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Albania’s leading opposition party, the Democratic Party of Albania (DPA), has responded furiously to allegations by the publication Mother Jones that the DPA enlisted suspicious Russian support in the run-up to the country’s parliamentary elections last year.
In a press release, the DPA launched a counter-attack, stating that its rival, the ruling Socialist Party, had paid Mother Jones to “forge facts,” Mother Jones says. The San Francisco-based magazine is known for its progressive views and investigative reporting.
In an investigation published on Tuesday, Mother Jones traced the steps of Nick Muzin, a former Trump campaign aide, hired by an obscure Scotland-based company named Biniatta Trade to lobby for Albania’s DPA in Washington.
According to Mother Jones, Muzin was paid $500,000 to, among other things, set up meetings for DPA leader Lulzim Basha with several U.S. congressmen. He also arranged for Basha to be interviewed by the American right-wing news site Breitbart.
Basha, who campaigned for the 2017 elections as “Albania’s Trump,” complete with the slogan “Make Albania Great Again,” also managed to get his photo taken with the U.S. president.
Biniatta Trade was set up by two Belize-registered companies, which were in turn apparently controlled by Russian nationals – hence Mother Jones’s presumption that the scheme is another example of Russia’s meddling in foreign elections, in this case to support a party opposing the pro-EU, pro-American Albanian Socialists.
The DPA maintains that it “has not had nor does it have any direct or indirect link with Russian individuals or companies,” as cited by The Associated Press.
The Russian embassy in Albania’s capital Tirana responded on Wednesday, calling the allegations “absurd” and “deeply regrettable.” The embassy stressed that “unlike a number of Western states, Russia firmly adheres to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, including Albania.”
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The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.
This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes.
It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.