The Moldovan Parliament has annulled the report on the alleged interference of the Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF) in Moldova’s internal affairs. MPs from the ruling party Action and Solidarity (PAS) expressed that the 2018 report was adopted to intimidate the opposition parties (PAS was one of the parties listed in the document).
The Poland-based Open Dialogue Foundation and its President Lyudmyla Kozlovska found themselves at the centre of a political scandal in Moldova in 2018. The former Democratic Party, which was in power at that time, accused ODF and Kozlovska of allegedly interfering in Moldova’s internal affairs by supporting the opposition parties Action and Solidarity (PAS) and Dignity and Truth (DA), which formed the ACUM bloc. Furthermore, the Democratic Party claimed that PAS and DA received funding from ODF and failed to declare it.
The Parliament set up a special commission to investigate the Open Dialogue Foundation’s activities. The commission concluded that the Foundation had allegedly been “lobbying the interests of criminals from the CIS countries”, including Vyacheslav Platon. The report claimed that ODF acted at the request of the Russian secret services and that Kozlovska lobbied in various European institutions for the adoption of documents targeting Moldova and containing criticism of the Chisinau authorities. For example, Kozlovska allegedly supported the adoption of the “Magnitsky Law” and the inclusion of the leader of the Democratic Party, Vladimir Plahotniuc, in the sanctions list. Soon after, the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organised Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS) opened a criminal case against Kozlovska.
Kozlovska claimed that she was engaged in human rights activities and that the Moldovan authorities were trying to intimidate her. She said that the Prosecutor’s Office was “subordinated to Plahotniuc”. In their turn, PAS and DA leaders Maia Sandu and Andrei Năstase stated that they “can prove the legality of the origin of each ban in the budget”.
Why did the PAS MPs cancel the decision
PAS MP Mihail Popșoi registered a draft decision to cancel the report on 1 February. In an explanatory note, he said the report was “persecution of opposition political parties” and that PCCOCS had closed the case against Kozlovska, recalling that in 2019 the Moldovan parliament (Party of Socialists and ACUM bloc) had adopted a declaration on the “state capture”.
Popșoi said that Moldova is still monitored by the Council of Europe and that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has “repeatedly condemned political persecution in Moldova”. The MP stressed that the Promo-LEX organisation examined the financial reports of political parties for 2017 and 2018, and found that there was no information on funding by the Open Dialogue Foundation.
At the parliamentary session dated 2 February, Popșoi called the decision to annul the report “belated”, as “It should have been adopted long ago”. Popșoi called the report itself falsified and said that it proves that “state institutions were used as a political bat against the opposition”.
“We remember that stinky scandal of 2018, during the period of the state capture. It is a stain on the conscience not only of the previous government, but also of Moldovan parliamentarism,” he said.
MPs had no questions about the draft decision. It was backed by 59 PAS MPs. Opposition representatives were not present in the session hall; they left the session when parliament was prolonging the state of emergency.