Eastern Europe Top 10 December 21st

Compiled by: Hristo Voynov and Kristijan Fidanovski


  1. The Moldovan ambassador to Russia was called back to Chisinau after what Moldovan officials claim is “increased incidence of persecution of Moldova’s officials and politicians by the Russian state institutions”. This decision was taken by the Foreign Ministry, which is currently led by the pro-EU wing of the Moldovan government. The most notable case is Vlad Plahotniuc, one of the wealthiest Moldovans and the chairman of the ruling Democratic Party of Moldova, was charged in absentia for a murder in London, dating back from 2012. Moldovan President Igor Dodon, leader of the pro-Russian side of the Moldovan government, is unfazed by this and will soon be meeting Putin in Moscow. Plahotniuc recently announced plans to change 7 ministers in the government, and Dodon agreed to accept the resignation but said he would also reject the ones being proposed as replacements.



  1. A major political crisis seems to be in the making in Albania, as the police asked the prosecution to launch an investigation into 10 opposition MPs for obstructing the work of the police forces and injuring policemen in the process. This was preceded by an embarrassing parliament session on Monday, when opposition MPs exploded a smoke bomb, while one of them tried to throw a shoe at Prime Minister Edi Rama.



  1. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda told reporters that he plans to approve the judicial changes that have caused Poland much problems both at home and abroad. At a domestic level, massive protests were held because the opposition believes the changes would limit the independence of the judiciary branch of government, allowing the ruling party to pack the courts with its supporters. The governing party, Law and Justice, claims that the changes are needed to fix Poland’s ineffective and corrupt court system. Outside of Poland, the problems are even worse. The European Commission has triggered Article 7, which may lead to sanctions against Poland if the entire bloc deems that the country’s rule of law is at risk. Poland’s close ties to Hungary make this unlikely, as Hungary has promised to veto any penalties. This presents another major unprecedented hurdle for the EU, as article 7 has never been triggered and it is unknown what effect this would have on the working relationship of the European Union.



  1. Macedonia’s Special Public Prosecutor (SJO) launched seven new investigations into 17 people, mostly against former government officials for various abuses of power. Some of the suspects were already implicated in other investigations, while some other prominent suspects, such as the former ministers of health and agriculture are implicated for the first time. The SJO has opened a number of investigations, including against former prime minister Gruevski and his inner circle that are followed closely, but only one prison sentence has been handed down so far.


  1. Russia stated that its security services have stopped over 60 terrorist attacks in 2017. One such plot was just announced, as it was stopped with the help of the CIA, being touted on both sides as an example of how the two countries can work together, even when there is much tension between the two. Russia is a major target for the current jihadist movement, as it has been the main backer of Syria’s Bashar al Assad. Russian counter terrorism efforts include focusing energy on killing Russian citizens who left to fight in Syria before they manage to return to Russia.



  1. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s visit to Moscow culminated in an announcement that Russia would be willing to join the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue to balance the U.S. influence. This followed Serbia’s vote against a UN resolution denouncing Russia’s behavior in Crimea, which was supported by all other Balkan countries.



  1. Mikheil Saakashvili, Former Georgian president and governor of the Odessa oblast in Ukraine, has refused to cooperate with the prosecutor’s office in Kiev, where his presence was requested. His supporters have been actively agitating for President Poroshenko’s resignation, including attempts to storm the October Palace, a cultural center in Kiev. Saakashvili wrote a letter to Poroshenko, admitting he has made mistakes but expressing desire to move on to a new phase between the two for the sake of peace. However, this letter was not taken seriously by Poroshenko’s office, possibly because doing so might risk legitimizing Saakashvili’s actions.


  1. Milorad Dodik, the Republic of Srpska (RS) representative in the tripartite Bosnian presidency, stated that the RS would never agree for Bosnia to join NATO. Dodik added that the RS would block the activation of NATO’s Membership and Action (MAP) plan, which the other two members of the presidency are hoping to activate by the end of the year. The MAP, a support package for improving defense capacities that has served in the past as a preliminary step towards NATO accession, was jointly agreed by the tripartite presidency in 2009.


  1. Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz made a strong statement in blaming Russia for the 2010 plane crash that killed the then Polish president along with many members of the government. This was in response to Vladamir Putin’s claim that Russia may return the plane to Poland under the condition that it stops its investigation into the crash. The first investigation deemed the crash to be caused by technical errors on the Polish side, but a new report from earlier this year blamed it on a mid-air explosion. This comes alongside news that three formerly high ranking Polish intelligence officers were arrested for their ties to Russian foreign intelligence.


  1. Bosnia’s Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Denis Zvezdic, announced a likely delay in the country’s submission of its EU Questionnaire, which was supposed to be submitted by the end of the year. The questionnaire is an important preliminary step in the accession process and is usually followed by a candidate member status a few years later. Measurable breakthrough in the accession process is essential for the country, given that support is falling both in Republika Srpska and in the Federation; in the Serb-majority Republika Srpska, it has dropped to a mere 56%.


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.