Vitaly Andrievsky: “We must build Europe in Moldova”

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What will happen if the socialists win? Why hasn’t a billion been found so far and what will happen to the European policy? Read this in an exclusive interview with the Director of the Institute for Effective Policies, Vitaly Andrievsky, for the editorial board of the Regional Trends Analytics.

 - In your opinion, what is the main problem of modern Moldova? Is the country able to cope with it?

The main problem is the apathy of the people. People do not feel themselves masters of the country. Most already hope for nothing. The minority is waiting for a miracle from the government, whether pro-European, or pro-Russian. Another problem: people who have come into power often feel like timeservers who have been given a portfolio for ‘a fief office’. Until the people don’t feel like masters, and the authorities don’t realize that they are hired managers, little will change. In this case, the intellectual elite has a special role, which is obliged to enlighten the people and to reason with authority. Will it happen? Hard to say. But I still hope for change.

- Now it is fashionable to say that Moldova needs to depart from geopolitics, since it divides the people. Do you think such a middle path is real? How is it consistent with what the democrats are proposing (pro-Moldova) and the PSRM when it stands for joining the Eurasian Union and cooperation with the European Union?

Moldova and Moldovans are not geopolitical players, and there is no need to fantasize about this. You cannot get away from what is not, and you cannot come to what is not for our country. We need to slowly enter Europe. It cannot be done quickly, because we may have a caisson disease – I’m saying this because we are not yet ready to become Europeans. And as far as possible, we need to maintain good relations with Russia. Naturally, if Russia does not get tired of playing the empire and seeing us as its province.

- What about the future of the European policy. What is your prediction: how will cooperation with Brussels develop? It seems that European officials have serious complaints about the government.

We must build Europe in Moldova. The more successful this construction is, the better relations we will have with Brussels. At the same time, one should not confuse the EU and European officials, especially party members of the European Parliament. Often, some of them reflect the interests not of the EU, but of their parties and their own. My recommendations are as follows: listen to the officials less, use the experience of the EU countries more. 

- A painful question: why is the investigation about the theft of a billion stalled?

It was a covert operation conducted by professionals. And professionals know how to remove the traces. Therefore, the main task is to find and return what was stolen by local rogues and hidden in Moldova, and at the same time, using the assistance of the EU and the USA, to search what has been brought to other countries.

- Your prediction for the elections: what will be the composition of the parliament and is it worth waiting for the coalitions?

The first scenario: there will be early elections, since the bargaining after February 24 will not be crowned with success. Why? Because no one can get more than 51%, and everyone wants to get the post of prime minister. After the second election, the one who has bigger balls will win and get the post of prime minister. And everyone in Moldova knows who has bigger balls.

- The socialists seriously intend to get the majority and form a government. Obviously, Moscow is counting on it too. What are the chances?

I do not think that the socialists are so naive that they hope for it. Moreover, I don’t consider Moscow naive: there everyone has already figured out for a long time and understand the real post-election alignment. Moscow may have some kind of hope on Nastase, who can enter a coalition with Dodon and the Socialist Party in exchange for an amnesty for the businessmen of Țopa.

- Imagine that the socialists won. In this case, Moldova would face a pro-Russian turn? How will the European Union react?

In this case, Moldova would face Maidan. This will be a good reason for the passionate, pro-European part of society to come out and remove the pro-Russian political force. I think that the Socialist Party and Igor Dodon all understand this well. Their salvation is a coalition with another party.

- Igor Dodon often appeals to Transdniestria and claims that the conflict can be resolved in the next year or two, if, of course, the PSRM comes to power. If so, what will the socialists offer Tiraspol?

I will speak very cynically: Transdniestria will accept such a model that will satisfy the true masters of this region. This is not Russia, but a narrow stratum of businessmen. Russia will agree with any option that is politically acceptable to it. And an option would be acceptable that would not allow anyone in Russia to say that Putin left Russian citizens living in this region.

- What will happen to pro-Romanian ideas? On the one hand, the parties of unionists are hardly popular. On the other hand, we remember how in spring the declarations for Romania were signed on the ground. How will relations between Bucharest and Chisinau develop?

The idea of unionism will live forever. But this does not mean that it can be realized. Under the current government, which is set to create and achieve concrete results, it is clearly not implemented. But there are no guarantees of a rollback into the past, the emergence of a new crisis. And this will be life-giving ground for unionism.