The Color Of Theft

Someone stole $1 billion from Moldova.

In a series of murky deals last November, the top three banks in Moldova – one of them state-owned – loaned out vast sums of cash to unknown recipients.

As the article points out, it is one eighth of Moldova’s GDP. It is also:

  • About $350 per citizen.
  • Four months worth of wages for every working Moldovan.
  • Almost a third of total annual government expenditure.

Sure, one billion, five billion, etc. every so often vanish from Pentagon accounts. But the US economy is incomparably bigger. Adjusted for scale, this would like if some unknown guys were to steal $2 trillion dollars.

Here is an 84 page pdf report on this from US investigative firm Kroll.

To add insult to injury, this news is only doing the rounds in the Anglo media one month after it blew up in the Russian and Romanian language media. All in all it is hard to imagine a more succinct anecdote of Moldova’s irrelevance and ineptitude.

This single operation might have even contributed to the depreciation of the Moldovan leu. This is in the context of an economy that is Europe’s poorest and still 30% below per capita output in 1990.


But the point isn’t to laugh or cry over Moldova, that’s easy (much easier than with Kazakhstan at any rate). Instead, I wish to point to a few salient facts about Moldova:

It had a color revolution – called the Twitter Revolution – in 2009, in response to allegedly falsified parliamentary elections. Here is my writeup on it from back then.

It failed to topple the Communist President Vladimir Voronin outright. (Incidentally, just as with Yanukovych, Voronin was never even pro-Russian in the first place despite the nationalist pro-European opposition’s fervent claims to the contrary: “Although seen as pro-Moscow upon first being elected, he opposed Moscow’s settlement plans for the breakaway region of Transnistria in 2003 and shifted West, declining to attend the 60th anniversary to the victory over Nazism in Moscow in 2005, dropping support for the Common Economic Space (a proposed free trade zone in some countries of the former USSR) and focusing more on Euro-Atlantic integration.“)

Failing to appoint a new President – Voronin had served his full two terms, and the three pro-Western parties were in no mood to cooperate – new parliamentary elections were called in June 2009. This time, pro-Western parties managed to get a majority, and have ruled the country in coalitions ever since.

So essentially, what you had was:

  • A glorious color revolution.
  • Six years and counting of rule by pro-Western, pro-EU integration governments.
  • Uninterrupted EU cajoling for “reform.”
  • No Communists or socialists in government through this period.
  • An Association Agreement with the EU from 2013.

And yet they still managed to carry out what is perhaps the most impressive heist per unit of GDP of the 21st century.

Maybe their critical defect was that they were insufficiently anti-Russian? /s I am sure some pundit or other in the respectable mainstream media would make that argument… if anyone there knew Moldova even existed to begin with.

The real lessons would appear to be:

1) Eastern Europeans gonna Eastern European. You can’t do much about that. The corruption there is engrained socially and maybe even biologically.

2) Democracy doesn’t appear to do much good, and revolutions and what the high priests of Atlanticism call “reform” – if anything, the reverse.

3) Countries cursed with excess numbers of liberals and “svidomy” will insist on repeating the experiment only to be disillusioned over and over again. Ukrainians already had one color revolution, they decided they needed another. As anybody with even a smidgeon of common sense or realistic cynicism could have predicted, nothing has changed. Well, apart from one less Crimea, Neo-Nazis running loose, and an average wage that is now almost twice smaller than… Moldova’s.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Erik Sieven says

    by the way I often Moldavia in internet discussions about the refugee / immigration problem from subsaharan Africa to Europe. People always say: well maybe we should take in the refugees for now, but at the same time really start to better things in Africa. After this has succeeded there will be no future immigration. At that point I bring in Moldavia: a country with a population some thousand fold smaller population than subsaharan Africa, richer than most of subsaharan Africa, placed within in Europe and Europe has tried for years, or decades to improve the economical situation over there, and yet it still had not worked. How could it ever work for subsaharan Africa then?

  2. Anonymous says

    Reading the Wall Street Journal’s complaints about countries that need to “reform” and be more “open” leads me to believe that it’s just about letting foreigners control the government and media, plus buy up local cash cow industries, sit back, and let the greenbacks roll in.

  3. Hunsdon says

    Happy VE Day (Western version).

  4. Cliff Arroyo says

    Apparently one Ilan Shor, a Russian speaking Jew (born in Israel, not sure how or why he got to Moldavia) and married to a pop singer who goes by the name of Жасмин has been arrested…

    This should be so interesting that the media forgets all about it in a day or two….

  5. Anonymous says

    Anatoly, what are some good sources (either in Russian or English) about why Ukraine was such a broken, mess of a country before the war started? It seems like it’s what Russia would be like if the Yelstin years never ended.