“Moldova is again at a critical inflection point,” said U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power. “There is monumental pressure and challenges stemming from Russia interference and Russia’s war on Ukraine.”
Indeed, for years, Russia has been undermining Moldova’s government, backing separatist forces, and fomenting unrest with an eye toward installing a Moscow-friendly regime there, much as it has tried to do in Ukraine and Georgia. However, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, these efforts backfired spectacularly. According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is helping to consolidate Moldovan society in favor of EU integration and emancipation from Moscow.”
“The last thing Russia wants to see is integration into Europe that the United States has backed Moldova to pursue,” said Administrator Power.
“Moldovans have shown great resilience in the face of Putin’s aggression. They have generously hosted more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees – more per capita than any other country in Europe – even as Vladmir Putin limits their gas supplies and funding politicians who seek to keep Moldova firmly within Moscow’s orbit.”
“Despite these challenges, President [Maia] Sandu is leading an extraordinary charge toward democratic reform, economic growth and reorientation toward western markets, and she is also pursuing with USAID support energy independence and diversification,” said Administrator Power.
Historically, Moldova has been dependent on the Russian economy. Nonetheless, in recent years, the European Union has been Moldova’s main trading partner.
“Supporting Moldovan goods and access to new markets, helping industries and business be more competitive, strengthening local governance, building that local society – again those checks and balances no matter who the government is, checks and balances are necessary for us, and those institutions have been built with USAID’s support,” said Administrator Power.
“Twenty-five years ago, two-thirds of Moldovan exports went to Russia; today more than two-thirds of Moldovan exports go to Western markets. And that those trendlines are only going to continue, and that, we hope with time, is going to end the brain drain and draw many Moldovans back to Moldova to make their contributions back at home.”
“Freeing Moldova from the grip of Russian interference … absolutely is something that USAID has contributed to, and the United States contributed to,” said Administrator Power. “Ensuring that every Moldovan who grows up has the ability to find a livelihood, and a life, and the kind prosperity the people of Moldova deserve.”