You’ll have to have a subscription to the FT to read this story, but the opening sentence is a doozy:
Pavel Filip, Moldova’s new prime minister, took office last week in a manner more befitting a dictator on his last legs than the leader of the EU’s one-time success story in Eastern Europe.
The story goes on to tell what you can read here (for free), mostly dealing with Romania’s last-ditch attempt to bribe RM into obedience:
Romania offered Moldova emergency economic aid and a loan of 60 million euros ($65 million) on Tuesday in hopes of preventing economic collapse and keeping the impoverished ex-Soviet republic on a pro-European course.
Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said that to get the money, Moldova will have to reform its justice system, fight corruption, sign a draft agreement for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, and appoint a new central bank governor.
There’s the real secret. Yes, staying on track to joining the EU is important, no doubt, but the issue that they TRULY care about is signing deals with the IMF.
Anyway, thanks for the offer of a 60 million loan to the government after the same group of people just stole a billion euros. So helpful!
Meanwhile, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the politician who has single-handedly been responsible for more disasters in Romania than anyone not currently in jail, is now talking (in Romanian) about bribing RM with a 150 million euro loan.
“I believe that the political and social pressure, along with economic difficulties, are together so overwhelming that this help [150 million euro loan] would be welcomed [in RM] as it would give the country breathing room in order to resume negotiations with international organizations, such as the IMF, the European Commission, and The World Bank in order to implement reforms to stabilize the economy.”
Nice. I’m really starting to get the feeling that the IMF is being positioned as Moldova’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. Help us, IMF! You’re our only fucking hope!
Meanwhile in related news, the hyperbolic Romanian press hysterically reported on a story first reported slightly more soberly (also in Romanian) by a Moldovan news portal about how Romanian troops are posed to enter RM to restore law and order.
The story is convoluted so I’ll break it into parts.
First, Transnistria has its own media (including television), which regularly reports all kinds of inflammatory stuff (in Russian) about RM. 99% of the time, this gets ignored.
Second, Russian state TV picked up a Transnistrian story warning that Romanian troops could enter RM at any moment.
Third, the Romanian-language Moldovan press owned by hated oligarch Vlad Plathotniuc (and the leader of the “pro-EU” bloc in RM that Romania loves so much) reported on the Russian report about the Transnistrian report, going to great lengths to deny that RM and Moldova have an agreement to sent in troops to restore law and order.
Fourth, the media in Romania eagerly picked up on the Moldovan report, which means it’ll show up tomorrow (or Thursday) in an AP report in English, going out to the rest of the world from there.
So, first of all, there actually is an agreement between RM and Romania to provide mutual military assistance in case of disaster. Usually, this would mean something like flooding or an earthquake but when Pavel “Mr. Midnight” Filip has been talking this week about how his despotic government will crackdown on protesters, a person could believe that he’s desperate enough to convert widespread social unrest into a “disaster” that’s bad enough to require calling in Romanian troops.
Is that likely? No, not really. But Russia was just having a little fun with the Transnistrian report after RM expelled and banned a dozen Russian (and EU) journalists. Moldovans watch Russian state TV so yeah, the pro-Russia forces in RM scored a few “points” by broadcasting a scare story about how Romanian are troops poised to invade RM on the pretext to restore law and order.
At the end of the day, though, it must be remembered that Romania sending in armed fighters to RM is not exactly pure fantasy as it already happened in 1990, well within the memories of many people living here.
My favorite part though is the little disclaimer at the bottom of the Plathotniuc media piece.
This article was made possible by the generosity of the American people given by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Zoinks! The USAID is the same organization which has repeatedly and enthusiastically been used to destabilize “unfriendly” governments. It’s one of the many propaganda arms of the U.S. government, which is why it is paying for Moldovan media to write stories about Russian “lies”.
It’s hard to believe, but a long time ago the USAID actually used to do things like build roads and construct dams instead of focusing on paying for propaganda and other completely undemocratic shenanigans.
Now though, it is working hand-in-hand with Moldova’s worst oligarch because the end always justifies the means (when it comes to U.S. foreign policy).