discords.

 

“Russia is our largest neighbour,” Stoltenberg said during a presentation of his NATO second annual report 2015.

 

5. Last Year Saw Biggest Slide In Freedom In A Decade, Says Monitoring Group

 

Media: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Byline: Pete Baumgartner

Date: 27 January 2016

 

Last year saw a greater decline in global freedom than any other in the past decade, according to a leading rights monitor.

 

The U.S.-based organization Freedom House says freedom ebbed in 72 countries around the world in 2015, while just 43 countries witnessed an increase.

 

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