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Moldova

Access and Accountability

Members

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Representative Alcee L. Hastings

Chairman

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

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Senator Roger Wicker

Co-Chairman

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

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Senator Ben Cardin

Ranking Member

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Representative Robert Aderholt

Commissioner

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Member

U.S. House of Representatives

Witnesses

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Ambassador William H. Hill

Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies

Former Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova

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Tatyana Margolin

Regional Director, Eurasia Program

Open Society Foundations

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Valeriu Pașa

Program Manager

WatchDog.MD

Presidential elections in Moldova are quickly approaching. However, the country’s self-proclaimed “technocratic” government has yet to demonstrate a departure from the country’s post-Soviet history of grand kleptocracy and political strife. Moldovans have demanded greater access to the global economy through European integration, yet some political leaders are pivoting East with substantial security implications for the enduring frozen conflict in the breakaway territory of Transnistria. To this day, Moldovans demand accountability for the more than $1 billion siphoned from Moldova’s biggest banks between 2012 and 2014. However, key former political leaders implicated in this and other crimes are alleged to have escaped international sanctions, notably, ousted oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, who is allegedly at large in the United States.

The U.S. Helsinki Commission convened the hearing to explore the societal fissures, security implications, and governance challenges at stake in the Republic of Moldova.

Commission Chairman Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20) chaired the hearing and was joined by Commissioner Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), a member of the U.S. delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

Chairman Hastings’ opening remarks addressed the existing conditions in Moldova under pro-Russian president Igor Dodon and affirmed U.S. support for stability and democracy in Moldova.

“We hope to see Moldova reach its potential as a European nation of prosperity and the rule of law, rather than just another post-Soviet country under the thumb of Moscow,” he stated.

The hearing exposed Moldova’s existing struggles with corruption and Russian influence and highlighted opportunities for the United States to support Moldova’s democratic aspirations.

Ambassador William H. Hill, Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies and former Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, emphasized continuing problems of corruption in Moldovan institutions, security issues regarding Russia and Transdniestria, and the role of the U.S. and the EU in supporting Moldova.

Although he explained that Moldova has “strayed into a familiar pattern of cronyism, political reprisals, and geopolitical posturing,” Ambassador Hill expressed hope for progress.

Tatyana Margolin, Regional Director of the Eurasia Program at Open Society Foundations,  highlighted the resilience of Moldova’s civil society and the lack of public trust in the government. She also called for free and fair elections, for criminal justice reform, and on the U.S. to find Plahotniuc and bring him to justice.

Valeriu Pașa, Program Manager at WatchDog.MD,  testified to the problems of corruption and the absence of justice in Dodon’s administration.

“Judges, prosecutors, as well as other officials are easily drawn into supporting illegalities,” leading the government to be highly incompetent, he explained.

Pașa voiced his support existing U.S. sanctions under the Magnitsky Act and asked that the U.S. impose tougher sanctions on corrupt low-profile Moldovan officials.

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Hearings

Russia’s Alpine Assets: Money Laundering and S...

Jul 18, 2023

Switzerland has for years been a primary destination for Russian money laundering and, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a weak link in Western sanctions enforcement. This Helsinki Commission hearing examined Switzerland’s poor track record of rooting out dirty Russian money and examined potential paths forward for U.S. policymakers in persuading Switzerland to uphold its […]

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Press Releases

Hearing: Supporting a Democratic and Secure Moldova

Jul 06, 2023

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 2:00 pm Cannon House Office Building, Room 210 Live stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm-R6rfQbCo In recent years, Moldova has enacted numerous reforms under current Moldovan President Maia Sandu to strengthen its democratic institutions, combat corruption and kleptocracy, and integrate with the European Union. In 2022, the European Union granted Moldova “Candidate” status in its […]

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Press Releases

Chairman Wilson and RM Cohen Mark Third Annual Count...

Jun 16, 2023

WASHINGTON—Today, Helsinki Commission Chairman Joe Wilson and Ranking Member Steve Cohen, Co-Chairmen of the Counter-Kleptocracy Caucus, marked the third annual Counter-Kleptocracy Month. “Foreign corruption and kleptocracy is the main reason that we face a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine today. It is the way that the Islamic Republic of Iran sustains itself. It is the […]

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Press Releases

Helsinki Commissioners Announce Re-introduction of C...

Jan 25, 2023

On Tuesday, Helsinki Commissioners Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Joe Wilson, and Senator Ben Cardin re-introduced the Combatting Global Corruption Act in both the House and Senate, along with Rep. Bill Keating, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar and Senator Todd Young. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation formally designates combatting global corruption as a key U.S. national security concern. It would require […]

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Press Releases

Co-Chairman Cohen Calls for the Release of Political...

Aug 09, 2022

Washington – On the second anniversary of the sham presidential election in Belarus, the Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman and OSCE PA Special Representative on Political Prisoners Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) issued the following statement: “Two years ago today, Belarus’s autocrat Aleksander Lukashenko put up a show of an election that he had hoped would legitimize his […]

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Publications

Helsinki Commission Digital Digest July 2022

Jul 29, 2022

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Publications

HELSINKI COMMISSION DIGITAL DIGEST JUNE 2022

Jun 30, 2022

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Publications

Helsinki Commission Digital Digest May 2022

Jun 01, 2022

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Briefings

Putin’s Bribetakers and Warmongers

May 19, 2022

The Helsinki Commission was briefed on 6,000 bribetakers and warmongers identified by Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation.

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Press Releases

Helsinki Commissioners Lead Bipartisan Ask for Biden...

May 12, 2022

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD), author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and Chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), along with Helsinki Commission Ranking Member Senator Roger Wicker (MS) and Commissioners Senators Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) are urging President Joe Biden to publicly sanction […]

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Briefings

Russia’s Swiss Enablers

May 05, 2022

Long known as a destination for war criminals and kleptocrats to stash their plunder, Switzerland is a leading enabler of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and his cronies. After looting Russia, Putin and his oligarchs use Swiss secrecy laws to hide and protect the proceeds of their crimes. Close relations between Swiss and Russian authorities have […]

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Publications

Helsinki Commission Digital Digest April 2022

Apr 29, 2022

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