Expert: Fertile Ground for Protests and Authorities’ Criticism Is Developing in Moldova

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Sergiu CEBAN The unsuccessful fight against pandemic, the agriculture catastrophe and the radical steps in the economic sector that is how authorities provide the opposition with both enough reasons for harsh criticism and protest mood growth. The so called vacation month start did not bring the country the expected political calm but only added reasons for various opposition forces to continue escalating confrontation with the country's leadership. Propaganda and populist volleys sound almost daily in the Moldovan media space, adding fuel to the already extra heated (over the past few months) public and political space. The COVID-19 infected dynamics growth continues to be one of the most troubling topics for Moldova. Over the past week, with a consistently high number of cases, the republic has set another anti-record in the number of virus active carriers and started adding susceptible facts of people being secondary contaminated. This does not add optimism to country's health system and leadership and brings to naught the hope of herd immunity developing. In addition, the constantly difficult epidemiological situation does not allow the state breaking out of international quarantine isolation and begin gradually restore regular air communication with the states that Moldovan labor migrants mostly demand. Seasonal drought and low harvests threaten causing an acute headache for the state in the very near future, provoking large-scale protests across the country. The ruling coalition is also clearly aware of this: Democratic Party has moved to the forefront of domestic political activity and has come up with the initiative to analyze the situation in detail and promptly respond to the problem. In fact, the democrats responded to the opposition's repeated calls to look at the critical situation in agriculture and hold an emergency meeting of the Moldovan parliament in order to develop practical forms of support for Moldovan agrarians. Thus, the state banking sector witnesses a difficult story taking shape after the prosecutor's office decided to seize the property of one of the well-known Moldovan banks, whose majority shareholders are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development together with Banca Transilvania, as part of the “billion’s theft” investigation. How justified such a radical step of Moldovan law enforcement officers against the credit institution is, will show the nearest future. We can only hope that such measures were sufficiently calculated, otherwise the financial sector and the country's economy may face serious shocks. In this sense, it is appropriate to recall the contract break on the Chisinau airport concession that the authorities initiated, which is to lead to difficult and expensive litigation in international arbitration and most likely, to multi-million compensations to the foreign investor. Experts are increasingly saying that authorities of the republic set traps for themselves and the logic they are guided by is very strange allowing the opposition to regularly feed its political activities. Almost all of these problems were considered yesterday during the Supreme Security Council meeting. In this regard, the experts expected clarification of the authorities’ current and further actions to stabilize the situation and prevent critical outcomes. Ending the meeting, the outwardly calm head of state voiced less promising theses, bearing the following essence: the country is going through the most difficult period in its recent history, so citizens need to unite and take a responsible attitude to what is happening. It would be difficult to imagine a better gift for the opposition, which plans to maintain political tensions in the country until presidential elections. The lack of specifics from authorities only strengthens the reason for calling an extraordinary parliament session that the opposition factions are being arranging for two weeks. The goal is clear: heaping another portion of harsh criticism on the heads of the ruling majority and the incumbent president. The unpromising picture became a convenient pretext for Maia Sandu, one of the leaders in the upcoming presidential race; it was her to call on supporters and arrange another protest on Sunday, August 16. It seems that such mass pickets will become more frequent as the election campaign approaches, so that to increase population’s electoral activity and regular manifestations of social and political discontent. The Belarus vivid example shows that in case the protest stream gains a steady force of inertial movement, then even if current government obtains the most far ahead victory in the elections, civil resistance becomes almost insurmountable and insuppressible, no matter how authoritarian the political regime in the country is. One of the reasonable authorities’ steps, according to political commentators, could be initiatives to focus and involve the opposition in the process of anti-crisis state management in a collegial manner, thereby distract protesting leaders out of the street and gradually reduce political heat’s intensity in the republic.