Headline November 12, 2016/ ''' EUROPE'S.... *POOREST* ....COUNTRY '''


....COUNTRY '''

SO, RIGHT ACROSS THE SPECTRUM I went, asking 17 students, if they had ever heard the word Moldova?

My somewhat random sampling covered students at all levels and of all varying  disciplines: O and A levels, BBA's, MBA's, BCS and  on and on. Only two had heard the word Moldova.

And they couldn't point out Moldova on the Atlas/Map. So much so, for just about everything.

Wedged between Romania, a member of the European Union and NATO, and Ukraine, Moldova and its beautiful and kind people, just cannot be ignored.

Moldova's  collapse could undermine the fragile  *stability* of the entire region.  

IN 1991 there were 4.3 million people in the country. Now, say analysts, there could be fewer than 3 million left.

Among the emigrants main destination are Russia, Romania and Italy.The proportion of old people and children is growing and workforce is shrinking to a soggy disaster.  

IN MOLDOVA : The shenanigans of a tiny group of politicians and businesspeople  in  *Europe's  poorest  country*  are never ever going to make headlines elsewhere.

But if they turn their sorely  ill-governed state into a failed one,  that could change very fast. 
The country is  ''a ticking time bomb*,   says Alina Inayeh, the head of the Black Sea Trust,  an  organization  that  promotes  regional co-operation.   

If it blows up, says a minister who asked for anonymity, ''people will come on the streets and Russia will capture Moldova.''

On October 29th last, a coalition of so-called  ''pro-European'' parties collapsed after the arrest of Vlad Filat, a former Prime Minister and party leader, Ilan Shor, a businessman and politician, claimed that-

Mr. Filat had extorted $260 million in bribes from him. Mr. Filat denied the claim.

Mr. Filat is one of the country's two main warring tycoons-businessmen, but many see his arrest as selective justice. 
His arch-rival, Vlad Plahotniuc, controls other main ''pro-European party.

''The justice system is practically in the hands of one party and person,'' laments the minister. 
Mr. Plahotniuc emphatically denies having anything to do with the arrest.

During the country's previous general election campaign last November, Moldova was hit by a bombshell.

A leaked report revealed that up to $1 billion, equivalent to more than... one-eighth of the country's GDP, had been stolen from three banks. 

It named the  28-year-old  Mr. Shor, an Israeli born financier  who is one of Moldova's richest man, as being at the centre of a web of companies connected to the heist.

Mr. Shor denies any involvement. the government trying and failing to stave off the banks' collapse, pumped in money, leaving Moldovans whose average salary is $200 a month, to foot the bill,

*According to the  *Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project*, a watchdog, the banks were a part of the scheme which, in the seven years up to 2014, laundered $20 billion of Russian money using a British shell company and a Latvian bank account*.

Although nobody had been convicted by right through the end of 2015, of any crime, Moldovans are seething with rage that their political leaders did not see fit to police the banking system better. 

A recent poll found that 79% thought that their country was heading in the wrong direction, up from 47% in September 2014.

Nearly 70% said that their households were worse-off than a year ago. If elections were held now, parties claiming to be ''pro-Russian'' would win. 

Analysts are divided on whether they have any ideological convictions, as opposed to campaigning for wherever they see the best return on their investments in politics. 
But the same goes for their ''pro-European'' counterparts.

Maia Sandu, a former education minister with a strong record of cleaning up corruption in schools and a possible future prime minister, says bitterly-

That hard pressed professionals made sacrifices to work for tiny public-sector salaries-
And then find the rest of the team is stealing a  *billion-dollars.'' 

With respectful dedication to the People, Students, Professors and Teachers of Moldova. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and Twitter-!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Fighting Miseries '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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