Governor Evghenia Guțul: A Portrait of Pro-Russian Leadership in Moldova

Evghenia Guțul also known as Yevgenia Gutsul and Eugenia Guțul, is a Moldovan Gagauzian jurist and politician, who has functioned as Governor of Gagauzia since 19 July 2023. As Governor, she has pursued to have closer relations with Russia.

Gutul is blamed for channelling funds from Russia in 2019-2022 to fund the now-banned pro-Russian “Shor” party formed by Ilan Shor, an exiled pro-Russian businessman sentenced to fraud in Moldova. Gutul is known for her extremely pro-Russian views and for calling for closer ties with Moscow.

In her first successful speech after becoming governor, Guțul affirmed her preference to align the region closer with Russia. Guțul has built her political career as a pro-Russian activist. Guțul was backed in the elections by oligarch and party Chair Ilan Șor, lawmakers Marina Tauber and Reghina Apostolova, as well as several Russian entertainers and artists, such as Nikolay Baskov, Philipp Kirkorov, and Stas Mikhailov,  as well as Leonid Slutsky, the head of the Russian ultra-nationalist LDPR.

Guțul designated Sergei Ibrishim as the head of the Main Directorate of the Agro-Industrial Complex of Gagauzia, the governmental department in charge of agriculture and industry. A noted Russophile, Ibrishim personally composed a letter to the Kremlin demanding Russian intervention to allow Gagauzian goods to be sold in Russia at the same rate as that before Moldova’s withdrawal from the CIS in December 2023.

One of Guțul’s first actions in office was to perform a state visit to Russia, where she encountered Russian officials from March 1 to March 8, 2024. Guțul outlined three major economic policies that would be formed as a result of her visit, the first was a “special gas tariff”, independent from the tariff on Moldova, without input from Moldovan officials, circumventing sanctions placed on Russian gas companies. Secondly, Gagauzia, and its residents, would be integrated into the MIR payment system. 

Lastly, Gagauzia will have independent excise taxes and duties on Russian goods, without intake from the Moldovan government. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has considered this a form of “energy blackmail” against Moldova, as the lower tariffs would make it almost impossible for the Moldovan government to decrease dependence on Gagauzia’s four Gazprom natural gas power plants.

Guțul also announced that she was arranging a meeting with the notable Russophiles of Moldova, namely Igor Dodon, Vladimir Voronin, Ilan Shor, and the supervision of the Moldovan Revival Party. This quadrumvir of Dodon, Guțul, Shor, and Voronin, are, at the command of the Russian government, classifying into one singular opposition movement against the pro-European Party of Action and Solidarity to challenge the 2024 presidential and the 2025 parliamentary elections.

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