Dumitru Ciubasenco, candidate with modest incomes of controversial businessman Renato Usatii

Victoria Dodon
18/10/2016
Dumitru Ciubașenco și Renato Usatîi, la CEC Foto: facebook.com

Dumitru Ciubasenco, candidate of Our Party for presidential elections dated 30 October, decided to put an end to his journalistic career of 30 years and decided to get involved in politics. "I changed my profession. There is no going back", says Renato Usatii who has been flirting with several parties since 2009. If he is elected president of the country, he promises early elections and building the “fourth Moldovan Republic ". Ciubasenco reported a modest income though he lives in a two-storey villa in a suburb of Chisinau, and he spent millions of lei for electoral activities within two weeks of campaigning. 

Dumitru Ciubasenco (53) is a journalist by profession and has over 30 years of experience in the media. He was founder and editor in chief of publications "Republica" and "Moldavschie Vedomosti" and he has been manager of newspaper "Panorama" since 2009. Journalists from RISE Moldova have previously  reported that although the SRL "Periodical Publication Newspaper ПАНОРАМА", owner of the newspaper with  the same name, has changed ownership several times, Ciubasenco has always owned half of the business. Journalist’s partner is Petru Burduja, councilor in the Municipal Council Chisinau  from the Party of the Socialists (PSRM), led Igor Dodon, candidate for the seat of president of the state. 

Dumitru Ciubasenco   has been among the ten journalists of the year in the Republic of Moldova in 1999, 2002 and 2003, and was awarded by the Center for Investigative Journalism and the Press Freedom Commitee. Also, Ciubasenco has worked for the press agency „Reuters” for many years. When the candidate of the faction „Our party” enrolled for the presidential elections, he decided to quit press. „I changed profession. There is no going back”, he said.  

He is an ardent opponent of the "oligarchic regime introduced by Plahotniuc" and claims that his first decree, if he is elected head of state, will  be dissolution of Parliament and organization of early elections. Subsequently, he plans to build "the fourth  Moldovan Republic",  after the Moldovan Democratic Republic 1917-1918, the republic in the soviet union and the Republic of Moldova after the USSR collapse.

Ciubasenco's political broadcast:

Renato Usatii about Dumitru Ciubasenco: 

"For the first time after many years, a politician outside the system, one of us, participates in the elections and has chances to win. He cares, protests and cries halves, he has never been MP, minister or politician. He did not participate, he was not member. He was not suspected of illegal actions. He is a direct and obvious danger for the group that considers itself invincible. Dumitru Ciubasenco speaks unequivocally that he participates in elections just to destroy the bandits. He knows how and he will do it ."

Failed attempts to accede the Parliament and denial of the Order of the Republic 

The candidate for presidential elections was on the lists of many political parties over the last years. In 2009, he  was Liberal-Democratic Party’s candidate  in the early parliamentary elections, but he did not accede the Legislative, he  ranked 25 . 

Also, in 2009, the journalist was awarded the Order of the Republic by the then acting president Mihai Ghimpu, "for outstanding achievements in the protection of the freedom of expression, for considerable contribution to the process of national revival and promotion of democracy and human values". A year later, the same distinction was handed to Mikhail Saakashvili, then president of Georgia, and shortly Ciubasenco  renounced on the distinction, arguing that the leader of Tbilisi promoted an anti-Russian policy, which worsen relations between Chisinau and Moscow. 

Villa of Ciubasenco family, in Stauceni village Photo: Ziarul de Garda

"I renounce on this distinction in sign of protest against Saakashvili's award. I do not want to have the same distinctions as the person who backed Voronin in 2005, and now, before elections, he will pay a challenging visit to Moldova to support democrats, that triggered the war in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and promotes an anti-Russian policy", said Ciubasenco.

In parliamentary elections dated 28 November 2010, Ciubasenco was candidate on the  lists of the Humanist Party in Moldova (HPM) and he  was spokesman of this party. HPM was led by Valeriu Pasat, former Defense Minister  who was accused in 1997 of  damaging the state budget of 53 million dollars by illegal sale of 21 MiG-29 planes.

Ciubasenco’s  mother, a former nurse, was found dead in her apartment in November 2014. Forensic experts found signs of violent death on the body of the woman aged 75. A criminal case for premeditated murder was initiated to this effect. Shortly after, the suspect was arrested - a man aged 52, neighbor of the victim and who was consuming alcoholic beverages. The woman owed him some money. Prosecutor Igor Popa said then that the case has no connection with the journalist's professional activity.

Modest incomes and millions spent in campaign 

According to the statement on income submitted to the Central Election Commission, in the period January 2014 - December 2015, Ciubasenco  received 80,000 lei  from workplace and more than 34,000 lei from other sources (nearly 5,000 lei per month). Though he reported a modest income, family Ciubasenco owns a car, an apartment  with a surface of 79.5 square meters,  a garage in Chisinau and a villa  with a surface of 157 square meters in the village Stauceni that is not registered at Cadastre, writes Ziarul de Garda.

Also in Stauceni, Ciubasenco owns two plots of land. The candidate has  registered the share in the company that owns newspaper "Panorama" and in other inactive companies - "Argus" SRL and "Art-Image"  SRL.

 

Candidate Ciubasenco reported spending over 4.5 million lei for electoral campaign in the first two weeks of the campaign. Most of money, over 3.8 million lei, was used for advertising. He paid 2 million lei for electoral advertisements on TV. Other 100,000 lei were spent for meetings with voters and other electoral events.

According to the financial report, a sum of over 3.3 million lei of total income in campaign represents the donation of Our Party while 1.5 million is the contribution of 257 individuals.

This article was accomplished under the project "Shining a light on electoral transparency in Moldova", carried out by the Centre for Investigative Journalism, Center for Analysis and Prevention of Corruption and Ziarul de Garda, with the support of Freedom House.

Victoria Dodon
18/10/2016

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