Pro-Kremlin elements in Moldova’s anti-government protests are embracing aggressive tactics as they try to capitalize on public frustration with rampant corruption and disrupt the country’s Western integration efforts.
Two pro-Russian parties — the populist Our Party headed by 36-year-old businessman Renato Usatâi and the Socialist Party run by 40-year-old economist Igor Dodon — are coordinating the protests, which have ranged from dumping human excrement in public areas to blocking parliament. Despite frustration with the traffic jams caused by these groups in the Moldovan capital, Chișinău, their tactics seem to be paying political dividends: a recent opinion poll of 1,108 Moldovans by the CBS-AXA Centre of Sociological Investigations and Marketing showed that if early elections were held, the two pro-Russian parties would each receive nearly a quarter of the vote. In the same poll, no more than 10 percent of participants expressed support for the pro-European parties that comprise Moldova’s government.
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Through a copy-editing mistake, this story originally named the American PR consultant as Molly McFee. Her actual name is Molly McKew. The story has been corrected.