Moldova, A “Hijacked” Country

Corruption and political impotence have transformed the small Moldova into a serious threat to the entire European continent.

The Slum of Europe

Moldova has been a destitute country due to its steep decline after the end of the communist Soviet system. For example, tiny Moldova was an important wine supplier to the Soviet Union, which covered almost a fifth of the Earth’s surface.  Moldova, which is not even as large as North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, was one of the most prosperous countries of the former Soviet republics. However, that was a long time ago. For over twenty years, the country has been in economic freefall.

Moldova has become the poor neighborhood on the outer border of Europe. An entire generation grew up there without parental care because their parents were forced to earn their bread for their family abroad. Tens of thousands of women and mothers sold their labor or their bodies, in order to keep their families alive. This resulted in a disease that arose in Moldova, called the “Italian syndrome”: Moldovan women who had been exploited for years as cheap labor for around the clock nursing care in Italy returned to their homes completely spent, with severe psychological damage.

ISHR Section in Moldova

The chairman of the Moldovan Section of the ISHR completed her academic career after the breakup of the Soviet Union and dedicated her life to the democratic construction of her homeland. With great enthusiasm and dedication she founded, registered, and built a section of the ISHR. The human rights work of the Moldovan Section ran at all levels: legal advice for the poor (about 20,000 documented cases), humanization of the prison system, support projects for women, rights education for AIDS patients, implementation and monitoring of laws in the field of human rights, humanitarian aid, legal education, construction of civil society and more. The Section has given the ISHR in Moldova a big name, and we have supported this with our best efforts.

Photo, Many pensioners receive pensions below the poverty line and are unable to pay the bills for electricity and heating. There have been cases where people froze to death in their own homes.

For years now, the Moldovan Section no longer reported only on the traumatic humanitarian situation of their country, but also of the political catastrophe.

The ISHR Moldovan Section has issued warnings to European and international bodies for years; despite this, they all praised the direction of European political democratic development in Moldova.

The Section warned Europe against the promotion of the Association Agreement with Moldova. Why?

Photo, ISHR Moldova: “After Fila(s)t – Plathotniuc to jail” (Vlat Filat, former prime minister was arrested in October 2015 relating to the disappearance of one billion euros from the Moldovan banking system; Vladimir Plahotniuc, leader of the Democratic party and oligarch, is suspected as the real mastermind behind the theft billion)

Political Chaos – A Hijacked Country

The Section repeatedly reported corruption at all levels, from “pseudo-democrats” that use EU grants for their own wallets, to ever greater poverty, to human rights violations of a traumatized country, such as persecution of NGOs, police mass persecution (one in ten citizens!) , abuse and torture in prisons, total legal arbitrariness, lack of freedom of speech. She spoke of a “sachwatschennoj stranje”, a “captured state”, which cannot be easily translated into English; it literally means that all political spheres of influence were annexed by private interest groups, often oligarchic structures. In short: mafia groups dominate the country.

To complicate the annexation of influential positions and the annexation of entire territories (Transnistria and Gagauzia) within the already small Moldova, there are also external political power influences from Romania, Russia, and the United States.

The picture that the ISHR Section drew over the past few years was so bleak and so contrary to the European decision-making bodies, that it was difficult even for us to imagine, despite our trusting relationship with our sections and know the situation of the post-Soviet countries well (see also our documentation “human rights situation in the former Soviet Union” as a download on

Serious Threat for Europe

Unfortunately, not a word from the ISHR Moldova Section was an exaggertion. On the contrary, the last year revealed the full extent of the Moldovan disaster and could no longer be covered up or glossed over before European and international bodies.

Four changes of government and five prime ministers within a year, systematic bank fraud in the billions, kickbacks in tens of millions, and Mafia fights on the upper level, as well as a hungry, exploited, people without rights, with 3 million people at rock-bottom. From there, Moldova now barely manages with its last strength to shout from the streets for help.

The Moldovan disaster is becoming increasingly visible, for example, through cries for help which are heard and met. Thorborn Jagland, the former Secretary General of the Council of Europe, stated in the last year that Moldova had turned into a serious threat to the entire European continent. It is well known that the European Union currently has to manage many serious problems. This is certainly one of the reasons that the small Moldova was pushed into the background, which one would only so happily as European success experience have had, but rather caught everyone off guard with the scale of the disaster.

However, precisely because our small, poor neighbors are not noticed with appropriate due diligence, it is now even more important to respond to the cries for help from Moldova.

photo: wikimedia.commons
photo: wikimedia.commons
Michael Brand as support at the ISHR Youth Forum of the Eastern Partnership. December 2015. Photo: ISHR

Thanks to Michael Brand and his Team

With this background in mind, we would like to send a big thank-you to the Chairman of the German Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, Mr. Michael Brand, who un-bureaucratically and directly advocated for our ISHR Moldova Section and rescued it from an acute emergency.

Dr. phil. Carmen Krusch-Grün

Translated by: Caitlyn Crandell