A Mini-Maidan Movement in Chisinau: The Rehearsal of the New Coup in Moldova

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Vladimir Rotar Yesterday's events in Chisinau signalize the start of scenario implementation for power displacement of the current Moldovan regime. At the same time, President Igor Dodon is at great risk trying to use the protests for his own purposes. On March 2, Moldova recalls one of the most tragic pages in its short modern history - the beginning of the armed conflict on the Dniester. This year, this day turned out to be as turbulent as possible: in addition to traditional commemorative events in the center of Chisinau began a spontaneous protest which at a certain stage showed features of the Moldovan “Maidan” version. The main protesters were only veterans of the war on the Dniester. During the Vlad Plahotniuc reign they rarely fell into the attention epicenter being, as they say, "as quiet as a lamb." However, this time a fairly solid mass of participants in the Transdniestrian conflict came to the square clearly not with the purpose to “stay” there for a while. The formal protest reason was announced the recent scandalous statements of the MFAEI head Aureliu Ciocoi; anyway, were not long in coming slogans directed against Igor Dodon and Ion Chicu and various demands: beginning with government resignation and ending with social benefits. At a certain point, it seemed that the protest was rapidly radicalizing but in the end, everything limited to a broken door to the Cabinet building and the spontaneous streets blocking. Towards evening, Ion Chicu met with the initiative group of protesters representatives and assured that their wishes would be considered. This way protests were temporarily suppressed, although veterans said that "the war is not over" after meeting with Chicu. The events of March 2, were of course, an excellent occasion for Moldovan politicians to express their versions and interpretations as to the events and incidentally bringing accusations against opponents. Mostly, when speaking about protesters one would nod hearing the names of Vlad Plahotniuc and Ilan Shor, which in a gross way, seems not so far from truth. Nevertheless, if you look at the situation broadly, it is easy to notice that its roots are not of an intra-Moldavian character. It has long been said that the PSRM-ACUM coalition demolition destroyed the status quo around Moldova in June and launched the development of a new Western (primarily American) strategy for our country. Thus, past protests in Chisinau signalize its beginning to act. The forerunner to this was the alleged split of the Democratic Party, which, apparently is to be re-established as the main defense mechanism against increasing Russian influence in the region. The calculation is understandable - despite all the past sins of the party and its leader, PDM continues to follow the western channel, and, unlike the “plush” PAS and DA has the necessary resources and experience to organize the fight “on streets”. Therefore, while the bulk of Democrats remained in the informal power coalition, slowly infiltrating into the government, the second one formed the so-called "Pro Moldova" and rat out on it the protest movement. This becomes obvious when looking at yesterday’s protests “shakers”, persons like Vasilie Sinigur, who previously had similar actions for the benefit of PDM and Plahotniuc. It is clear that a protest scenario is only one of the possible options, and the main efforts of Western players will be focused on achieving a conventional victory over Dodon during autumn elections. On the other hand, if the peaceful way cannot be reached this way or another (and there are prerequisites for this - for example, the failure of a single opposition candidate idea), then people withdrawal on streets will become almost inevitable. In this regard, yesterday’s protests can be considered a certain “targeting” with several important goals: checking mobilization abilities, working out tactics for blocking and seizing state institutions, and most importantly, analyzing the authorities’ reaction. It was, by the way, quite soft. Even when the veterans broke the door to the government building, no force was taken to suppress or at least “sober up” the protesters. It can be assumed that the president and the cabinet were aware in advance of upcoming events in the center of the capital and moreover, they introduced their own people into protest. These thoughts are prompted by: the extreme heterogeneity of protest participants; constant debates and the randomness of their actions, when various spillers pulled the masses in one direction or another, and the attempts for radicalization, which were clearly not supported by the bulk of the protesters. This again hints at the hypothesis that the president decided to use a quite old, even for the post-Soviet space methodology on the use of radical forces as a scarecrow to mobilize the root electorate. Given the fact that while the presidential campaign for re-election is neither shaky nor sweeping this idea can be understood. But, as mentioned earlier, it did not work either for Vladimir Voronin or for Viktor Ianukovici, who prepared themselves a political grave as a result. Igor Dodon is now following exactly the same path, hoping not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors and outplay his opponents both inside and outside the country. Well, over the past year, the president has shown that he is very sophisticated in his ability to wage political struggle. But there is an opinion that, against the backdrop of such a “dizziness from successes,” the head of state is not yet fully aware of all the risks when trying to use protests for his electoral goals.