Moldova Descends Away from EU

Moldova has not had an easy road in the wake of the Soviet breakup; yet over the last few years, the country has painfully reformed and shown that it is ready to join the European Union, and leave the absurdity and chaos of its Soviet days behind.

That effort may have come unraveled.

“There was a direct link [with the killing] because I always said that when a crime is committed – and in this case there were two crimes: a killing and a cover-up – we cannot close our eyes, especially when the prosecutor general is involved,” Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat told the EUobserver in what should have been a summary of ordinary law enforcement, but is instead the prologue to the dissolution of his government and the rise of a pro-Russia communist voting bloc.

In the EUobserver’s summary:

Filat says he lost a no-confidence vote last week because he asked the prosecutor general to resign after he tried to cover up an accidental killing on a hunting trip at Christmas. …

The prosecutor, Valeriu Zubco, was part of a group of some 30 people who went on an illegal hunt in the Domneasca Forest natural reserve on 23 December.

It is unclear whether he or another hunter, appeals court judge Gheorghe Cretu, accidentally shot and killed the 34-year-old businessman, Sorin Paciu.

But the prosecutor was forced to step down after it emerged he did nothing to report the killing to authorities and hid his weapon.

Filat’s demand that the prosecutor step down triggered a vendetta by the prime minister’s coalition partner Democratic Party, who believed Filat was attacking them by proxy. (The Democratic Party nominated Zubco for his post.) The Democratic Party then demanded a vote of no confidence, in which they were joined by the Communists; and just that simply, Moldova’s reforming, EU-oriented government fell over a hunting accident.

Beyond the concerns over how the government will fare are larger ones about what this means for the rule of law in the small former Soviet dominion. The EU has pressed for Moldova’s entry into the transnational community and held it up as an example to its neighbors of the effort of and rewards for EU membership.

That plan appears to be endangered. But worse by far is the certainty that politics in Moldova has now backslid to the point of tribal warfare and personalized policy disputes, even with larger concerns in play.

It is a sad day for Moldova. Any observer of the Soviet wreckage must hope that they can climb out of this mess of their own making.

Image By Вени Марковски (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.