Former U.S. ambassador warns Moldova moving closer to Russian orbit

In a commentary published on Morning Consult Tuesday, Ned Siegel, the former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas and the United Nations, warned that Moldova is stepping away from being an independent European nation, and is growing closer to Russia and Vladimir Putin. 

“[Russian President] Vladimir Putin has made no secret that he aspires to return Russia to a position of global power, similar to the glory days of the Soviet Union,” Siegel wrote. "Toward that end he has engineered efforts to disrupt and discredit Western democracies like the United States and United Kingdom, while aggressively intervening in former Soviet states to bring them under his control.”

Titled “The Next Cold War is Upon Us,” the article highlights Moldova President Igor Dodon sharing his admiration for Russia and for Putin’s government as the main reason Moldova could transition into a more Russian-influenced political system. This, along with Putin’s admiration of Dodon, concerns Siegel.

Ahead of his address at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Dodon announced Monday that Moldova will ditch its anti-Russian beliefs. 

“President Dodon is being honest in his efforts to reunite Moldova under the influence of Russia, something the previous government tried so hard to fend off,” Siegel told American Security News. “I fear for the good people of Moldova who deserve the chance to be prosperous and free from Russian oppression.”

Siegel’s commentary noted that Moldova Prime Minister Maia Sandu advocates for “a more open and democratic government” along with establishing close relationships with the European Union and other Western countries.

Siegel cautions, however, that no one should be confident in Sandu’s vision just yet.

“Sandu has done an excellent job of portraying Moldova as moving toward the West," he told American Security News. "However, when you look at the actions of her coalition partner and the president of Moldova, you cannot reconcile the two. How can Sandu, with a straight face, sell to the U.S. or any other Western nation that Moldova is truly on a path to Western democracy when her partner in government is so overtly rebuilding the bridges and ties to Russia? ... I have to believe that the brilliant people who work (for the) UN (and) the US government can see through the hypocrisy.”

In addition, the few remaining Jewish communities in Transnistria, a former region of Moldova, are desperately seeking to remove themselves from their poor and harsh lifestyles. Siegel hopes to see Western allies come up with solutions to both oppressions.

“The oppression the Putin regime is forcing upon the Jews of Russia and Transnistria should be a lesson to the world of the oppression that will come upon the freedom-loving people of Crimea and Moldova unless the West does something to stop it,” Siegel said.

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