Moldova maintains for years a top position as the poorest state in the world. The country is also a leading state in organ and human trafficking, and illicit cigarettes and uranium trade. Now, Moldova is among the states that are most affected by the coronavirus, even though the country’s population is continuously decreasing.
For example, 13,575 retirees had only one solution to request a re-examination for an increase in the pension. The retirees, who are at high risk to get infected with the new type of coronavirus, had to go personally to the territorial offices of the National Social Insurance House (CNAS), which led to an increase in the number of infected people among retirees, this week.
In June 2020, Moldova was among the world states with a continuously increasing number of people infected with COVID-19. Meanwhile, the healthcare system was already overwhelmed. In June 2020, people over the age of 50 were mostly on the list of COVID-19 deaths. On July 1, 2020, thousands and thousands of retirees left their homes to wait in crowded lines in front of the CNAS offices.
After activists and journalists reported the problem, CNAS issued a press release on July 4. The authority said that between July 1-4, 6,000 retirees have already filed re-examination requests for an increase of the pension. However, the other about 7,500 didn’t file the requests, so the only option for them will be to go and stay in crowded lines in front of the CNAS offices.
We cannot know the number of retirees, who will get to the hospital with COVID-19 without a chance to survive and receive their increased pension after these events. However, we also cannot deny the problem.
In Moldova, retirees are the most at risk to coronavirus, but they also face poverty and judicial abuses.
To understand why a Moldovan retired person leaves the house during a pandemic and heatwave to stand in line in front of the CNAS office, requesting a pension recalculation, we must understand how poor they are. After recalculating the pension, it can be increased from one euro to 10 euros. This pension supplement is vital for many.
“I was in the marketplace. I know it’s risky. But there the cherries are around 1 euro (18 lei) and at the store next to the house around 1.5 euros (25-30 lei). The difference is big for a retired person,” the famous actress Eugenia Botnaru explained to me on the phone on July 6, 2020.
For decades, she worked and blissed-out tens of thousands of people with her performances. She was one of the founders of the national theater in Moldova. She spent a lifetime traveling to Moldovan villages and towns, enduring cold, hungry, but she contributed towards raising the level of culture and art in Moldova’s villages.
However, the state gave her a pension that puts her in front of two choices every day – to leave the house or to endure. Both situations are a risk, a big risk. Pensions are low. Prices are high. Pressures are enormous.
In the case of the 13,575 retired persons, the authorities could postpone the procedure for submitting applications, adjusting the regulations in the interest of the retired persons. The authorities could adjust the filing regulations, allowing an electronic submission for the applications, and creating a scheduled line. Subsequently, those who do not have the opportunity to submit documents in an e-format can schedule a meeting, avoiding congestion.
But the government didn’t care, so it did nothing. And after more people revolted, the government decided, in one day (on July 8), that applications could be submitted through the power of attorney (retirees have to go to the notaries to pay money for powers of attorney).
But before the decision came, almost all the retired persons managed to come to CNAS offices in person. They stood there in line and submitted the applications. Maybe next year, they will be able to buy the 1 euro cherries per kilogram in Moldova, which is an agricultural state and for which the retired persons worked their all lives