Expert Opinion: Recalling the Ambassador to Russia, the Democratic Party Beats the Socialists and Sends a Signal to the West

Home / Analytics / Expert Opinion: Recalling the Ambassador to Russia, the Democratic Party Beats the Socialists and Sends a Signal to the West
Vladimir ROTAR On February 13, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova sent to the government a request to recall the ambassador to Russia, Andrei Neguta. According to RTA Permanent Expert Vladimir Rotar, attacks by the ruling authorities against competitors are getting tougher.

The Democrats Hurt Dodon Using Neguta

“Tellingly, the representative of the Democratic Party, but not the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, called the reason for the withdrawal of the Moldovan Ambassador to Russia: the opening of an office or a so-called “representative office” of the unrecognized Transnistria in Moscow, which Neguta could not prevent. In my opinion, this formal occasion is purely secondary. The recall of Neguta is not a diplomatic measure, but a pre-election move that directly hits one of the main rivals of the PDM,” Rotar explains. The expert recalled that Andrei Neguta is a brainchild of Igor Dodon and supports him. “Two years ago, Moldova faced a conflict between the government and the president regarding the appointment of ambassadors. It was settled by a compromise “exchange”: Dodon could appoint ambassadors in the east, PDM – in the west. At the same time, the president also “pushed” the candidacy of his adviser Andrei Neguta. Since then, the sides preserved the precarious “status quo”, which was defiantly violated by Plahotniuc. A hit at Neguta is an invasion of the president’s territory and an attack at the socialists,” the analyst believes. Vladimir Rotar notes that the head of state immediately and publicly defended his protégé, and this is a risky tactic. “Igor Dodon instantly supported Neguta, accepted him in own residence, and promised not to sign the decree on recall. These steps were supposed to demonstrate the strength and determination of the president. However, its weakness is that such a position of the president will have catastrophic political and electoral consequences,” Rotar believes. The analyst emphasizes that the ostentatious confidence of the president in his forces teases the opponents to finish the case. “Dodon speaks of the exclusive prerogative of the head of state to appoint and recall ambassadors, and this is true under current legislation. But you need to understand: when your opponents have a tamed Constitutional Court, any “exclusive right” can be cancelled with one stroke of a pen. This has already happened many times, and there is no doubt that the Democrats would snatch an opportunity to highlight the weakness of the president’s constitutional status once again. They have already been threatening him with a new suspension,” the expert says. The analyst adds that the Moldovan history knows no precedent when the head of state has not signed the decree on recalling the ambassador: “Igor Dodon can attain pioneer status, but at what price?”

Attempt to Draw Attention of the West

According to Vladimir Rotar, the recall of Neguta is connected not only with the desire to annoy the socialists. “Democrats are trying to mobilize voters who seriously fear the “Russian hybrid threat” and a change of the European track. In addition, this is a signal to Western partners that such a “threat” is still real, and the authorities have to fight a “desperate battle” against it, the expert says. According to Rotar, the main trend of world politics is to accuse each other of interfering in the elections, and Chisinau does not want to stand aside. “The current government simply copies the behaviour of its allies in Europe and the USA. The ambassador’s recall is a convenient way to re-attract attention and gain additional international support. And, maybe, to regain the trust and disposition of the Western partners – first of all, the European Union,” the expert believes. The analyst believes that the Neguta case is convenient for the Democratic Party and practically costs nothing. “Diplomatically, recalling an ambassador is a serious step, which indicates a serious discord in relations between the two countries. But in this case, the Democrats have absolutely no risk. The dialogue between Russia and Moldova has long been conducted solely through contacts with Dodon, and, therefore, there is nothing to degrade with regard to the government of Plahotniuc. Russia, in turn, is unlikely to take countermeasures in order not to harm Dodon on the rebound. Therefore, democrats can bombard the positions of the president and the socialists unfettered while remaining out of reach for retaliatory actions,” Rothar concluded.