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Jeffrey Goldberg

Putin Adversary to Obama: We Need You

Earlier this month, I spent an afternoon trying to imagine what it might be like to be prime minister of Moldova.
Iurie Leanca has one of the more difficult jobs in Europe. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg
Iurie Leanca has one of the more difficult jobs in Europe. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Earlier this month, I spent an afternoon trying to imagine what it might be like to be prime minister of Moldova. I was, at the time, sitting with the actual prime minister of Moldova, which made my task easier, though not by much: being prime minister of Moldova means acknowledging the essential powerlessness of your country.

The prime minister, Iurie Leanca, is a slim, youngish man, 50 years old. He's suave in a way that -- based on my recent, thorough exposure to other Moldovan politicians -- is unusual in the corridors of power in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital. Some of the politicians I came across still appeared to be wearing the boxy, shiny suits that they bought (subsidized, I hope) when Moldova was part of the Soviet Union.