The sanctions imposed by the United States against the fugitive oligarchs Ilan Shor and Vlad Plahontiuc will weaken the political arsenal available to the two. The ban on foreign currency transactions is a heavy blow to both politicians. The opinion was expressed by Mariana Kalughin, an expert with Transparency International Moldova, during a debate organized by IPN.
Last week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced sanctions against 9 individuals and 22 entities from Moldova and Russia, including widely recognized oligarchs Vlad Plahontiuc and Ilan Shor for capturing and corrupting the political and economic institutions of the country. Also, the sanctions list includes people who acted as instruments of Russian influence in Moldova.
“The decision can be challenged and people can be removed from the list, but I don’t know if they have legitimate hopes for that, because we are talking about people whose image is questionable at best. I saw Shor’s reaction, who said that he had no intention of visiting the United States anyway. Nevertheless, there is a prohibition on transactions that they make through banks under U.S. jurisdiction and on transactions in U.S. dollars. This is what is hurting them the most”, said Mariana Kalughin.
The next day after being designated by the United States, the former PDM leader Vlad Plahontiuc announced his intention to return to Moldovan politics. According to Plahotniuc, his goal would be to create a political team that would get the country out of the economic and energy crisis. Mariana Kalughin thinks Plahoniuc’s announcement is raises some suspicions.
“This announcement coincided with the imposition of sanctions and this left a bitter taste for me. Could it be that Plahotniuc’s 2019 departure was the motivated from the outside? Because previously it was rumored that Plahotniuc left immediately after having a meeting with the U.S. ambassador. He flew straight to the United States. Even pictures appeared confirming it. I hope that it was not part of a deal whereby Plahotniuc relinquished power in exchange for immunity. And maybe now that Plahotniuc has been stripped of this immunity, he decides to return to politics”, speculated Mariana Kalughin.
According to Mariana Kalughin, the inclusion of Plahontiuc and Shor in the U.S. sanctions list weakens the two’s ability to influence political developments in the Republic of Moldova.
“We will see to what extent he will return to politics. His profile does not allow him to be active in politics. These sanctions will further isolate the individuals concerned and this will weaken the arsenal of the two politicians. Although I am for diversity in politics. Current affairs prove to us that when power is concentrated in the hands of one political force, things don’t go very well in Moldova. Obviously, I would like a different opposition, a honest one”, said Mariana Kalughin.
The debate was the 265th installment of the “Political Culture” Series, run by IPN with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.