Poroshenko Loses Ally: Kyiv-Chisinau Relations May Deteriorate

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In recent years, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as its leaders, Vlad Plahotniuc and Petro Poroshenko, have been linked by a close partnership. However, according to RTA expert Christian Russu, the formation of a new ruling coalition in Moldova will put an end to the ‘honeymoon’ in relations between the two countries.

“Coalition of national accord”

“The friendship between the leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova and the Ukrainian President has long been no secret. Two oligarchs have strong personal relations and shared business interests that have an impact on international relations. It is not surprising that in recent years they seemed absolutely rosy,” explains Russu. The expert notes that even ‘pro-Russian’ President Dodon in the country did not affect the nature of the Moldovan-Ukrainian relations. “Ukraine considered the ‘Dodon incident’ more as an unfortunate hiccup than a serious cause for concern. Kyiv all this time simply ignored Dodon, continuing to do business with the real power in Moldova through democrats. And they just had a consensus on all issues,” says the analyst. However, according to Russu, the new image of the Moldovan authorities will be an unpleasant surprise for Ukraine. “Ten days after the elections, the forces that passed to the Parliament failed to agree on the formation of a majority. ACUM and PSRM flatly refused to cooperate both with each other and with the Democratic Party. This is probably why many experts and politicians, including President Igor Dodon, started talking about the creation of a broad coalition of “national accord”, which will include representatives of the three winning parties. This is not only realistic, but also an ideal option for all, because it allows to avoid early elections and strengthen the legitimacy of the Parliament both at home and abroad,” the expert believes. In this case, according to Russu, the new Parliament will be much more ‘neutral’ in spirit. “The pro-European policy will certainly continue, and the democrats, as before, will play the first violin. The socialists clearly will not give up their favorite topic of cooperation with Russia, and unlike the past years, they will have the opportunity to put it into practice from their seats in the ruling coalition. Although socialists in the upper echelons of power in the Republic of Moldova will not mean a turn of the country to the East, the current Ukrainian leadership can regard such a maneuver as a betrayal,” the expert is sure. “Ukraine did not pay attention to Dodon, while he was on his own and solely took care of relations with Russia. But it is one thing – a President with nominal powers, making a tour to Moscow for electoral support, and quite another – an empowered pro-Russian power in the ruling coalition,” Russu believes.

Moldova leaves ‘anti-Russian front’

According to the expert, Petro Poroshenko has long and diligently built an international ‘anti-Russian front’, not least part of which was supposed to be Moldova. “Kyiv and Chisinau simultaneously talked about Moscow’s interference in their internal affairs and electoral processes, support for separatism and in general about the Russian hybrid war. Moldova has always been ready to support its neighbor in any anti-Russian initiatives, including at the international level,” Russu said. The expert points out that until 2018, Petro Poroshenko had a shared vision with the ‘unofficial master’ of Moldova, but it is not anymore. “In the midst of the election campaign in Ukraine one of the closest allies not only leaves the battlefield with the ‘Russian threat’, but also allows the installation of pro-Russian socialists in the power structure of the country. It is obvious that the trust between Plahotniuc and Poroshenko in this case will be irretrievably undermined, and many past mutual agreements will be under threat,” the analyst says. According to the expert, the Ukrainian President made the idea of broad international support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia a leitmotif of his entire governing, but on the eve of the decisive elections remained in this confrontation one on one. “The broad coalition in the neighboring country, in fact, pulls the rug out from under the Ukrainian President. The example of Moldova, which will build relations with both the West and the East, is clearly not the one that the leader of Ukraine needs right now, when he again aggravates relations with Moscow. In addition, the Moldovan rear, previously always ready to support the desired intensity of anti-Russian rhetoric, appeared unsecured, and the President has nowhere to replenish it from. Thus, the recently refined mechanism of the ‘fight against Russia’, stably increasing popularity of Poroshenko, loses one of the gears, and at the wrong time,” concludes Russu.