There is something fishy in the Republic of Moldova… Here we don’t take into account some shenanigans from some naysayers in Bucharest – the small wreckers of the republic and Romania’s greastest foreigns affairs specialists! – who were waiting for a small good willed sign from the Plahotniuc regime, at least an official mentioning in Chisinau that this year is the year of the Centenary Union of all Romanians, including the Bessarabians.
It is something more serious. Those who continue to turn a blind eye don’t have any excuse anymore after 25th of June 2018, the day the Supreme Court of the Republic of Moldova had annulled the elections for the mayor of Chisinau.
Let us take a look at what is happening.
- Moldova is doing what neither Russia nor Belarus did
To grasp the gravity of the situation in Chisinau, imagine the following scene. The famous Alexey Navalny wins the election as mayor of Moscow and no one questions this. He is greeted by his opponent, OSCE declares the vote correct etc. But Vladimir Putin, behind the absolute independent justice system – in ex-USSR justice is not independent, it is absolutely independent! – invades the elections. Just like that. With a stunning argument that the number of likes generated by the counter candidate who posted a call to vote in the weekend previous of the election.
How would Bucharest react to such an episode? Rethoric question, obviously.
But we must understand that this imaginary Russian example is, scaling the situations, this is exactly what happened in Chisinau, right under our own eyes! In a state that signed the Association Agreement with EU, obtained visa liberalization and Bucharest always supported (almost) unconditionally all these years. Neither Russia nor Belarus did something similar to what happened. There, the strategy is to stop the potential dangerous candidates before the elections, not after they already won! In Chisinau it seems everything moved further. Much further!
The “explanations” that rolled in the press in Chisinau are ridiculous and disqualifying. One is connected to a conspiration theory through Andrei Nastase had been used by the Russians to destabilize the situation in RM, being aware or not that he is playing this role, the other is the so-called “real estate mafia” that blocked Nastase’s ascension to power, fearing that some onerous contracts were going to be unraveled and dismanteled.
Obviously, no one belived in them. If someone did believe this, then the first decision of the government and Vladimir Plahotniuc would have been an invitation to a real, sincere debate with Andrei Nastase and the opposition leaders because it would have been a serious problem – Russia and the real estate mafia- are compromising us all with no turning back. So we would have to fight against them.
This type of discussion did not take place. And it never will, due to these kind of “explanations” for annulling the elections are completely lacking any basis, at least until the present moment. Moreover, after all the international traveling, including in Washington, published articles on various websites – even though small, in truth – Vladimir Plahotniuc claimed that he controls everything in the republic, how can the Russians or the “real estate mafia” to rig the elections right under your nose? Where were you all this time? So if, either you lied to your partners – that you don’t control anything in reality – or the opposition’s claims that the political power are involved in the justice system in RM are valid. The third is excluded.
Moreover, it must be noted here an element that must not be ignored in this argumentantion about the existance of the Plahotniuc-Dodon binomial, about which LARICS kept writing about for more than a year.
Like Moscow and the Russian press, president Igor Dodon – as the fierce enemy of the government – keeps his silence in reference to the election tamperment, in the sense that he does not accuse the government, nor even the Democratic Party, nor he ever mentiones Vladimir Plahotniuc, name that anyway he never ever speaks of.
In a Facebook post he writes a false critique:” Everything that is happening now, is the result of the nine-year Euro-Unionist governance”.
Facebook photo: Yesterday’s legal decision creats a serious precedent which will have serious consequences on the long term, even from the perspective of the following parliamentary elections. / Everything that is happening now, is the result of the nine-year Euro-Unionist governance. Bucharest has invested politically and financially in these Governements, often closing their eyes to illegalities during these years, due to geopolitical interests and not the quality of governing or the fate of the citizens…
Like always, for Dodon his enemies have no surname no name, not even a party.
How does this happen? Isn’t Igor Dodon the leader of the Socialist Party that in autumn will enter the race for parliamentary elections and the war for seats in the Parliament including with the gorverning party? Then why is he silent? Why doesn’t he attack his political adversaries? Who is he managing?
In fact, for Moscow and its press, the RM president manges only one thing, that being the Plahontniuc-Dodon binomial.
Plahontniuc-Dodon binomial is controlling R. Moldova.
Moldova, Somalia, Burindi. Europe is renouncing Chisinau…
Unlike Romania, that continues to vouch for “RM’s European path” even after the annulment of the mayor’s election in Chisinau, EU and USA have had harsh reactions. In the European Parliament in an almost empty room – which clearly indicates the lack of interest not for the issue but the lack of interest for R. Moldova – members, at the request of the People’s party, discussed the situation in the republic. In a very selective manner: Moldova, Somalia and Burundi.
The result was a harsh Resolution in reference to the political crisis in RM, which was even harsher than the ones since the communists, endorsed by 343 MEPs, who “urge the Commission to freeze all macro-financial assistance (MFA) for Moldova; they consider that any decision regarding any further support should take place only after the planned parliamentary elections and under the condition that they should meet the recognized international standards and be evaluated by specialized international entitites, and the MFA conditions fullfiled”. Moreover, the Parliament asks the Commission: “to suspend the buget support for Moldova, using the July 2015 precedent, when a similar suspension occurred after the banking crisis; they consider that the suspension of the EU budget support should be applied as a reaction to the annulment of the elections for mayor in Chisinau and that it should include a list of conditions that must be fullfiled by the Moldavian authorities, among them the validation of the elections in Chisinau, cancellation of the mixed voting and a result-oriented and transparent investigation, assets recovery and prosecution of perpetrators in the case of 1 bn banking fraud”.
As it can be observed in the Resolution, it is not about “freezing” the financial support – as the political power in R. Moldova claims -, it is about its annulment, because the conditions presented in the text will never be met by the authorities in Chisinau.
The United States is monitoring the undergoing judicial procedures for invalidating the elections for mayor on 3rd of June in Chisinau, as stated in a declaration from the US State Department: ”The sanctity of elections represents the core of any democracy and must meet international standards. We expect from the Moldavian government to guarantee a transparent process for the court without any political intervention. In a case where irregularities are discovered, we ask all parties to take care of the situation in a way in which the rule of law and democratic principles, including the will of the people, is expressed through vote”.
… is Chisinau also renouncing?
Chisinau fighting back very moody. The prime minister reacts pathetically, incorrect and inadiquatly: “The money that R. Moldova was going to receive from the EU, 34 million euros, were going to be used for improving the children’s nutrition in kindergardens and schools, as well as for increasing the wages for teachers”.
Obviously, the statement about “improving the children’s nutrition in kindergardens” shows a visible governmental strategy to counteract the resolution with a cheap appeal to emotion. European funds did not have a clear destination, as RM’s prime minister manipulatively suggested. But the attitude and the message sent to the population is interesting: the EU is cutting money that were going to be used for children and professors… But our government is going to do it without Europe’s help!
The prime minister meets with the ambassadors, they offer a press release after, where they express their concerns, but also clearly talk about RM’s duties towards the EU. The Moldavian government reacts with irritation and sends its own version of the meeting with a stunning clarification: “In addition to the press release distributed by the EU Delegation in Chisinau, regarding the meeting between prime minister Pavel Filip, EU Delegation Chief, Peter Michalko and the EU ambassadors, where the Government adds some clarifications, which are missing unexpectedly from the press release, the meeting being detailed from just one point of view (underlined by the author)”.
Meaning that the EU Ambassadors in Chisinau are sending mixed and clearly anti-governmental messages! And that is not all. PM Pavel Filip, who recently declared that Romania, along with Russia are destabilizing the republic, later said that “some EU representatives” sent him SMSes telling him to intervene in the validation of the Chisinau elections! Moreover, in one of the messages he received a two-day ultimatum. The same public position was supported by the RM spokesman Andrei Candu.
Vladimir Plahotniuc himself, after the final decision made by the Supreme Court for Justice to annul the elections, declared in an interview: “It is strange that the electoral turmoil got sanctioned, but a blind eye was turned from something much more serious – the infringement of the law which specifies the use of foreign politicians in elections”. He was deploring the fact that the court rejected the refferal made by the socialists against Andrei Nastase when he posted, on his Facebook page, supporting messages from Joseph Daul, president of the European People’s Party, Ludovic Orban, NLP president (National Liberty Party – Romania) and mayors from Romania. Is it clear who are democracy’s enemies in the neighbouring republic?
Even Vladimir Plahotniuc, practically admits that the annulment of the mayor election’s in Chisinau was: “a premeditated crime”. Asked if the EU funds freeze will affect R. Moldova he said: “Being an electoral year, we took into account the possibility that these amounts could be post poned or annulled and if the elections in Chisinau annullement haven’t came up, given that we all understand certain political movements and possible interests. I have identified alternative solutions to these fundings since the beginning of the year. That is why, Moldavians won’t suffer after these decisions”.
The most surprising declaration made by the DP leader is this one: “We will review the reforms currently under implementation. They will be carried out. The difference will be that we prioritize them, already implied by the basic needs of the population and not from conditions implied by different agreements, like it has been until now”.
Back the horse that died in the gate! Even though he did not make a direct reference to the Association Agreement with EU, the DP leader sent a clear message. These agreements including this one does not refer to “basic needs of the population”, so they can be put in brackets, even ignored. The “citizen’s interests” prevail which obviously will define their government, and not Europe nor America, ungreateful towards Chisinau and manipulated by opportunistic leaders who want the worst for the republic and who leave kindergarden children with out food and professors with no wages, like PM Filip said…
Besides these pathetic and manipulative tones, this kind of tension, reciprocal accusations and blackmailing statements directed to the EU are a first for R. Moldova. Chisinau, did not back down after the European Parliament’s resolution, but it even started an almost opened confrontation with Bruxelles.
What is the real goal for the Binomial and Russia in Chisinau?
We come back to the question about leaving. What is happening there? Which were the decisions for annulling the mayor election in Chisinau?
The primary goal is a political and understandably geopolitical.
First Dorin Chirtoaca’s resignation and mostly Andrei Nastase’s victory in Chisinau have become a personal goal there. Keeping the proportions, similar to Alexey Navalny’s victory in Moscow. This was an intolerable and inadmissible for who is running the republic. More specific, the most powerful person in the republic cannot stop his most vocal enemy to take over Chisinau? That would mean he is not so powerful…
Beyond personal goals, we have a political answer as well. By annulling elections, DP, Vladimir Plahotniuc unequivocally sent a clear message – no alliance so-called European between PAS (Party of Action and Solidarity), DA Platform (Civic Platform “Dignity and Truth”) and DP (Democratic Party) after the parliamentary elections in November is no longer possible.
This “potential” alliance was not tacily and clearly supported by both sides of the banks of the Atlantic (but also on Dâmbovița). It was said that it would have been inevitable for isolating the socialists and Dodon, even though the combatans (referring to Maia Sandu and Năstase) could not assume it publicly and, in fact, they didn’t really want it. They won’t really have a choice. This would be the only way, the only version accepted by the “West” for isolating the socialists. And with great doubt, the three should sign. This was the tacit hope for those who suggested that the opposition in the street must not radicalize, to leave the doors open, not fight the “Binomial”, the Oligarch etc. etc. Because, in the end, they will have to govern with him…
Well, all these calculations, naïve as they were, are now history. A gullible, stupid, childish, but still history. Today, after annulling the election for the Mayor of Chisinau, Vladimir Plahotniuc’s message is really obvious: this kind of alliance is impossible. It will never be possible because it is unconceivable. The rupture is too deep, profound and irreversible.
Plahotniuc has burnt all the bridges with Sandu or Năstase. He made it public, with a big tourch, so everyone can see and understand.
A chaper has closed. A kind of tacit and irritant pressure fell over on DP. Under these conditions the chances for the parliamentary opposition (PAS and DA) to get 50% are minimal – including the thanks for the changes to the electoral law made by one other than Plahotniuc-Dodon Binomial. The only choise left is the Binomial, adding the independents, who will survive after the elections. The message sent by the power in Chisinau is: like it or not, this is it. From now on everyone has to admit that there is no other option, the opposition is too weak to take a majority, given that we are going to continue weakening it (don’t look only at Chisinau, strikes will take place in the rest of the country, but about those no one talks about!).
The political goal, more precisely maintaining th Binomial in power even after the parliamentary elections, is in fact a geopolitical goal. Annulling the results for the mayor elections in Chisinau and keeping a hostile attitude towards the EU only confirms what LARICS said for a very long time. The Binomial’s ultimate tasks are geopolitical, mainly “solutioning” the Transnistrian issue which today can only be in the Russian Federation’s favour. It means transnistrizing, which is prepared step by step right under our own eyes: the massive sovereignity concessions made by RM when it comes to Transnistria, legitimizing the Russian army in RM (the so-called peacekeepers in the 1992 Agreement, an issue that will be discussed in another article) etc. etc. But transnistrization, which in Chisinau is called “the countries’ reintegration” and it can be made – and Moscow knows this very well – only with a consistent majority in Chisinau (consititutional majority), capable to modify the already voted legislation and to impose a new more adequate for “reintegration”.
The binomial plus the independents will be that majority. This is the real goal, assumed, interiorized not the “European integration”. Solutioning the Transnistrian issue would be to win the big ticket to make History as well as the one which asures their today’s honor.
That is how the Russian Federation’s stunning silence can be explained, Igor Dodon’s ceremonial attitude towards the government, Plahotniuc-Dodon Binomial’s continuation and the recent insurgency in Chisinau towards Europe, which, though Vladimir Plahotniuc’s message, transforms the Association Agreement in something optional or even against “citizen’s interests” of the republic…
One thing must become clearer. Those who hold Vladimir Plahotniuc’s hand must understand that after annulling the elections for Chisinau’s mayor, are holding with the other hand Igor Dodon…
*Dan Dungaciu is a member in the LARICS Expert Council