Elections in Moldova: between Russia, Oligarchs and Europe’s Money

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According to RTA regular expert Sergey Cheban, Moldova will watch a decisive scene of the political drama unfolding in the country in recent years in the near future, until the voting day on February 24.

On station

In an interview with the RTA editorial team Sergey Cheban noticed that the participants in the election race have kept a low profile in the last days, and only restless Ilan Shor daily generates new scandals. The expert notes: the current lull clearly demonstrates that every political force has taken its place on the stage and is preparing to play its role. “Mr. Shor gets focus on him, scandals and prints colorful political advertising, because it is his purpose – to be successful, impudent and unpunished. It has been suggested that Shor repeats the scandalous behavior of Renato Usatii and will get the votes of those who will not vote either for the PSRM, or for the Democratic Party. How the leader of the party named after himself will manage the votes is another point,” Cheban is convinced. “ACUM is also busy doing its own thing: go to the deep opposition, sue Plahotniuc’s TV channels and try to please the European officials. The image of the “victim of the regime”, by the way, is an excellent tactic, especially since the representatives of ACUM are really affected: one day the poster is ruined, another day some get beaten,” said the expert. According to Cheban, the Democrats, meanwhile, behave as presentable as possible: they do not say and do not do too much, carry out concerted actions and talk about the bright future of Moldova. The analyst is confident that this tactic has certain logic: Plahotniuc reasonably believes that if the PDM withdraws into the shadows, then both flanks of the opposition will sooner or later jump down each other’s throats. “Experienced people have long noticed that the Socialists much more willingly criticize Sandu and Nastase than Plahotniuc. Igor Dodon is being cautious: The PDM, albeit illegally, controls the executive power and the judicial system, which means it is more dangerous than the toothless ‘technocrats’ from the ACUM. Besides, we must remember that the events unfold in Moldova, and here anything can happen. What if tomorrow ACUM get over itself and unite with the Democratic Party? Socialists calculate different options and therefore heavily criticize the right opposition,” explains Cheban. The expert predicts: if all opponents are already in the election entrenchments, very soon it will become hot and the main trumps will come into play.

News from the “Eastern Front”

“Igor Dodon must be paying the latest visit to Vladimir Putin before the elections. In the Russian capital, the President has already met with Special Representative for Moldova Dmitry Kozak, and besides the President, he will talk with Patriarch Kirill. We can expect that Mr. Dodon will be the first to show hand and will bring to Moldova some unprecedented agreements with Moscow,” said Cheban. The expert is convinced that the Socialists need a fundamentally new, incomparable gesture of generosity, since all the past common PSRM topics have not produced the desired effect. “Igor Dodon focuses on the family, Orthodoxy, the Russian market and the Transdniestrian settlement. Patriarch Kirill was expected in Moldova, but he did not come. Import duties on Moldovan goods have been removed, but now they are traveling with a giant detour around Ukraine. After 5 meetings in 2 years between Igor Dodon and Transdniestrian leader Vadim Krasnoselsky any real results or expected by many breakthrough on the Transdniestrian track didn’t happen. And two ‘Transdniestrian’ constituencies can still play a cruel joke with Chisinau. Dodon now needs a fresh wave of support from Russia, but will it come?” asks the analyst. Sergey Cheban notes that everyone, first of all, Plahotniuc is waiting for some first step from the Socialists and their partners in the Kremlin. The expert believes that the Democratic Party will adjust the parameters of the further election campaign taking into account the placed stakes of the Russian protégé – the PSRM. “Not only the democratic camp is anxious for news from the “Eastern Front”.  The EU, the US, the ACUM – everyone is watching the actions of the frontrunner party. If Russia offers money, the EU will try to give more. If Moscow offers something on the Transdniestrian issue or on strategic partnership, the United States will be able to clearly determine who and how to support in the elections and how deeply to interfere therein. The pro-European opposition will decide where to protest – against Plahotniuc or against all,” emphasizes Cheban. “In the end, in the coming days, the residents of Moldova will choose sides. There is not much time left, soon all the parties will present their best proposals, and it will become clear who is really ready for a long struggle and for whom to win is vital. The closer February 24, the clearer how to choose between Russia, the oligarchs and the money of Europe,” – believes the analyst.