Chisinau Seeks Financial Support from Moscow

Dorin Mocanu

The reconstruction of Moldovan authorities is in full swing. While the new minority government was getting shaped, the expert community made different assumptions about the nature of the agreement between the socialists and democrats, including the division of spheres of influence and positions. If the first line is predominately persons in one way or another associated with the Party of Socialists, positions of secretaries of state and other functionaries of the second echelon are often given to people close to the Democratic Party of Moldova.

Democratic secretaries of state and mid-level officials who worked in the government of Pavel Filip are returning to the Ministry of Economic Development of Moldova. Golovaci Sergiu who headed the emergency management office and supplied tent cities of democrats’ supporters was appointed Deputy Minister of Interior. Another secretary of state in the Interior Ministry is quite well-known in Moldovan politics Gheorghe Balan, who worked as Pavel Filip’s Deputy and adviser. In the Chisinau local council there is also a coalition of the PSRM and the PDM, and Ion Ceban’s team also got advocates for the interests of individuals in the Democratic Party.

Part of the land on the territory of the Moldova’s strategic international port of Giurgiulesti was leased by Trans-Oil Group for 45 years for the production of sunflower oil. The company is owned by millionaire Vaja Jhashi, who, according to some estimates, remains one of the main sponsors of the Democratic Party and is in partnership with the fugitive Vlad Plahotniuc.

Finally, the main event of the day should be the election of the Prosecutor General of Moldova, which will also allow assessing the stability of the current tacit coalition. If the identity of the Prosecutor General is a compromise for both the PSRM and the PDM, the current power configuration in Moldova and the composition of the government in particular look a little more stable than the last Cabinet under the leadership of Maia Sandu. Just look how fast the socialists ‘assembled’ a new power union, compared with months of disputes and conflicts with the ACUM bloc in the spring. Nevertheless, the current union, with its obvious bent for manual political management of the country, is unlikely to suit Moldova’s Western partners. This is likely to be the main reason for their gradual removal from the current Moldovan government and the minimization of international contacts with all the political, financial and economic consequences.

Meanwhile, European support has been a vital factor for the Moldovan authorities in recent years. The EU invested heavily in reforms and infrastructure development in Moldova, as well as banally poured money into the Moldovan budget, which was spent on maintaining social stability and protecting not the most efficient Moldovan economy from collapse. After all, it was Brussels that generously sponsored Sandu’s government a few months ago.

The camp of socialists, apparently, understands the high risk of being left with nothing. The Chicu’s government has set a 2020 “electoral budget for the country” with an unprecedented deficit of 370 million euros. Apparently, the PSRM plans to cover this debt at the expense of Moscow.

Despite the very vague statements of Russian officials about a possible credit line to Chisinau, Igor Dodon, meanwhile, shows confidence in the “bright future”. Experts suggest that the current power configuration enables the President to talk to the Kremlin as one ‘requesting persistently’. Apparently, the socialists put Moscow before a strategic choice: either the further life support of the political socialist project in Moldova, or the return of Moldova to the pro-Western policy and the final loss of Russian positions in the republic.

Probably, the current Cabinet of Moldova is presented in Moscow as a ‘last chance government’ and the only way to keep the pro-Russian force in power, albeit tied up with the democrats. It is assumed that the collapse of this project will finally bring to power the ACUM bloc, which does not plan to look to Moscow’s interests in the region. In fact, the Kremlin is on the horns of a dilemma, but the high Moscow offices may have other views on the situation. In this sense, the imminent ‘pro-Russian’ funds for Moldova are far from a settled fact.