Banking: Is Moldova unreformable?
In 2014, a $1 billion bank fraud nearly bankrupted the tiny state. It came through in better shape thanks to reformist policymakers, an IMF bailout and the sale of big banks. But a Russia-leaning administration now threatens to undo those reforms.
A stall sells Putin merchandise in Chisinau, Moldova
To visit Moldova is to be presented with a stark reminder of the difficulty of genuine reform. Since declaring independence in 1991, the Republic of Moldova, a tiny sliver of a country squeezed between Ukraine and Romania, has struggled for cohesion, meaning and identity.
Since 1991, its population has shrunk by around a third. Around 2.7 million people remain, a quarter of whom live in Chisinau. Venture outside the capital and silence descends.
When Dmitry Pankin, president of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, a Greece-based multilateral, visited a winery in central Moldova, he saw that “all the lights in the villages were off.