The following month in October, citizens in Moldova went to the polls and voted in Igor Dodon as president. This pro-Russian leader of the country’s Socialist Party has vowed to restore ties with Moscow by scrapping a trade deal with the EU and joining the Russia-dominated Eurasian Union. He also pledged to make Russia the destination of his first foreign visit and to protect the status of Russian language in Moldova and its schools. Moldova’s youth population (18 to 25-years-old) generally ignored the country’s first presidential elections in 20 years; only around 10% voted.
Chisinau, October 29, 2016 - Members of the Communist party attend a rally as they boycot the presidential elections. © Pierre Crom
Such results in these two territories – both of which lie outside EU and Nato blocs – may prove simply to be symbolic victories. Republika Srpska is a minnow in the global pond; Moldova is a parliamentary democracy and the president holds limited power (especially in comparison with the country’s shadowy tycoon and kingmaker, Vlad Plahotniuc).
Regardless, the votes are bound to fray European cohesion. They will have cheered, too, the Kremlin's power elite, who want to counteract Nato expansion and seek the removal of Western sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and covert invasion of eastern Ukraine.
Chisinau, October 30, 2016 - A polling staff waits to register voters during the presidential elections. © Pierre Crom
Chisinau, October 30, 2016 - Presidential candidate Igor Dodon casts his ballot during the elections. © Pierre Crom
Chisinau, October 30, 2016 - An election observer films a man suspected to be a fraudster after being caught when casting two ballots. © Pierre Crom
Chisinau, October 30, 2016 - Presidential candidate Maia Sandu arrives at a polling station to cast het ballot. © Pierre Crom
Chisinau, 2016 - Moldovan army soldiers stand guard at the World War II and Eternal Flame monument. © Pierre Crom
Comrat - Statue of Lenin in Comrat, a city in the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia in Moldova, where a large majority of voters vote for pro-Russian candidate Igor Dodon.
Calfa, November 13, 2016 - Polling staff wait to register voters at a polling station during the second round of the presidential election. © Pierre Crom
Chisinau, October 30, 2016 - Journalists wait in the Socialist Party 's head quarter for a press conference with Igor Dodon. © Pierre Crom
Chisinau, November 14, 2016 - Hundreds of protesters attend a rally against election's results. © Pierre Crom
Chisinau, November 15, 2016 - A police officer stands guard outside the Russian ambassy during a rally against the results of presidential elections. © Pierre Crom