Bargaining one trouble for another. Whose interests are noticeable in Dodon’s drift to terminate the Chisinau International Airport concession agreement?
Termination of the Chisinau International Airport concession agreement has become the bee in the bonnet of the Moldovan President Igor Dodon. It is he who is the driver of this legally doubtful process. He has employed all of his political influence, all the available state mechanisms to achieve this goal. It has been quite a few times that the President’s Security Council had its meetings on this “topical” issue. The core of declarations made by Igor Dodon, like the ones in the Security Council, and the numerous interviews and press-conferences, leave no doubt: he is willing to take away the airport from the investor, at any cost, writes eureporeter.
Whatever it takes
In his public statements, Igor Dodon is diligent in forming loyal public opinion on this matter. In particular, he is calling up on doubtful figures, according to which the investor not only did not invest a penny in the development of the Chisinau airport, but also either has already gained, or is about to gain a billion Euro. Both the specialist and everyman will find these figures absolutely fantastic. A simple common comparison would be enough to realize that quite an amount of investment has been indeed ploughed into the airport. The Chisinau International Airport is currently one of the dynamically developing enterprises of the Republic of Moldova. Over the years of concession with “Avia-invest”, it underwent enormous modernization and transformation. It covered the interior, logistics, the runways and technical equipment. Construction of the parking ramp has stripped the territory next to the airport terminal. The capital investments are plain to see. The passenger flow has increased sharply. The Chisinau Airport has been officially recognized as most dynamically developing specialized enterprise in the CIS. Tax payments have increased sharply. The state, as the owner, started gaining more profit. What damage to the state is Dodon talking about?
The president’s stand could be referred to the wish to take it out on Ilan Shor, whose interests looked through the activity of the concessionaire company. Shor caused a lot of trouble to Dodon, by sharing revelations of their relationship, when Dodon was an up-and-coming politician, and Shor – one of the biggest businessmen in Moldova. But after Avia-invest was purchased by the offspring of one of the richest and influential families in the world – Nathaniel Rothschild, the reason for personal revenge should have taken backseat. But the change of owner of the concessionaire company for the Chisinau Airport did not change anything. Dodon keeps pressurizing the government agencies, demanding termination of the concession.
Nothing stops him, neither the Rothschild’s plans to invest mindbending money into the airport’s development, not the thing that in case of termination of the concession agreement, he will sue the Republic of Moldova. It is well known that on equal terms at court with the Rothschilds could be only the Rockefellers. Moldova is doomed in this lawsuit. Apart from appalling financial losses, that will have to be incurred as compensation, it will also cause irreparable damage to the international image of the state. Moldova will be set in the pillory. But even this obvious perspective does not stop Igor Dodon. There should be some explanation to that, lying outside the parapolitical rhetoric on “national interests”.
Once ours, now yours
Some light was shed on the president’s mysteriously excessive efforts in relation to the airport by the publication made by economic analyst Cristina Petru in “Intellinews”. According to her, the Dodon’s incompatible with reason persistence in the matter of concession termination is related to the fact that the president promised to pass it over to some Russian businessman. The analyst expressed confidence that the Moldovan President will do everything to terminate the airport concession agreement, even at the cost of paying significant forfeit from the state budget. In this, Petru makes reference to Dodon’s statement made for the Russian media, saying that the airport should be returned to the state and the Republic’s authorities are willing to negotiate with any interested investors, including Russia.
Hardly anyone can explain what makes Rothschild worse than any conventional “Ivanov”. Everyone understands that Rothschild as an investor is richer and more reliable. As far as the enterprise’s development and state’s interest are concerned. As to Igor Dodon’s interests, the situation becomes diametrically opposed. He has two obvious reasons, at least, to pass the Chisinau Airport into the hands of Russian entrepreneurs.
First, the political reason. It is no secret that the political project of Igor Dodon was funded from Russia. During the June crisis, every citizen of the Republic of Moldova could confirm that. In a recording made during Dodon’s negotiations with the former leader of the Democratic Party Vlad Plahotniuc, that became public, the president talks about that quite openly. He claimed it to Plahotniuc that Moscow was investing one million US dollars monthly into the Socialist Party. It is clear that those transactions were not made from the budget of the Russian Federation. Most likely, the Kremlin assigned a sponsor to Moldovan socialists and Dodon from the posse businessmen. Now it is high time to pay back the debts. An indirect proof of this inference could be the leak to the Russian press. According to that, Russian holding “Novaport” has serious plans for the Chisinau Airport concession and is waiting for a tender to be announced by the Moldovan government. This statement was made by the co-owner of the holding, Roman Trotsenko, on the sidelines of the Board meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. By the look of “Novaport” absorbing more and more airports in Russia, the holding is close to the Kremlin. By some accounts, its lobbyist is said to be the head of the National Company “Rosneft” and the former head of President’s administration Igor Sechin. There is a good chance that he is also one of the beneficiaries of the “Novaport” holding. Now it becomes clear. But that might be just one of the reasons that makes Dodon press for the termination of the Chisinau Airport concession.
One more reason rests in the economic interests of the family of Igor Dodon. As known, the president’s brother, Alexandr Dodon has recently become partner in two big commercial projects of the son of the Russian prosecutor, Igor Chaika. One of them is related to development, the other – treatment of industrial, including radioactive, waste. It should be noted, that Igor Chaika showed interest to organization of mining farms for the production of cryptocurrency in the territory of unrecognized Transnistria. The cynicism is that Chaika was up to gaining profit from the … enormous debts of the region’s energy sector to his own country, Russia. Sure, the cheap power needed for bitcoin mining is cheap just because Transnistria does not pay for the Russian gas consumed for the purpose of its generation.
It is just impossible to imagine that the son of the Prosecutor General of Russia could not find anyone better to involve in the superlucrative commercial projects than an unknown Moldovan entrepreneur. The main value of Alexandr Dodon, who hardly paid any financial investment to cover his 10% share, is his being the brother of one small and poor country. In fact, this is a hidden form of bribe offered to Igor Dodon. What for? Let’s say, for the possibility to gain managerial control over a modernized and profitable enterprise in the territory of the Republic of Moldova – the Chisinau International Airport. The party share could also be ensured here. Russian businessmen, even being the children of Prosecutor General, have a very good understanding of the word “kickback”.
And what about “ACUM”?
This is exactly why Dodon is forging ahead like a Russian tank, blazing through everything in his path, in the effort to take away the airport from Western investors and pass it over to Russian entrepreneurs. He is very good at manipulating his coalition allies from “ACUM”. Not least because the head of the special parliamentary commission for the investigation of high-profile privatization incidents, a representative of the Prime-minister’s Maia Sandu’s party, Igor Munteanu, has been making statements on this issue that are quite in line with the President’s plans. Hence, the imminent scandal, losses at international courts will nail not only Dodon and his political formation, but also the whole of the Moldovan ruling coalition. And the all too probable transfer of rights to the Chisinau Airport concession to a Russian company will leave an indelible slur, first of all, on the pro-Western government of Maia Sandu.