Anti-corruption protests in Chişinău: A Moldovan Maidan?
5 May 2015
On 3 May, thousands of people took to the streets in Chişinău to denounce the corruption that reigns in Moldova (40,000 according to the protest organisers, 10,000 according to the security services). The participants in what Ziarul Naţional has dubbed a “Moldovan Maidan” were calling for the government to account for the disappearance of a billion dollars (just over €873 million) held by the country’s three major banks, BEM, Banca Socială and Unibank.
The disappearance was revealed by a report published by American risk consultancy Kroll following a secret audit undertaken at the request of the National Bank of Moldova (NBM). The amount represents an eighth of Moldova’s GDP, as the Chişinău-based daily notes, and was lent to unidentified borrowers. The parliament refused to force the governor of the NBM to reveal their identities, who took cover behind banking confidentiality.
With just a few weeks before the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, where Moldova was hoping to ease its passage into the EU (Moldova signed an association agreement with the EU in June 2014), this scandal has come at the wrong moment for a country looking towards Europe. “I am Molova, robbed of a billion dollars” writes Nicolae Negru in his editorial.
He observes that while the government and the parliament have been prevaricating over the affair, civil society has been preparing more demonstrations for the days to come –
because the dominant feeling at the moment in our society is not so much hatred or revolution, but rather disgust.