Moldova has Become a Geopolitical Battleground between Russia and the West

Moldova has Become a Geopolitical Battleground between Russia and the West

From the most impoverished European nation to one of the unhappiest places on earth, Moldova has attained no shortage of dubious milestones in its brief post–Soviet history.In 2000, the World Bank characterized Moldova as a “captured state,” one in which the levers of government are held hostage to powerful private interests. Moldova’s political dysfunction is, at least partly, the result of deep-seated social cleavages. The population remains sharply split between two mutually exclusive developmental paths: integration into western institutions with the eventual goal of EU accession, or joining the emerging Russian sphere of influence through membership in the Moscow-chaired Eurasian Economic Union.Over the past decade, Moldova has become a geopolitical battleground between Russia and the West. The former is represented by the Moldovan Socialist Party (PSRM), while the pro-Western ticket has long been split between a colorful cast of self-declared, pro-European parties.But Moldova’s standard order of business was turned on its head when, for the first time since the Crimean annexation of 2014, Brussels, Washington, and Moscow united to block an upstart oligarch from seizing the reigns of government after months of parliamentary deadlock following an inconclusive election. What does Moldova’s 2019 Constitutional Crisis have to teach us about great-power cooperation in the post–Cold War era?

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