Moldova's autonomous region of Gagauzia goes to elections on Sunday for a new governor, or Bashkan, with eight candidates in the race, most of them with pro-Russian views.
The elections in Gagauzia represent a first test before local elections throughout the country due in autumn, and for presidential elections that will take place next year.
After Russia announced on Tuesday evening that it had banned three pro-European Moldovan MPs and the Interior Minister, the targeted politicians said they had no plans to go there anyway.
The authorities in Moscow banned Interior Minister Ana Revenco and three deputies of the Action and Solidarity Party, PAS, Oazu Nantoi, Olesea Stamate and Lilian Carp.
Montage by BIRN
In 2015, North Macedonia took what was then both a revolutionary and controversial step in the region by legalizing the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Since 2017, the industry truly took off in the country, encouraged by a government which saw it as an economic growth opportunity.
Deputies of the ruling party in Moldova have condemned what they term Russia's plans to regain control of the country after investigative media published a series of what appeared to be official Russian documents on how Moscow plans to maintain its influence in Chisinau and derail its relationship with the West.