Opinion: Social Democratic Coalition in Moldova Was Established Long Ago – and For Long

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Anton SHVETS The cooperation of PSRM and PDM parliamentarians lasts much longer than it might seem at first glance, and goes back to the period when the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova ruled the country On March 16, 2020, a “quarantine coalition” of socialists and democrats was officially formed in Moldova. By that time, everyone, except for lazy ones, predicted this union, despite the unprecedented international support from the USA, Russia and the European Union to the alliance of parties of Igor Dodon, Maia Sandu and Andrei Nastase. The controversial coalition of pro-Western and pro-Russian forces lasted less than six months, falling short of diplomats’ optimistic dreams, and confirming, instead, the accuracy of forecasts given by political analysts. The coalition of socialists and democrats was formed without any fuss, and businesslike. As expected, the starting point was the distribution of ministerial portfolios and other cushy jobs in the political and commercial spheres. The agreement even specifically stipulated that the post of prime minister (or parliament speaker) would be later secured for the Democrats. The special skills of delicate business understanding between the two political parties have a long history. Everyone remembers how the Party of Socialists repeatedly “lent its shoulder” to the autocratic rule of Vlad Plahotniuc and the Democrats. According to a number of political scientists, Igor Dodon received the presidency at the end of 2016 not without the Democrats’s support, in return for smothering up mass protests, which were on the rise, and the tent camp evacuated from the center of Chisinau. The February 2019 parliamentary elections allowed the PSRM to seize the initiative, but the nature of the Moldovan government remained unchanged. This time the socialists bit off a much larger “piece of cake”, but the “cake” itself remained the same - as did the “eaters”. Socialists in the same businesslike manner shared access to political and economic resources with their colleagues in the Democratic Party. For PSRM informal leader Igor Dodon, this political maneuver was almost the only way to count on re-election during the elections scheduled for this fall. And for that, as some commentators note, he is even ready to agree to the dual power situation, which we witnessed in 2017 and 2018, when the president’s powers were regularly usurped by democrats’ strong prime minister. In fact, this is not entirely true. The power of socialists and democrats has always been two-component, but with one-man management and subordination. Only the distribution of roles and influence varied. Today, when Vlad Plahotniuc fell under a consolidated international pressure, especially under the weight of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Igor Dodon consolidated his position. The long-suffering Moldova is on the verge of a new political era based on the cooperation of socialists and the democrats who have been quickly cleansed of “wickedness”. Many of the current coalition members are co-graduates of “Voronin komsomol school”. If you analyze the party lists of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova in the parliamentary elections of 2001, 2005, 2009 (twice), 2010 and 2014, you can easily find many PSRM and PDM deputies of the current parliamentary convocation there. Speaker Zinaida Greceanii leads the Socialist faction in the Moldovan parliament, Vladimir Turcan and Vlad Batrincea are its prominent representatives. Among the Democrats, who were noted in the PCRM election lists, are Violeta Ivanov, Igor Vremea and Sergiu Sîrbu, who merged into the Pro Moldova group. Igor Dodon himself was thrice number six in the electoral list of the Party of Communists in the 2009 and 2010 elections. In 2010, the head of the Gagauz autonomy, Irina Vlah, ran for a common ninth number. Other former communists are firmly integrated into the current power structure. Former Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration, now Advisor to the President on Foreign Policy Issues, Vasilii Sova has been a member of parliament from PCRM and close assistant to Vladimir Voronin many times. The mayor of Chisinau, Ion Ceban, is also from the PCRM and was a candidate from the party to parliament. Former Speaker of Moldova’s Parliament, elected by the votes of the Alliance for European Integration and even acting as President of Moldova, Marian Lupu, who now heads the Accounts Chamber, played an important role in the communist power structure. It was under Vladimir Voronin that he first headed the supreme legislative body back in the mid-2000s. Even such personalities as Moldova’s former Prosecutor General Corneliu Gurin, associated exclusively with Plahotniuc’s rule, stemmed from the big Voronin “nest”. In fact, the communist “sprouting” continues to rule Moldova under the guise of the Social Democratic coalition. Characteristically, the current opposition acting through the Civil Congress is also represented mainly by former PCRM members who left in time the permanent leader Vladimir Voronin, who was drowning in a political swamp (Mark Tkaciuk, Yuri Munteanu, Grigore Petrenco, Zurab Todua). The current coalition’s stability, despite the lack of success and power failures in the ongoing crisis period, is largely determined by the fact that all these “nestlings” of the once largest political “nest” know very well what to expect from each other and are able to fight together with uninvited “cuckoos”. Under these conditions, strange pro-Europeans from the ACUM bloc, some kind of hired political migrant workers, even despite strong international support, did not have a chance to stay in the power system for a long time. That is why the Social Democratic Alliance has good prospects to continue its tight control over the country - unless, of course, another “revolution of the embassies” breaks out.