Those who do not follow the events in this country but want to learn more the best option is to read the book by Aaron Miller “Moldova Under Vladimir Plahotniuc: Corruption & Oligarchy” published by Studio Igal Rozental, Ltd.
While Washington and Brussels policymakers view Ukraine as the main stage for the West’s ongoing proxy war with Russia, Ukraine’s smaller, poorer neighbor, Moldova, also remains in a geopolitical tug of war. Unlike Ukraine, whose current president Petro Poroshenko has made clear his intentions to divorce Kiev from remaining political and economic ties to Moscow and move Ukraine forward on a westward path toward future NATO and EU membership, Moldova’s de-facto leader, Vladimir Plahotniuc, continues to play both sides of the fence, making overtures to both the West and Moscow. Through manipulating both Russia and Washington/Brussels, Plahotniuc has enriched himself, consolidated his base of power through ruthless actions, and, as a result, kept Moldova impoverished in a geopolitical “gray zone.”
In Aaron Miller’s heavily sourced investigative book “Moldova Under Vladimir Plahotniuc: Corruption & Oligarchy,” the author pulls back the curtain of Moldova’s political machine to reveal details of one man’s quest to control all sectors of power in Europe’s poorest country. While much of Miller’s reporting could fill the pages of a Hollywood script, especially details related to the suspicious deaths of individuals linked to cases involving Plahotniuc, the systematic silencing of Plahotniuc’s political and business rivals through Moldova’s corrupt judicial system, Plahotniuc’s use of “death squads” to intimidate witnesses, and his reputed rise from local pimp to billionaire racketeer, the reports of the shadowy oligarch’s alleged role in a $1 billion theft from four major Moldovan banks should have raised more red flags in Washington than it has.
The heist, amounting to 40 percent of Moldova’s state budget and 12 percent of the country’s GDP, was the “theft of the century,” according to Miller. In an interview published in the book with the former deputy head of the Moldovan National Anticorruption Center’s Division for Preventing and Combating Money Laundering, Mihail Gofman told the author “everybody in Moldova knows that Vladimir Plahotniuc is the man behind [the theft of $1 billion].” However, through a carefully crafted image over the years, thanks to the services of the Podesta Group, the now defunct and disgracedWashington lobbying shop, Plahotniuc charmed Washington’s power brokers and the Obama Administration welcomed him with open arms.