|Igor Dodon and Metropolitan Vladimir of Moldova. Photo Facebook/Igor Dodon|
President Igor Dodon announced on Monday evening that Moldova will host in September the annual meeting of the World Congress of Families, a US-based umbrella organisation of international groups supporting conservative social values.
“We are bringing together people around the world to discuss the beauty of the family,” Dodon said.
The World Congress of Families’ stances include defending traditional marriage, opposing abortion, and condemning anti-discrimination measures intended to protect people of all sexual orientations.
Speakers at the Congress usually blame the West for moral degradation and destroying the meaning of the traditional family.
The main sponsors of World Congress of Families are Konstantin Malofeyev and Vladimir Yakunin, two conservative Russian oligarchs with close ties to the Kremlin who finance Russia-friendly and Christian Orthodox initiatives in former Soviet countries and in the West.
Moldovan media reported last summer that Dodon met Malofeev in Athos, Greece, in August 2017, and asked him to finance the event in Chisinau, and also asked for the Russian Patriarch Kirill to attend the event.
Malofeyev’s business partner, Aleksei Komov, is on the World Congress of Families’ board. Yakunin’s wife, Natalia Yakunina, is the head of one of its member groups, the Sanctity of Motherhood, according to Radio Free Europe.
The annual meetings of the World Congress of Families have repeatedly caused controversy in recent years.
In May 2017, it was held in Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban attended and gave a populist speech.
Croatian and Serbian right-wingers also participated in the Budapest event, with the leaders of conservative Croatian NGO In the Name of the Family and Serbia’s anti-EU party Dveri both attending.
Georgia hosted the Congress in May 2016, where local organiser Levan Vasadze, an anti-gay businessman, argued that the country should rebuild relations with Russia after Moscow’s troops staged a brief invasion in 2008.
A recent US Congressional report claimed that Russia is aggressively targeting countries in Central and Eastern Europe that want to join the EU and NATO.
The report said that in Moldova, high-ranking priests “worked to stop the country’s integration with the European Union” – leading anti-gay protests and even claiming that the EU’s biometric passports are satanic because they have a 13-digit numerical code.
Dodon did not specify where he will get the funds to stage the event, but said that “external donors” will cover the costs along with a charity foundation, From the Heart, which is run by his wife.