The Moldovan Parliament has annulled the report on the alleged interference of the Open Dialogue Foundation into internal affairs of the state. On 2 February 2023, MPs of the ruling Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) recognized that the report was being used as an intimidating tool against the opposition, and the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Mihail Popșoi, called it a disgrace in the history of Moldovan parliamentarism.Download resolution
In August 2018, the then ruling Democratic Party of Vladimir (Vlad) Plahotniuc accused the Foundation (and Lyudmyla Kozlovska personally) of hostile interference into Moldova’s internal affairs by supporting the opposition parties, the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS)and Dignity and Truth Platform (DA), and their leaders, Maia Sandu (the current President of Moldova) and Andriy Năstase. Oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, the leader of the Democratic Party dubbed the ‘Owner of Moldova’, who stood behind these attacks commissioned a special parliamentary inquiry commission.
The commission produced a report published on 17 December 2018 on the alleged actions undertaken by us in agreement with the then opposition against Moldova. The report also accused the Open Dialogue Foundation of acting in Russia’s interests and money laundering. An investigation was launched on the basis of the report by the politicised Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organised Crime and Special Cases.
At that time Bartosz Kramek, the Chair of the Board of the Open Dialogue Foundation, wrote in Gazeta Wyborcza: ‘The Moldovan investigative commission was set up in response to the conference organised by us in the European Parliament in Brussels in May 2017, devoted to political persecutions in Moldova. This event was co-organised by several MEPs (including Anna Fotyga from the Law and Justice (PiS) party). The conference was also attended by leaders of the Moldovan democratic opposition, and we, being the inviting party, bought their plane tickets. And this was the fabled “illegal funding of opposition parties’.
When the Law and Justice (PiS) government deported my wife Lyudmyla Kozlovska from Poland in August 2018, Moldova’s rulers decided to capitalise on this political conjuncture and batter their domestic opposition as well as our Foundation, portraying the purchase of air tickets for conference guests a year earlier as an illegal international funding of a political party and interference, by the Foundation, in the country’s internal affairs.
According to reports by independent opposition media in Moldova, Poland apparently cooperated with the country’s diplomacy and services, thus in fact supporting the work of the investigative commission there. Therefore, we made a request for public information to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in response the Ministry distanced itself from the policies and actions of the Moldovan government. The Polish embassy in Chișinău also discreetly attempted to minimise the reputational damage by conveying, as late as in autumn of 2018, its repentances to Moldovan opposition leaders.’
In Poland, the Law and Justice party (PiS) and pro-government media exploited the Moldovan report to further accuse the Foundation of acting for the benefit of Russia and to call for its delegalization. In April 2019, the situation was even debated as a special subject on the itinerary of two parliamentary commissions. After the shift of power and Plahotniuc’s flight from the country in 2020, the new Moldovan Prosecutor General’s Office closed the pending investigation on account of it being politically motivated. On 1 February 2023, a draft resolution authored by Mihail Popșoi to annul the report was registered. The following day, the resolution was voted upon and won the support of 59 MPs from the PAS party.
‘We remember this foul affair of 2018, during the period of the takeover of the state. It is a stain on the conscience of not only of the previous government, which had no conscience at all, but also of Moldovan parliamentarism,’ said Popșoi.
‘Plahotniuc is not in power, and yet his repressive tools, such as the annulled report and the propaganda have remained as an instrument of wielding influence. I am grateful that the independent Moldovan parliament has restored justice,’ commented Lyudmyla Kozlovska for the Moldovan Radio Free Europe.
About the case in the media:
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Moldova dismisses the report slandering Kozlovska and Kramek’s Open Dialogue Foundation (6.02.2023)
- RFE/RL: “Plahotniuc’s repressive tools”: Lyudmyla Kozlovska comments on the annulment of the report against the Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF) (3.02.2023)
- RFE/RL: “Intimidating the opposition”. Action and Solidarity (PAS) MPs withdraw the report on the Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF) (2.02.2023)
- Moldova has closed the political investigation against Lyudmyla Kozlovska (14.05.2020)
- Commentary on the Sejm committee meetings of 25 April 2019 and attacks of Law and Justice parliamentarians on the Open Dialogue Foundation (17.06.2019)
- “MFA did not collaborate with the Moldovan structures on the case of ODF” – the Ministry responds to the Foundation’s inquiry (4.03.2019)
- ODF asks the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs about cooperation with Moldova (15.02.2019)
- Moldovan parliamentary commission investigating ODF: open lies, attacks on the opposition and smokescreen for the government’s EU funds fiasco (21.11.2018)
Cover photo: euractiv.pl