19th Mar 2018

Pro-Russia protesters storm Moldova parliament

  • Scuffles with police in parliament led to minor injures and arrests (Photo: Ryan)

Hundreds of protesters broke into Moldova’s parliament on Wednesday (20 January), shortly after MPs approved the nomination of a new, pro-EU prime minister.

The Reuters news agency reports that members of the crowd, which had called for new elections, scuffled with police in riot gear, leading to minor injuries and arrests.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The 2014 bank fraud was equivalent to 15 percent of Moldova's GDP (Photo: EUobserver)

The demonstration, reminiscent of the pro-Western, so-called Colour Revolutions of 10 years ago, was the latest in a series of protests which are being organised, in the main part, by pro-Russian opposition parties, such as Our Party of oligarch Renato Usatii, EU sources say.

Opinion polls indicate that if elections were held, the opposition could sweep to power, putting in doubt Moldova’s EU integration.

The EU foreign service, for its part, called for “calm and restraint from all sides.”

“We encourage all stakeholders in the country to engage in a dialogue and to find, together, a way forward for the Republic of Moldova," it said on Wednesday.

But the protests, which have rumbled, on and off, since February last year also involve pro-transparency and anti-corruption groups.

Wednesday’s rally numbered about 3,000 people. But a protest in September involved up to 100,000 - nearly 3 percent of the population.

The unrest comes after a banking scandal in 2014, in which up to $1.5 billion vanished from three lenders in what is Europe’s poorest country.

The new PM, Pavel Filip, a 49-year old former sweets factory manager and communications minister in the ruling Democratic Party, won 57 out of 101 votes in the chamber on Wednesday.

"The people of Moldova don't need a government that says pleasant things, but a government that solves their problems," he said after the result.

Members of the pro-Russian Socialist party also heckled proceedings and held up banners saying “Early elections!”.

Filip’s elevation comes after two previous candidates, Vlad Plahotniuc, an oligarch, and Ion Paduraru, a member of the president’s staff, fell by the wayside. If the Filip vote had also failed, the president would have been forced to call the snap vote.

Filip is Moldova’s third prime minister in less than a year.

His predecessor, Valeriu Strelet, was ousted in a no-confidence motion in October. Strelet’s predecessor, Chiril Gaburici, stepped down in June amid allegations he lied about school diplomas.

Another former PM, and one-time pro-EU darling, Vlad Filat, was arrested on bribery charges last year.

Moldova, like Ukraine, has signed an association and free-trade treaty with the EU. It was also granted visa-free travel and had been seen as a front-runner in the EU’s Eastern Partnership project, designed to build closer ties with former Soviet states.

Part of the country - Transniestria - broke away in a civil war in the 1990s and still hosts a Russian arms dump and thousands of Russian soldiers.

It's in a strategic location, amid concerns that if Russia reignites fighting in Ukraine, it could try to connect Russia-occupied regions to Transniestria, cutting off Ukraine from the Black Sea.

EU diplomats say the Russia-linked unrest is similar to events in Montenegro, where protesters, also under an anti-corruption banner, have called for the country’s pro-Nato leader to go.


How to fix Moldova

The EU must help Moldova to deal with its current crisis, but "pro-European" forces who fail to fight corruption will not be tolerated, Lithuania's foreign minister says.


Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere