Mihail Sirkeli: In 30 years, Gagauzia’s public space was purged of courageous people

Ilan Shor has a questionable development model for the Gagauz autonomy, believes the journalist Mihail Sirkeli, according to whom the team of the new governor decided to invest “dirty money” in Gagauzia, while cutting all ties with Chisinau and Moldova’s development partners.

The Gagauz journalist Mihail Sirkeli says that the new leadership of the autonomy, controlled by the fugitive politician Ilan Shor, is aware that Gagauzia is completely isolating itself and tries to promote the idea that the autonomy can rely on Shor’s personal money for development.

“Shor and his clique are proposing the following model to the Gagauz people: ‘You won’t see ambassadors or central authorities coming here anytime soon. But fear not, I will give you as much money as you need’. So, basically a crook comes and tells us that he wants to replace the investment made by the government and the international partners with an influx of dirty money, money stolen from the Moldovan people. This is not a sustainable development model. This model has apparently been accepted by the local community and the political elite as well. Even if there are some People’s Assembly members who do understand the gravity of this, they are incapable or lacking the courage to call things out. In 30 years, Gagauzia’s public has been purged of courageous people. Only opportunist, compromise-prone politicians survived”, Sirkeli said during a public affairs program on Vocea Basarabiei.

By taking over Gagauzia’s leadership, Sirkeli added, Shor gained access to important public revenues and control over the autonomy’s public broadcaster.

“Gagauzia’s 2023 budget is 1.4 billion lei. Of this amount, 300 million lei is own revenues from taxes that are collected here and remain in the local budget. In addition, money comes through various national programs such as the European Village. The 300 million lei obtained from own revenues represents an amount greater than what Shor already controls in other administrative units, including Orhei municipality, Taraclia city and a handful of villages. Moreover, Shor gained control over the regional public broadcaster, as one of his lawyers recently became Teleradio Gagauzia’s executive director. And Shor will surely use this to his own advantage”, said Sirkeli.

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