(Read full article on time.com)
Natalia Gavrilița knows she is in a tight spot. It is, after all, the job of Moldova’s Prime Minister to project control, an easy calm, the sense that everything will work out fine. But Gavrilița also knows that the humanitarian fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is fraying the seams of her nation, which by some metrics is Europe’s poorest. So as we wrap up our interview in the capital, Chișinău, chatting before her nation’s tricolor flag with its embossed eagle motif, she double-checks herself.
“Perhaps I should have been stronger on the need for help,” she muses aloud. “Because we need green corridors [taking refugees to third countries], we need assistance, we need expertise, we need help to deal with economic concerns. We are small, and so panic can quickly unbalance the economy.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has done many things: sent 2 million refugees hurrying to neighboring countries, upended Europe’s security architecture, severed global supply chains, and revived fears of nuclear war. But as with any rowdy neighborhood, the smallest suffer most, and they don’t come smaller than landlocked Moldova, whose population of 2.6 millionis less than Chicago’s.