About Moldova Matters

This newsletter started as a side project in the late days of 2020 and early 2021. At that time I was hunkered down avoiding COVID like most of the world and realized that there was a major gap in English language coverage of Moldova. Courtesy of my day job (more on that below) I was well positioned to write about Moldova’s political and economic situation and provide context for whatever readers wanted to know about this small but important country.

Once I launched Moldova Matters in 2021 the pace of news and events in the country picked up pretty quickly. In Spring we had a constitutional crisis as President Sandu tried to force a parliamentary election, in summer we had elections, in fall we had Delta and later Omicron. In parallel Moldova went into the first energy crisis as Russia prepped the ground for its invasion of Ukraine… which then started in February 2022. The newsletter that I originally thought would be a good tool to make me disciplined about practicing my writing skills on a weekly basis found an audience as a lot more of the world tuned into the fact that Moldova does indeed Matter.

So each week I publish a Weekly Roundup of the main news and happenings in Moldova seeking to put them into context for my readers. Other articles come out on a sporadic basis either as I find time to write about important but under-covered topics, or as breaking news forces me to write some quick updates. Through it all I try to provide an unbiased look at the main events of the country, but it is not fair to say I don’t have a perspective myself. Moldova Matters is not opinion, and if I write analysis or give my own take I try and say so clearly. But I’ve lived in Moldova for more than 11 years. It is my home. So in questions of national survival (in particular Moldova’s relationship with Russia) I do have a perspective and readers should expect it to come through.

Who writes Moldova Matters?

This newsletter is primarily written and edited by me - David Smith. I grew up in Virginia and joined the Peace Corps after graduating with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech. Peace Corps sent me to Kazakhstan where I spent most of 2011 before the organization was forced to evacuate from the country. That’s a long story for another day but suffice to say it involved problems with the “northern neighbor” (*cough* Russia). After Kazakhstan I continued my service in Peace Corps Moldova from 2012 to 2014 where I worked in Community and Small Business development.

Following my Peace Corps service I stuck around Moldova and opened Chisinau’s first BBQ and Craft Beer pub called Smokehouse. We quickly made a name for ourselves not only because of the new food and craft beer, but because my co-founders and I set out to build and run a business without paying bribes or engaging in corruption. This proved to be rather challenging. In spite of an early attempt to deport us, and numerous (often very public) fights with corrupt officials, as well as dealing with bewildering bureaucracy, we managed to open and run the business without compromising our values.

In 2016, after realizing how challenging it was to run any company in Moldova, much less one that was honest, I co-founded the Moldova Small Enterprise Alliance or AIM. AIM is Moldova’s first and largest cross-sectoral association for SMEs. As the President of AIM, I work with our amazing team to advocate for policies that push back on the systemic causes of corruption and support modernizing the Moldovan business environment.

Along the way I’ve been involved in various other business ventures and am currently a partner at Labrewtory Brewing Company - Moldova’s first American-Moldovan craft brewery.

All this summary is just to highlight the perspective I bring to Moldova Matters. Through Peace Corps I’ve worked at a center for homeless children and within a local mayor’s office. I’ve traveled all over Moldova and have come to love and respect what was until recently a fairly quiet little piece of the world. I’ve seen corruption and stifling bureaucracy first hand. I’ve also seen an explosion of new businesses, civil society movements and new ideas over the last 11 years. For such a small country, Moldova is a vibrant and complicated place. My goal with this newsletter is to help people understand Moldova better and how the country and people fit into an ever changing region.

Contributors

Over the last few years I haven’t been the only author behind Moldova Matters and I welcome guest contributions from experts who can bring their knowledge and skills to the newsletter. Right now the main example of this is the Journo Birds team who publish articles through Moldova Matters as well as directly on their social platforms here: Medium, youtube or facebook.

If you’re interested in contributing an article, or just have comments, scroll down to find out how to be in touch!

How is the Newsletter Funded?

Moldova Matters is a reader supported publication. Content is free and open to all readers, but if you chose to subscribe you get extra access to periodic Q&A threads as well as other bonus content that I occasionally dream up. But at the core, subscribing is your way of supporting the work that goes into the newsletter - it only costs $5 / mo, the price of a nice cup of coffee and it goes a long way to supporting the work of this newsletter.

At this time Moldova Matters does not host paid advertisements or have other sources of revenue outside of reader subscriptions. If that changes in the future, I’ll update this About page in the interest of transparency.

Getting in Contact

If you would like to get in contact just reply to any Moldova Matters email or write to dave.in.moldova@gmail.com

Moldova Matters has been cited by the Washington Post and I have written for the Wilson Center and I periodically contribute to Euractiv. If you’re a journalist or editor interested in better understanding something going on in Moldova, or looking for a guest contribution, feel free to reach out anytime!

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Roundup of the latest news in Moldovan politics and economics

People

David Smith 

Originally from Virginia I've lived in Moldova since 2012, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer, later as an entrepreneur and small business owner. I write about Moldovan political and economic news to help explain to people why Moldova Matters.