Thursday, April 25, 2013

How a boar hunt gone awry toppled Moldova’s government and might bring back communists

Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat. (VADIM DENISOV/AFP/Getty Images)  

Two days before Christmas last year, a group of about 30 men, including several senior government officials, set out for a quiet boar hunting trip in a nature reserve in Moldova, the tiny former Soviet republic and Europe’s poorest country. Their ill-fated trip ended with the death of one of the hunters — a 41-year-old businessman mistakenly shot by one of his hunting friends — and eventually, according to a Reuters report, the collapse of the Moldovan government.

The Moldovan prime minister, a former businessman named Vlad Filat, saw political opportunity in the businessman’s death. Filat has been struggling to push through reforms that would enable his country to more closely integrate with Europe, his signature agenda item, but has faced some opposition. Perhaps hoping to paint himself as an enemy of corruption, he accused one of the government officials on the hunting party, Prosecutor General Valerii Zubco, of hunting without proper permission and attempting to cover up the businessman’s death.

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