Rose Boutonnieres and “Commitment”: Why did the DPM Stage Rallies?

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On Sunday, Democrats rallied in Chisinau. The ruling party prepared for it thoroughly: the media even got instructions that the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) sent to the regional offices before the rally. The document prescribed business style clothing, no clothes of certain colors and attaching a rose boutonniere on the lapel. The Democratic Party’s central office even provided activists with instructions for an interview in case they had to speak on camera. It was supposed to praise the DPM and its projects, for example, “Good roads for Moldova” and “Prima casa”. Careful preparation yielded predictable results. By the appointed time, the buses brought people to the center of the capital, they were given flags and rose boutonnieres. The rally was held according to the script - they sang songs from the stage, they listened to the hymn all together, and then they listened to Vlad Plahotniuc. The latter in his speech again spoke about the “pro-Moldova” course and explained what it meant. The leader of the Democratic Party and the de facto leader of Moldova decided that the country refuses to link the future with a specific vector of development and henceforth will not be a subject of geopolitics. “For a long time, Moldova has been waiting for someone from abroad to build its future. We think that now the citizens of Moldova are ready to build the future with their own hands, and for this we need politicians who will ensure stability”, said the leader of the Democratic Party. Also Plahotniuc decided that “Pro-Moldova” will henceforth become a state ideology, and the rally participants unanimously supported the so-called the “commitment” to fully supporting the progressive course of the Democratic Party, leading Moldova to a brighter future. If everything that happened caused an irresistible feeling of falsity - but in reality for the majority of Moldovans, then this is not surprising.The Democratic Party of Moldova and its leader are publicly and privately are held responsible for all the bad things that have happened in Moldova in recent years. Saying that Moldova is “captured by the oligarchs”, there is no need to specify who it is. They do not love the Democratic Party and fear because it monopolized all state power. Even the most sincere rally will seem fake with such scenario. And the Sunday action of the democrats, if truth be told, was not a rally, rather a demonstration, where, according to the Soviet tradition, some came answering the call of the heart, and the rest came by order. Democrats demonstrated popular support, coherence and solidity of the ranks of party activists (dress code and rose boutonnieres), stressed the decisive course towards the welfare of the people. The Democrats wrote the script, played it and acted as a cheering public. How will the illusion of popular support and staged actions like a Sunday rally improve the prospects for the DPM to be re-elected to the parliament if no one believes in them? Probably, it will not, and in this case, this fake support has another goal. The popularity of DPM among the residents of Moldova is close to zero. Understanding this circumstance, the Democrats last year changed the electoral system to a mixed one in order to bring their people to parliament under the guise of independent candidates. Then the government launched such programs as “Good roads”, “Prima casa”, renovation of schools and kindergartens — initiatives that will create tangible results for the population for a couple of months before the elections. Apparently these measures do not guarantee that the DPM and its clientele will go to parliament, since the anti-rating of the DPM and Vlad Plahotniuc is too high. This, however, does not affect the power ambitions of the latter. As Andrei Năstase’s sad experience shows, the current government ignores the results of democratic procedures if they are not satisfied with them. The Democratic Party will try to retain power at all cost with the help of a whole set of tricks, one of which could be a referendum on European integration on the day of parliamentary elections. At the same time, having no real legitimacy in the eyes of the population and international partners, the government creates its illusion, including at staged rallies. Until February 24, the main task of Plahotnyuc’s Democrats is to conduct such an election campaign so that the result of the Democratic Party in elections would look justified. The current government needs to prevent the cognitive dissonance of international partners, which will necessarily arise if the manipulation of the election results is too obvious. On Sunday Plahotniuc’s team arranged a crowded fake rally of “joy and happiness” in the unfortunate and the poorest country in Europe. The Democratic Party will continue to actively use similar political technology tricks and techniques at various levels. Everything that the government will do in the near future in the domestic political field should seem to others like a good reason to vote for the DPM. The plausibility of the “picture” depends on the quality of the scenery, the professionalism of the directors and the crowd in the role of the villagers satisfied with their lives. The first and second points are well. But the participants of this staging could not manage to portray the prosperity – whether there is no reason for joy, or the performance is wretched.