Moldova’s gov’t hikes electricity rates 37%, keeps protest leaders in jail

November 9: Starting today, electricity will cost 2.16 – 2.23 leu* per kilowatt in Moldova.

One of the political forces which first rose against the tariff increase was the party Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc), headed by Grigory Petrenko.

Many people from all over the country who opposed a tariff increase joined in organized protests. That money would have gone into the pocket of [oligarch Vlad] Plahotniuc. The effect was obvious. Frightened by the protests, the authorities returned the rates to their previous levels. Indeed, recalculations were carried out for those who received bills with the new rate.

Afterward, many sat at home thinking that tariff increases would not affect them, and as a result, the rates have now increased, and the Petrenko Group, who fought for the rights of citizens to protest against rising prices, is in jail.

As a result, higher electricity rates will come into effect from November 9, approved by the National Agency for Regulation of Energy (ANRE) — which is under the political control of Plahotniuc’s party.

Based on the decision, confirmed by ANRE on November 6, Moldovan consumers will pay 37 percent more for electricity: 2.16 leu / kWh for the residents of central and southern Moldova, and 2.23-2.33 leu / kW for inhabitants of the north and northwest. Previously, Moldovans paid 1.58 leu and 1.71-1.73 leu respectively.

The Red Bloc activists have remained in jail since September 6. Furthermore, the order of preventive arrest against Grigory Petrenko, Mikhail Amerberg and Pavel Grigorchuk was extended for another 45 days, until December 20.

The arrest of the other four political prisoners — Alexander Roshko, Oleg Buzni, Andrey Druz and Vladimir Zhurat — was extended for another 30 days.

Given recent events, it begs the question — what will happen next?

Will we continue to sit at home, pretending that nothing is happening, that it will not affect us?

Tomorrow it could be any of us in the place of the Petrenko Group, so it’s important to act in support of them, to demand the immediate release of all detainees!

Below, we present a series of videos of the protest movement against the tariff increase, which was organized by Red Bloc:

Rally at the walls of the ANRE and Plahotniuc’s home – Liberty Township tent city!

Grigory Petrenko about Liberty Township:

And here is the authorities’ response to the peaceful protest:

Despite the forceful dispersal of the tent camp, the protest movement did not stop.

On September 6 at 12:00, at the Academy of Sciences in Chisinau, a People’s Mobilization was organized, which brought together hundreds of protesters from the capital and all over the country who opposed the actions of the authorities,

The protesters’ demands were as follows:

1. Cancel the new predatory tariffs for electricity and natural gas;
2. Arrest Plahotniuc and bring to justice all those involved in the theft of a billion leu from the banking system;
3. Depoliticization of the security forces and resignation of their leadership;
4. Release of the captured government institutions and suspension of the Democratic Party (PDM) as an organized criminal group.

Speech by Grigory Petrenko:

Again, the government decided to use repression. The leader of the opposition party Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc), former MP and honorary member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Grigory Petrenko was among seven protesters forcibly detained by police after the protest in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the attempt to set up tents on the sidewalk in front the institution for a peaceful, ongoing protest against the oligarchic regime.

All of them have remained in prison from September 6 to the present day.

Video footage of the authorities detaining peaceful protesters:


*Leu is the Moldovan currency ($1US = 20MDL)


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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