Karl Haushofer wrote:To sum up this Russia vs. Moldova gas situation.
1. Earlier this year the previous contract between Moldova and Russia expired.
2. Gazprom wanted a new contract with a market price. Gazprom also wanted that Moldova pays its remaining debt from previous contract to Gazprom before new contract is signed.
3. Moldova refused Gazprom's request and accused Russia of blackmail. Russia was also accused by the West for abusing its dominant position as a gas supplier.
4. Due to this Moldova was facing an acute energy crisis.
5. So Vladimir Putin decided to intervene and he instructed Gazprom to sign a new contract with Moldova with a big discount. Moldova was not forced to pay back its remaining debt from the previous contract either before it signed a new contract with a discount.
5. And so Moldova got a nice gift from Russia in a situation where Russia had all the leverage and Moldova had nothing. You'd think that Moldovans would be grateful to Vladimir Putin, but no.
6. And now, after receiving this very generous gift from Russia, Moldova is still refusing to pay both the remaining debt of the previous contract and the gas received under the new contract with a big price discount.
The only rational party here is Moldova. They are abusing Russian president's childish and naive views about the former Soviet Union. They are going to keep their integration with the West while happily receiving free gas from Russia.
Of course Moldova will never be accepted as part of the Western core, but they could be something like Romania (an EU and NATO member) in the future. Moldova's political and economic elite have no desire to ally itself with Russia. The older generation with Soviet nostalgia is dying out so that ship has sailed.
But of course Moldova will continue to happily benefit from Russia's generosity as long as it lasts (as long as Putin is in power).
You are simplifying the situation
Yes the pro-Western leader won the election, but that's just the same cycle Moldova has gone through since 1991. A pro-Western leader followed by a pro-Russian one, and so on.
Neither have the support of the wider elite or population to decisively dominate over each other. Electoral sympathies sway from one to the other as each brings its own unique share of f*ck-ups each time they're elected.
What's more they're essentially in collusion, and counterbalance each other. This is inevitable. The pro-Russian lobby, which as I mentioned has the sympathy of half the population give or take, keeps the pro-Western one in check and not entering the EU, NATO or trying to blockade Pridnestrovie with the Ukraine. The pro-Western lobby in turn has enough power to prevent pro-Russian leaders from getting closer to Russia, and signing a re-integration deal with Pridnestrovie.
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe (well maybe now the Ukraine have edged them out), it cannot afford to pay for gas at its current market price. The price they ultimately agreed upon was $400 something per cubic meter, which amounts to a huge discount over the market price, but comparing to just two years ago, it would have been considered as an exceptionally expensive price for gas on a long-term contract. In other words Gazprom still stands to make a tidy profit.
Of course the Moldovans are the ones who insisted on moving to spot prices with European backing in the first place just a year and a half ago, but the point is that at that spot price Moldova wouldn't be able to pay for any gas, it will simply freeze, and Gazprom wouldn't get any money in that case either. Moreover, the industrial interests of the pro-Russian forces in the republic would take a massive beating and Russia wouldn't win any popularity points for sure.
The optimal strategy at the moment is to postpone the debt for now, and offer a discount. This way Gazprom gets to sell some gas, while the interests of the still popular pro-Russian lobby are guaranteed, as is their continued place in Moldovan politics. Thus the Western vs Eastern political deadlock there will continue, but this is also the optimal outcome for Russia at the moment. Russia has nothing to offer Moldova in terms of economic integration while the Ukraine is still hostile. The Maidanists have to be thrown out of Kiev first, before any movement on the Moldovan front can take place. Until then, it's enough to just keep Moldova from drifting into the Western camp.