Moldova’s pro-Russian president warns allies against ‘revolution’

Igor Dodon feuds with pro-EU government ahead of 2018 elections

Moldova’s president Igor Dodon takes his oath on the Moldovan constitution during his inauguration ceremony at the Republican Palace in Chisinau, Moldova. Photograph: EPA

Moldova's pro-Russian president Igor Dodon has urged supporters to refrain from "revolution" and wait for elections next year to oust the current government.

Moldova recalled its ambassador from Russia this week and accused Moscow of mistreating its diplomats, in retaliation to an investigation into how large sums of Russian money were laundered through banks in the state.

Earlier this year, Moldova expelled five of Russia’s diplomats and declared its deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin persona non grata, after he was prevented from attending celebrations in the Kremlin-backed separatist region of Transdniestria.

Mr Dodon has clashed with his government over several recent initiatives, including its bid to change the name of the nation’s state language from Moldovan to Romanian and an anti-propaganda drive that will restrict Russian media.


On Thursday he signed off on the sacking of several ministers but refused to approve their replacements, setting the scene for a repeat of an odd manoeuvre first seen in October. Parliament briefly suspended Mr Dodon to allow another official swear in a pro-western defence minister whom the president opposed.

Deepened divisions

The feud between Mr Dodon and the government has deepened divisions among Moldova's 3.5 million people, who are embroiled in an east-west geopolitical struggle that is being fought fiercely in neighbouring Ukraine.

“All these recent months, the regime has provoked us to launch a revolution,” Mr Dodon wrote on Facebook.

“There will already be elections next year, and the pro-presidential socialists will, according to all surveys, win. They are provoking us to make a mistake so they could remove the (party) from the election campaign,” Mr Dodon alleged.

“I do not a want revolution in Moldova because I have seen what it can lead to in other countries. So now I am calling our supporters to come together and prepare for parliamentary elections. (They) will be crucial: to be or not to be.”

Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Moldova has been pulled between Moscow and the West.

Mr Dodon criticises Moldova's 2014 association agreement with the European Union and favours deeper political and economic ties with Russia.

The popularity of the government’s pro-western stance has been undermined, meanwhile, by the poverty and rampant corruption that continue to blight the country.

Mr Dodon plans to visit to Moscow next Tuesday, and this week accused Moldova’s government of trying to “put our country at loggerheads and completely sever diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation”.

Transdniestria, the country’s main Russian-speaking region, has run its own affairs with Moscow’s help since breaking from government control in 1992. Russia still keeps about 2,000 troops there, despite agreeing to withdraw them by 2002.

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin is a contributor to The Irish Times from central and eastern Europe