Today, Moldovan President Igor Dodon officially refused to hand over the land of the former Republican Stadium in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau for the construction of a new US Embassy.

“Today I signed an official refusal to promulgate a law on handing over the site of the former Republican Stadium for the subsequent construction of a new US Embassy building,” Dodon announced on Facebook.

“Like the majority of the country’s citizens, I believe that a park or cultural center should be built on the site of the former stadium which can be used by all residents of Moldova,” the President added.

US representatives said last December that the US was planning on buying the former Republican Stadium land, after which Washington and Chisinau authorities signed a corresponding memorandum. The Moldovan parliament approved the transfer of the massive tract of land in July, and the Moldovan government pledged to determine the costs and conditions of a contract over the course of negotiations.

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This development is a telling example of the political conflict that has engulfed the halls of power in Chisinau. Igor Dodon, who was elected President in 2016 in an unprecedentedly direct, popular election, has repeatedly battled the undermining of his authority by the Moldovan government and parliament, which are controlled by the notoriously corrupt oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc and his Democratic Party.

Dodon was elected on a popular program envisioning the strengthening Moldovan sovereignty, improving ties with Russia, and seeking a peaceful resolution to the frozen conflict in the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, or Transnistria, where Russia has peacekeeping forces stationed under existing agreements with Moldova.

Dodon has attempted to parry numerous “coups” against his presidency by pro-NATO, pro-US, and other political forces entrenched in the Moldovan establishment, such as the “unionists” who advocate Romania’s annexation of Moldova.

Dodon’s official presidential veto of the handing over of the Republican Stadium property to the US is not only a symbolic defiance of his opponents, but is also an extremely sensitive practical measure, as US Embassies are synonymous with the funding and organizing of destabilizing “color revolution” forces across the post-Soviet space – the very same forces and actors which have attempted to undermine Dodon’s presidency since the very beginning.

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