Russia to Provide Aid to Moldovan Farmers, One Month Prior to the Country’s Presidential Election

On September 28, during a videoconference with Moldovan President Igor Dodon, Russian President Putin announced that the Kremlin would provide immediate humanitarian aid of approximately $6.3 million (500 million rubles) to Moldova, specifically for the country’s ailing agricultural sector.

Although the amount of this aid is relatively small compared to previous tranches of Russian financial assistance offered to Chisinau, its timing and context are emblematic of Moscow’s inclination to keep Dodon, a pro-Moscow candidate, in power.  Dodon is up for reelection on November 1, running against Moldova’s former Prime Minister, Maia Sandu, who is largely viewed as a pro-EU candidate (and thus less favored by Kremlin interests).

Previously this month, Dodon indicated that Chisinau would continue renegotiating a $216 million, 10-year loan originally offered by the Kremlin earlier in 2020 as a contribution to Moldova’s COVID relief efforts. The loan was blocked by Moldova’s Constitutional Court, following vehement opposition from some lawmakers about the Kremlin’s intentions. The pro-Western bloc of the country’s parliament argued that the 10-year loan stipulated unfavorable terms for Moldova and was a veiled effort by Russia to interfere in the November 2020 presidential election. Foreseeably, an effort could be made to renegotiate the loan in time for the November 2020 election.

The latest $6.3 million offering is expected to be disbursed in the form of providing local agricultural enterprises access to a 10–12% discount on fuel purchases, specifically from Lukoil filling stations.