Analysis 01 Jun 17

Moldova’s Troubled Govt Acts Tough by Expelling Russians

The dramatic expulsion of five Russian diplomats looks like a bid by the faltering, unpopular pro-EU government to impress Brussels - and humiliate the pro-Russian President, Igor Dodon.

Ana Maria Touma
Moldova's Prime-Minister Pavel Filip.

The Moldovan government’s abrupt decision on Monday to declare five Russian diplomats personae non grata - which obliges them to leave the country - has angered Moscow as well as Moldova’s own pro-Russian president, Igor Dodon.

While the Prime Minister, Pavel Filip, said the decision was made based on solid intelligence, the move - a first of its kind - raises questions about what has changed in the eyes of the Moldovan government. Moscow diplomats have broken the rules many times before without incurring such stiff penalties.

Some analysts say the ruling Democratic Party, PD - whose authority has been undermined by corruption allegations - took the action to show that it remains the EU’s reliable partner, and to impress voters ahead of the 2018 elections.

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