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  1. Our good friends and Kremlin-controlled propaganda instruments independent journalists at Southfront have just produced a video about the developing situation in Moldova: Moldova is caught in the ongoing power struggle between Russia and the US-led West for control of the former Warsaw Pact. The US took major strides in expanding its influence with the 1997 addition of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary to NATO, followed seven years later by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Bulgaria. The expansion of NATO Eastward was particularly alarming to Russian leadership, and they claim violated an informal agreement they had with the United States that NATO would not expand. In the case of Czechoslovakia and Hungary, dissatisfaction with Russia was longstanding, and some Westward gravitation of certain former Warsaw Pact states was inevitable. The situation in Moldova is more complicated, however, where there is a pro-EU government nominally in control of the government, but a breakway region called Transnistria on the Ukrainian border that prefers closer ties with Russia: (I will give Tied a moment or two to wipe away his tears of joy and nostalgia) The situation in Transnistria is complicated by the civil war in Ukraine. Security in Transnistria is overseen by a joint force of Transnistrian, Russian and Moldovan forces. But Russia is on the other side of Ukraine from Moldova, and Ukraine has disallowed the transit of Russian peacekeeping forces to and from Transnistria. Additionally, the unclear legal status and porous border between Transnistria and Ukraine has made it an attractive base for gunrunners supplying weapons to the Ukrainian civil war. In the rest of Moldova things have not been going swimmingly either. A gigantic fraud and money laundering scheme has siphoned at least $2 billion from the Moldovan economy over the last ten years, which is enormous in a country with a GDP of less than $8 billion: Other forms of corruption are rampant, and the economy remains extremely backward compared to the rest of Europe. The GDP per capita of Moldova is less than half that of Albania's, for instance, and everyone knows how horrible and backwards Albania is. It is easy to see why there would be widespread discontent. The European Parliament has demanded that Russia cease its involvement in the growing Moldovan crisis, although exactly how this is supposed to work vis a vis Transnistria and what the hell they think they're going to do when the Russians do not listen is unclear. The Russian government is following the situation, but it is unclear at this time what their response will be.
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