From Puppeteer to Illusionist. Plahotniuc Plays Trick of the Century in Moldova

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Christian Russu How they make the PDM a “pro-Moldovan party”, and Vlad Plahotniuc – “father of the nation” The “pro-Moldovan” idea, which the PDM president Vlad Plahotniuc recently breathed in a second life, still remains the most intriguing trend of the entire election campaign in the country. With a subtle motion of the hand the unwritten leader of Moldova gracefully led his political project off the usual pro-European course and rushed towards the centrist electorate. Demonstrative shift to the idea of “pro-Moldova” is a fresh and unconventional move by local standards. Technically, this is a reverse maneuver. The Moldovan idea should be filled with positive changes, but according to the Plahotniuc’s interpretation it is replaced by its “anti-version”. The ideology of pro-Moldovanness proposed by the oligarch is an ideology of denial of all past experience with its cornerstone – focus on the European geopolitical project. At least 10 years of the country’s life are “shelved off” and they chose the best moment for this. The society is tired of internal squabbles with a geopolitical flavor. People are disappointed in the European course of development and do not trust the eastern ‘Eurasian’ vector. Moldovans for the most part, in principle, have ceased to believe that things in the country will improve if they are with Europe, Russia or someone else. They are overwhelmed by growing uncertainty about their future, which is only exacerbated by events and often radical changes in neighboring countries. The ‘Brave New World’ frankly scares because of erosion of traditional family values ​​ (failed family referendum in Romania), shattering of religious foundations (split in the Orthodox world, the coming autocephaly of the Ukrainian church and the isolation of the ROC), loss of peace and internal stability (events in eastern Ukraine). Simple Moldovans often want to isolate themselves from the brave new world, and this forms a comfortable ground to plant the seeds of “pro-Moldovanness”. An experienced politician and player, Plahotniuc, feels the moment well and skillfully manages this loose material made of phobias and fears of ordinary Moldovan citizens of external and internal circumstances. Unlike other political forces in the country, he is now proposing to Moldovans to take the fate into their own hands, to define policy and not be imposed. That is why the connecting threads of the pro-Moldova strategy are “national pride” and “self-reliance”, which Plahotniuc has already spoken about at the epochal September briefing. In modern international practice, there are examples when such postulates have been implemented in a single country. For example, the very same theses about “own forces” ​​constitute the basis of the Juche ideology that dominates in North Korea. At the same time, in the DPRK, the declared “independence of the masses” is not at all equivalent to the concept of self-government and equality. On the contrary, the North Korean society is built according to a complex hierarchical system, the stabilizing and central element of which is the lifelong leader – “the leader and father of the nation”. It is still too early to draw direct parallels between the political processes in the Republic of Moldova and the DPRK, but it is curious that the image of Plahotniuc as the “wise leader” of Moldova has been consistently promoted over the past years in Moldova. From a “shadow coordinator”, the head of the PDM in a rather short period turned into a public politician, and his status as an informal leader of the country is now not only silent about, but is being emphasized in every possible way. Possessing officially no authority, Plahotniuc announces resignations of senior officials, political changes and key reforms. At the same time, oligarch No. 1 actively demonstrates his closeness to the people, literally the “politics among the citizens” is well traced in the materials of the PDM media resources, as well as figuratively, paying attention even to small-scale problems of citizens. It is indicative how soon the Democratic leader reacted to the tragic incident with the explosion in an apartment in Chisinau. Just the other day, at the PDM briefing Vlad Plahotniuc made a proposal to install gas leak indicators for those in need free of charge, thereby demonstrating that he confidently keeps his finger on the pulse. The paternalistic model of the state, the appearance of which is created by the democrats, is convenient and useful for Plahotniuc to preserve his own power. Problem societies, which unfortunately include Moldovan, always have strong demand for a “strong leader”. That is why the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, with his image of a tough and authoritarian ruler has the highest rating among politicians. Ironically, the demand of Moldovan citizens for a “strong hand” is ready to be met by the democrats. They right now, before our eyes, focus the Moldovan society on themselves, imposing the idea of “pro-Moldovanness”. At the same time, of course, the PDM will try to preserve the screen of European integration, offering loud and empty initiatives like incorporating the European vector in the constitution. However, all these measures are unlikely to save the ruling authorities from the inevitable criticism of external partners, who do not hide their dissatisfaction with the processes occurring in the Republic of Moldova. The most recent example appeared yesterday: at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, AFET, the MEPs adopted a resolution, which again called Moldova a captured state that does not meet democratic standards and the principles of the rule of law. The European Parliament resolution called for a halt to any further funding for Moldova until the parliamentary elections 2019. By next February these wake-up calls will turn into alarm, as the very presence of the Democrats in power dooms the country to a further cooling of relations with international partners. Less than half a year is left before the parliamentary elections in Moldova, which will determine the future political landscape of the country. Perhaps they will take place even earlier. Any trick has its own final, and there is no doubt that after the electoral battles are over the Democrat’s pro-Moldovan construct will very soon turn into a pumpkin. The only hitch is that relations with former foreign sponsors will be spoiled for real, and Moldovan citizens will really have to rely on their own forces in solving the pressing problems with which they will be left alone.