Expert: Washington is Preparing to Actively Fight with Moscow for Moldova

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Sergiu CEBAN The events taking place in Moldova are increasingly convincing that the country is under serious external pressure and the main political leaders are totally dependent being participants in the tactical games imposed on them. Recently, a lot of Moldovan and international publications stated that Igor Dodon, who positions himself as a politician loyal to Moscow is actually pursuing a completely opposite line, which is hardly correlated with Russian interests in the region. This state of affairs allows us to explain the elongated pauses in contacts with Vladimir Putin and the strange story with the Russian credit. All this, let Moldovan experts began to more clearly see the actions that Western players, primarily the United States, can stand behind. Last week, Moldovan domestic politics experienced several “shacking” as a result of which occurredimportant tectonic shiftsin the political system and theyare to determine the line of events development in Moldovathis year. It is obvious, the power configuration that developed in November last year, with Igor Dodon’s leading role is becoming less and less viable. Therefore, it requires the Moldovan president to take certain steps, first of all connected to the Democratic Party, because as some analysts believe, namely this party still retains good positions in the western capitals. At the same time, the controversial discord in the democratic camp also tends to be viewed by experts through the prism of Washington's revenge plans. Exactly this way Vladimir Plahotniuc is brought to the forefront and he, apparently, is not going to leave Moldovan politics and continues to invisibly participate in the country's affairs. Moreover, the general public was openly informed that the country's main oligarch did not ignorethe “split of Democrats”and his faithful comrade-in-arms Andrian Candu defiantly reported this news in a phone call to the United States. A few days later, the Prosecutor General of Moldova, Alexander Stoianoglo, allegedly “on command” confirmed that, according to the information he disposed, the Democratic leader is on the territory of the North American continent. One would ask why such attention is paid to and how it generally relates to the statements of State Secretary Mike Pompeo, who back in January of this year said that Washington was imposing sanctions on Vladimir Plahotniuc and his family members. After all, the State Department in accordance with applicable law has the right to prohibitobtaining American visa to persons convicted of corruption. Anyway, the visa was extended and theState Secretary’s similar position somewhat diverged from Washington’s strategic view on the Moldovan state’s future fate to which Plahotniuc, apparently has yet to make an important contribution when considering practical possibilities. We are talking about both: PDM’s political positions and incriminating information about Moldovan key politicians, first of all of course Igor Dodon. Thus, Plahotniuc's continued stay in the United States and Andrian Candu's negligent comments on Pompeo's statements, which are allegedly political and do not have any specific legal consequences, indicate that Washington has views on the Democratic Party and its leaders in the upcoming "Moldovan fight" with the Kremlin. It will be helpful to mention that last week Vladimir Plahotniuc was reported to have long been connected with the American intelligence services that lobbied for his interests in the United States. Thus, according to some media, Richard Grenell, recently appointed by Donald Trump to the post of the U.S. national intelligence director, actively collaborated with the Moldovan oligarch in 2016, providing him with advisory and other assistance in establishing ties with Washington. In his publications, an American official, in particular, insisted that Vladimir Plahotniuc was a pro-Western politician who was actively attacked by the Kremlin. The statement by John Herbst, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and now an Atlantic Council expert, serves an additional confirmation that Washington is set on a rather tough line in dialogue with Moscow and personally with Dmitry Kozak. According to him, American politicians do not see Kozak as a person who can make the necessary concessions, because his behavior in relation to Transdniestria and other frozen conflicts is “not the behavior of the person who establishes peace, but the behavior of the person who leads the dictatorship policy". In this regard, the controlled cooling in relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol observed in recent months, seems to be a demonstrative gesture of Washington towards the Kremlin showing who holds real levers of influence on regional processes, including the Transdniestrian settlement. Such a concentration of forces by key international players in the Moldovan direction indicates that Moscow and Washington are preparing for a decisive battle in this field, the outcome of which may be crucial for the fate of Moldova and Transdniestria.