Russia’s Gazprom monopoly seems once again poised to take a controlling interest in Moldova’s gas-distribution system. The Moldovan government, which two weeks ago backed away from the deal, last week approved a plan to swap 51 percent of the equity in the state-owned company to Gazprom in payment of past debts and as a guarantee of future gas deliveries. Another 14 percent stake passes to the government of Transdniester, the Russian protectorate that is still formally part of Moldova. The Moldovan government retains the remaining 35 percent stake. Gazprom may not find the deal much of a bonanza. For the past five years at least, the system has received no investment and little maintenance from its cash-starved owners. But if Gazprom cannot make money in Moldova, it can at least make trouble. As sole supplier and now sole distributor of gas in Moldova, the company, which in the past has acted as an agent of the Russian state, gains tremendous political leverage.