This year, the nonofficial master of Moldova, Vlad Plahotniuc, faces tough times: trying to stay on top of the Moldovan “food chain” and balancing between east and west, probable confrontation with Brussels… In order to survive the upcoming battles – both on the inside and the outside arena – the PDM leader strengthens the rear in advance.
Democratic Party lavishes on business in exchange for loyalty
At the end of last year, the head of PDM at the meeting of the Association of Business People solemnly promised the Moldovan business full future support and new exemptions. So, he announced his intention to reduce the contributions of entrepreneurs to the social insurance budget, as well as to abolish the income tax for companies reinvesting it in their own development. Even earlier, in the summer of 2018, the business of the Republic of Moldova was pleased with the so-called ‘tax reform’, initiated by the Democrats. Its first part, related to the reduction of the tax burden on citizens and entrepreneurs, was actively promoted in the controlled PDM media. The second – about the decriminalization of economic crimes and the amnesty of capital – caused a strong criticism from Western partners. The adopted laws, in fact, made it possible to legalize laundered capital, only by sharing a small percentage with the authorities.
Experts believe that the economic effect of these measures will be minimal. But their goal, most likely, was not in filling the state treasury. The goal was different: the ruling Democrats have obtained a convenient tool for flirting with business, using the contradictory wording of the law. On the one hand, the amnesty of capital does not apply to a great number of persons: deputies, ministers, senior managers of the National Bank, those suspected of stealing a billion, etc. (total nineteen categories). On the other hand, those who use this mechanism will do it anonymously for press and public. That is, in fact, everyone will be able to legalize illegally acquired things, of course, with the tacit support of the authorities.
The latest PDM moves in the economy testify to one thing: Plahotniuc makes a serious bet on business as one of the pillars of the current regime in the period before and after the electoral fever. Those entrepreneurs who swore allegiance in exchange for the ‘vassal’ oath and unconditional loyalty are guaranteed financial preferences and protection of the master of Moldova with his almost unlimited resources and controlled courts.
Exemplary ‘vassal’ Ilan Shor
However, the Moldovan business clearly does not need another reminder about the benefits of vassal relations with the master of Moldova. There is always a clear example in the person of one and only Ilan Shor. All sorts of scandals and investigations have long followed this notorious entrepreneur and politician, which naturally resulted in a court sentence of seven years for participating in the “theft of a billion”. He was found guilty of causing damage in an especially large amount by deception or abuse of trust, as well as of money laundering – of course, in a very big amount. In any other country, such “background” would by default put an end to the career and prospects of the public person.
However, neither scandals, nor even the sentence does interfere with the life of Ilan Shor. He is not prisoned, moreover, he is freely moving around Moldova and foreign countries. Being an exemplary vassal, Shor is obediently ready to do any will of his master: to participate in intrigues against his competitors, to give necessary testimony in court, to run a dirty election campaign in the interests of Plahotniuc. For doing this, the businessman not only retains his patrimony (Orhei), but in fact enjoys immunity from any persecution within Moldova.
Bright social model “Ilan Shor” was created for a reason. In the coming year, given the heavy electoral struggle and instability in relations with Western partners, Plahotniuc will need many more devoted “Shors” ready to guard his control over the country. Already adopted and announced economic measures show that the PDM leader does not intend to skimp. He is even ready to grant to loyal vassals certain segments of the economy.
Making vassal relations between the Puppeteer and the Moldovan business will most likely trigger a new redistribution of property and areas of influence in the country. It is unlikely that the newly appeared vassals of Plahotniuc will miss the unique opportunity to get their own piece of Moldovan financial pie. All other businessmen – those who support PDM rivals or simply play by the rules – better be preparing now: not everyone will survive the invasion of the Plahotniuc’s oprichniks in the new year.
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