The unique configuration of power in Chisinau will enable Russia and the European Union to establish a productive dialogue on the Moldovan track — and beyond
Vladimir Rotar, RTA:
Today Brussels hosted a Moldovan delegation led by Prime Minister Maia Sandu and the speaker of Parliament Zinaida Greceanii. The Moldovan leaders continued meeting the bureaucratic elite of the EU, after meeting with members of the European Commission and MEPs.
Of course, the visit turned out to be extremely remarkable – the capital of the European Union hosts leaders of pro-European and pro-Russian political groups together not so often, besides if they are part of one ruling alliance. However, after the anti-oligarchic coup, Moldova as a whole is a territory of political innovations and phenomena.
For example, the PSRM, in fact, is the only major political force in the post-Soviet space that maintains close ties with the Kremlin at the highest levels and does not hesitate to do so. While politicians in other countries and in the European Union, and even in the CIS often try to renounce the label “Putin’s friend”, the President of Moldova and the informal leader of socialists Igor Dodon not only does not deny it but also turns it into an advantage. His personal meetings with the extremely popular Russian President in Moldova became the factor that brought Dodon and his supporters to the top of Moldovan authorities.
However, until recently, the Party of Socialists for the most part remained out of the attention of European officials and preferred to communicate with the then opposition ACUM bloc. There is nothing surprising about that: the stable reputation of the ‘pro-Russian party’ and Moscow’s partner did not contribute to the PSRM popularity in the West. And the socialists themselves did not seek excessive contacts with the EU, which could scare away their core electorate.
Now the situation is changing radically. Direct engagement with the PSRM will not exactly be questioned: in the end, we are talking about the ruling party in the country, which officially professes the course towards European integration. Moreover, neither socialists nor President Igor Dodon renounce this Moldova’s general line. In addition, no one has forgotten the role of the PSRM in the elimination of the last regime hated by the EU. However, the invitation of the Chairman of the Party of Socialists to the EU capital is not just a gesture of gratitude and sympathy. This is also an important sign of Brussels’ readiness not only to continue the dialogue with Moscow in the Moldovan context (and not only), but also to significantly upgrade it. Socialists who regularly visit Moscow are the best fit for this role, of course.
In this context, the opinion that after overthrowing the regime of Vlad Plahotniuc, the socialists will be quickly pushed away from the real power still has not been confirmed. Facts rather suggest otherwise: the influx of European money into Moldova reveals the keen interest of the European Union in the success and sustainability of the ruling alliance, and precisely in its current configuration. Now it is important for Brussels as much as for Moscow to keep the socialists in power for as long as possible. Together with their colleagues from the pro-European bloc, they serve as a kind of bridge between Russia and the EU, paving the way for less conflict and much more creative interaction between two important international players in Moldova.
In addition, the alliance of ACUM and PSRM, so different in their political orientation, establishes a specific, but quite effective system of checks and balances in Moldovan politics. It will not allow anyone in the Republic of Moldova to ride the favorite geopolitical horse and will constantly discipline to solve real problems. And that is what both Moscow and Brussels need from Moldova now, first of all.
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