What Awaits Moldova after the Pandemic?

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Sergiu CEBAN Coronavirus infection is turning into the main trigger for large-scale geopolitical and economic changes on the European continent and in the world as a whole. Moldova, of course, will not be left behind The most powerful challenge of COVID-19 that came as a surprise to many forced the majority of states to look completely differently at their position, resources and possible place in the 21st century. The global trouble made many countries “feel” their borders again and recall the sovereign obligations that have dissolved in the carefree atmosphere of democracy and freedom. Integration and other liberal tendencies began to fade into the background, and the first signs of disunity appeared in the European Union in the face of a common threat - the example of Italy shows that “now everyone is on his own”. There is no doubt that humanity will one way or another cope with a new pandemic. Nevertheless, according to researchers, the world is on the verge of a new reality, which will be shaped as a result of ongoing global stress. It seems that both ordinary citizens and political elites will plunge into rethinking. In this regard, it is expected that the role of the state will increase, and the popularity of country-specific political projects will increase. Most likely, the countries of Europe will face the question of the parameters for further co-existence. In this regard, the issue of the EU-Russia relations, in particular with regard to continuing the mutual sanctions policy in the context of an impending economic recession, is becoming particularly relevant. Against this background, China is an important example, having demonstrated to the whole world that a tough, disciplined model of state management in the face of epidemiological crisis gives much more effect in ensuring life and health of the population than the liberal approaches of modern western republics. In fact, the collective West has been challenged and has to respond somehow. While the world order will be gradually transforming into something new in the next few years, small and weak states will face a very difficult period of socio-economic trials. Lacking serious margin of safety, it is developing countries that will experience all the negative consequences of a global economic shock. Unfortunately, the Republic of Moldova is among them and can seriously suffer from the unpredictable nature of the global economic development. The rate with which the number of coronavirus infected patients is increasing in Moldova suggests that in the coming month the country will be in a state of emergency, which, no doubt, will painfully hit most areas and sectors of economy. Experts have already started to forecast a weakening of the national currency, as well as a freeze in social benefits and wages, which together will lead to a decrease in the real incomes of the Moldovan population. Unfavorable forecasts are aggravated by the ongoing domestic political uncertainty, including in the camp of the new parliamentary coalition. Apparently, bidding is going on there, since Pavel Filip’s recent statements that PDM plans to nominate its own candidate for the presidential election cannot be explained otherwise. Amid current economic and epidemiological conditions – lack of money, dissatisfaction with the authorities and nervousness – the upcoming electoral race risks intensifying destabilization in Moldova and rocking the socio-political situation all the way to the next social explosion. The inevitable regional instability cannot but affect the relationship with the left bank, which under the conditions of universal quarantine has appeared almost cut off from the “Moldovan mainland”. Since the time of the armed conflict, the population of the two banks of the Nistru is perhaps for the first time ever lives with minimal communication, and the security zone regime is no longer acting on the demarcation line. Chisinau and Tiraspol, faced with a powerful problem, exist in two parallel realities, solving their actual problems almost without looking at each other. It is still difficult to predict how the post-epidemiological situation will develop, but the history of relations shows, to roll back the next demarcation between the banks of the Nistru will be difficult. The coming months will show how seriously the “global rethinking” and regrouping of the world economy will hit Moldova. Meanwhile, any problem is also a great chance to reconsider approaches and strategies in order to realize your place in the ever-changing 21st century. Though for our country the results of such speculations may not have the most pleasant consequences. If the power institutions demonstrate their inability to cope with the current crisis (and, unfortunately, there are all prerequisites for this), they will further ignite a broad public discussion about the legal capacity and, most importantly, the expediency of the existence of the Moldovan state in principle. The situation with an increasing number of those who support renunciation of sovereignty and merger with the neighboring Romania was turning critical for the Moldovan leadership long before the coronavirus, but now, given the failure to fight the pandemic, it may become irreversible.