The Curious Case of the Chisinau Mayoral Race

On May 20, 2018, voters in Chisinau headed to the polls for the first round of what was a very low-key and boring election. Since 2007, Chisinau has been run like a personal fiefdom by Dorin Chirtoaca, a close personal friend of former Romanian President Traian Basescu. Chirtoaca was re-elected in 2015 and should still…

Chilling Effects

Romania has been a quagmire of incompetence, stupidity, and corruption for many decades now, but two recent stories caught my attention because of just how scary they are. First, the Writers Union in Romania did something really weird with Herta Müller: Last week, Müller learned that she had been expelled from the USR [Romanian Writers…

The Man Behind the Curtain Speaks

Although he normally toils away in obscurity, speaking only to his minions and the foreign governments that prop up his regime, Vladimir Plahotnyuk took the opportunity last week to speak to the press. The reason? Well, 2018 is a mandatory election year for parliament. Although people have been protesting (especially in the winter of 2016/17)…

I Can Now Predict the Future (in Moldova)

Over the weekend, I picked up this tiny little story (in Romanian) about an interview with Andrian Candu, the speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, that was printed in Latvijas Avize (in Latvian). I assume that the original interview was in Russian, but since it was printed in Latvian, I had to rely on the internet…

Dirty and Dirtier

You’ve got to love the variety of English-language news reports during the past 24 hours with titles like New prime minister appointed after ruling party ousted their own government. I mean, only in Romania could something like this be seen as “normal” business. But there are some vitally important facts missing from all the international…