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The Color of Theft: Billion Dollar Bank Heist in Moldova

Billion-dollar thefts don't even raise an eyebrow in places like Wall Street, but they are much more impactful in places like tiny Moldova

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This article originally appeared at The Unz Review


In a series of murky deals last November, the top three banks in Moldova – one of them state-owned – loaned out vast sums of cash to unknown recipients.

As the article points out, it is one-eighth of Moldova’s GDP. It is also:

  • About $350 per citizen
  • Four months worth of wages for every working Moldovan
  • Almost a third of total annual government expenditure

Sure, one billion, five billion, etc. every so often vanish from Pentagon accounts; but the US economy is incomparably bigger. Adjusted for scale, this would be like if some unknown guys were to steal $2 trillion dollars.

Here is an 84 page pdf report on this from the US investigative firm Kroll.

To add insult to injury, this news is only doing the rounds in the Anglo media one year after it blew up in the Russian and Romanian media. All in all, it is hard to imagine a more succinct anecdote of Moldova’s irrelevance and ineptitude.

This single operation might have even contributed to the depreciation of the Moldovan Leu. This is in the context of an economy that is Europe’s poorest and still 30% below per capita output in 1990.

But the point isn’t to laugh or cry over Moldova, that’s easy (much easier than with Kazakhstan at any rate). Instead, I wish to point to a few salient facts about Moldova:

It had a color revolution – called the Twitter Revolution – in 2009, in response to allegedly falsified parliamentary elections. Here is my writeup on it from back then.

It failed to topple the Communist President Vladimir Voronin outright. (Incidentally, just as with Yanukovych, Voronin was never even pro-Russian in the first place despite the nationalist pro-European opposition’s fervent claims to the contrary: “Although seen as pro-Moscow upon first being elected, he opposed Moscow’s settlement plans for the breakaway region of Transnistria in 2003 and shifted West, declining to attend the 60th anniversary to the victory over Nazism in Moscow in 2005, dropping support for the Common Economic Space (a proposed free trade zone in some countries of the former USSR) and focusing more on Euro-Atlantic integration.“)

Failing to appoint a new President – Voronin had served his full two terms, and the three pro-Western parties were in no mood to cooperate – new parliamentary elections were called in June 2009. This time, pro-Western parties managed to get a majority, and have ruled the country in coalitions ever since.

So essentially, what you had was:

  • Six years and counting of rule by pro-Western, pro-EU integration governments
  • Uninterrupted EU cajoling for “reform
  • No Communists or socialists in government
  • An Association Agreement with the EU from 2013

And yet they still managed to carry out what is perhaps the most impressive heist per unit of GDP of the 21st century.

Maybe their downfall was that they were insufficiently anti-Russian?

I am sure some pundit or other in the respectable mainstream media would make that argument, if anyone there knew Moldova even existed.

The real lessons would appear to be:

1) Eastern Europeans gonna Eastern European. You can’t do much about that. The corruption there is engrained socially and maybe even biologically.

2) Democracy doesn’t appear to do much good, and revolutions and what the high priests of Atlanticism call “reform” – if anything, the reverse.

3) Countries cursed with excess numbers of liberals and “svidomy” will insist on repeating the experiment only to be disillusioned over and over again. Ukrainians already had one color revolution, they decided they needed another. As anybody with even a smidgeon of common sense or realistic cynicism could have predicted, nothing has changed. Well, apart from one less Crimea, Neo-Nazis running loose, and an average wage that is now almost twice as small as Moldova’s.


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