The RTA regular author Dmitry Astakhov notes that the Moldovan leadership has to repeatedly ‘swear love’ to Brussels to maintain the favor of the European bureaucracy
The previous day the Prime Minister of Moldova Maia Sandu visited Lithuania. At a meeting with President Gitanas Nauseda, the head of the government of Moldova stated that the only solution for the country’s development is integration into the European Union to ensure democracy, respect for human rights and a high standard of living of Moldovan citizens and reforms in key areas, such as the justice sector and the fight against corruption.
Sandu is true to herself and does not spring any surprises: the ACUM leader has long and consistently advocated the European integration of the country and carried this idea through the entire political career. Everything would be fine, but the partners in the new ruling coalition after expelling Vlad Plahotniuc and overthrowing the authoritarian regime of the Democratic Party agreed to create a power free from geopolitics. In other words, Igor Dodon and Maia Sandu decided to put aside their controversy on Moldova’s foreign policy in order to unite their efforts for the sake of domestic political achievements.
According to the plan, the rejection of geopolitics would help to establish stability in the country, to stop the split of society, as well as to bring the international partners of Chisinau – Russia, the US and the European Union – to the ‘reset’ of relations on the Moldovan track. In fact, this moratorium does not work: Maia Sandu, whenever possible, says that Moldova can only go to Europe, and Igor Dodon does not seek to stop the foreign policy speeches of his colleague in the coalition.
The current situation of ‘tacit agreement’ with the geopolitical rhetoric of the ACUM bloc can be explained very simply. No one wants to ‘scare off’ the emerging fragile balance of power between the right-wingers and the socialists, because the balance in theory will preserve the current anti-oligarchic power for quite a long time. Moscow partners of Igor Dodon could recommend the head of state to ‘stand up’ for the Russian vector of foreign policy of Moldova, but what for? In practice, this will not only lead to a tough (and even nervous) response from Maia Sandu, Andrei Nastase and their coalition partners, but will also awaken the demon of years of mistrust between the PSRM and the ACUM. And Europe will begin to doubt that a forced coalition with pro-Russian forces was indeed a good idea for preserving European interests in Moldova.
According to some experts, in fact, it is even more prosaic. They believe that after many years of stalling reforms and the European ‘success story’ of Moldova slipping to the model of oligarchic arbitrariness for European money, not only Brussels, but in general all the country’s international partners have made disappointing conclusions about the Moldovan democracy and the level of the national political culture. In this sense, neither the ACUM bloc, nor the Party of Socialists, nor any other political force in Moldova has any reason to be considered an exception. Any of the current politicians in the country one way or another built their career in the past years and even decades, so descendants are unlikely to find at least a dozen achievements of the Moldovan state worthy of history books.
In this regard, the current Moldovan authorities have the hardest part: the ‘bad aftertaste’ after the government of Plahotniuc is so huge that Maia Sandu will have to swear love more to the European Union, democratic reforms, IMF recommendations, Western values and the European way of life. In fact, now it is the only way how the Moldovan government can support the fragile confidence of European officials. Since the risk of repeating the sad experience of predecessors tends to the maximum, and the resources for a qualitative ‘breakthrough’ to build Europe within Moldova are few.
The fears of Europeans can be understood, and Maia Sandu is well aware of this. She was a minister in the government of Leanca, Gaburici and Filat, and her colleague at the coalition Igor Dodon has created his own party, branched off from the Communist Party, which then usurper Plahotniuc made the parliamentary majority. In past years, experts have repeatedly doubted sincerity of the confrontation between Dodon and Plahotniuc, although not confirmed, but casting a shadow on the figure of the President. It will not be easy to outweigh this dense tangle of unpleasant intricacies and return the trust of the EU to the country’s leadership.
That is why in the near future the government will continue to invent exotic reasons to show themselves as real pro-Europeans, be it mourning for the victims of authoritarian regimes on the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The intrigue is whether the government of Sandu will have enough ingenuity until Chisinau can boast of real success on its way to Europe, and whether this bright time will come at all.
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