Neither Moscow way, nor the EU’s? how Moldova’s Vladimir Plahotniuc manipulates the public opinion

The upcoming elections in Moldova are encouraging more and more political experts to attempt to predict the results. The main focus is on Moldova’s de-facto leader, Vladimir Plahotniuc who continues to play the double game both with the West and Moscow.  Through manipulating both Russia and US/EU, Plahotniuc has already earned a fortune and he is definitely not going to stop.

Notorious for stealing $1 billion (around 12% of the country’s GDP) to the offshore territories (a “theft of the century”) through the Moldavian banks back in 2014, Plahotniuc managed to get away with it and even to charm Washington’s power brokers making the Obama Administration welcome him with open arms.

According to Aaron Miller’s book, “Moldova Under Vladimir Plahotniuc: Corruption & Oligarchy”, Plahotniuc deftly manages and manipulates the public opinion in Moldova with an ongoing “Russia vs. the West” narrative. But indeed, no party is expected to win the majority, which will lead to a deadlock that benefits a power broker like Plahotniuc. The only Plahotniuc political ambitions is to get wealthier. As Moldovan’s whistleblower Gofman says, Plahotniuc, as chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM), received 70 percent of the $1 billion stolen funds, with the remaining 30 percent divvied up between DPM deputies and officials from Moldova’s Liberal Party.  Despite winning only 19 of 101 parliamentary seats in Moldova’s 2014 parliamentary election, Plahotniuc’s DPM party formed a coalition government with the pro-European Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM).  This has certainly raised doubts in Brussels whether the EU could continue trade with corrupted Moldova. Nevertheless, Plahotniuc remains “unpunishable” as, the Miiller says, “Moldova’s elites, like Plahotniuc, get to define the rules…write the rules and rewrite the rules, and [they] are not held accountable by either Brussels or Moscow.”