Moldova remains a zone of heightened sensitivity to geopolitical issues; that once again proved the reaction to the international scandal unfolded after Alexei Navalny, famous Russian opposition leader got poisoned.
The republic has been notable for many years for its high public opinion on geopolitical issues polarization. These contradictions undergo stronger aggravation during the period of electoral campaigns, when the majority of Moldovan politicians artificially stimulate discussions about their potential voters’ external preferences.
The current presidential race is no exception, and all more or less prominent candidates are vying to express their loyalty to one or another external force (or forces). Andrei Nastase, the first one to collect signatures in favor of his nomination for the presidency of the Republic of Moldova is trying to keep its reputation of the most successful right-wing politician, oriented towards Bucharest. Maia Sandu strives in every possible way usurping the role of the EU and US interests’ conductor in Moldova. Despite their obvious bad manners, the statements used to connect Vlad Plahotniuc’s extradition to the “correct” November 1, voting are intended only to underline the monopoly on mutual sympathy between Maia Sandu and Washington.
Igor Dodon will also definitely do everything possible to be re-elected for the second term. That is why being a politician loyal to Russia, he meets with enviable regularity with the US Ambassador to Moldova Derek Hogan. Electoral support for Igor Dodon is largely formed due to special ties in Moscow and the still high ratings of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the post-Soviet periphery, including Moldova.
At the same time, the next scandals around Russia will hardly leave indifferent both the Moldovan society and local politicians who do not miss the opportunity to express their opinion on the widest range of topics, no matter how far from Moldova they may seem. Moreover, the latest events related to Moscow’s hand got in the top of resonant stories pushing almost any unrelated agenda.
And while in the complex Belarusian case the role of the Russian Federation is not completely clear (since the chess game is far from over), then within the alleged poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, apparently every citizen of Moldova and even the most apolitical one has already decided on his own opinion.
In fact, the geopolitical rift today runs somewhere close to the answer to the question – whom to believe: the Omsk doctors conclusions’ or the German Charité Clinic?
The Republic of Moldova’s right-wing opposition publicly and almost instantly solidarized with the Russian opposition and the European Union countries and the United States demanding for an official and effective investigation and excuses provision. Obviously, such a position will find ardent supporters in the Moldovan society, and there will be many of them. On the other hand, the number of people who trust Vladimir Putin and Igor Dodon trying to adopt Putin’s style is also large.
It is indicative that, formally speaking, this is a private internal Russian episode, gradually inflated to the level of an international scandal, stimulating the crystallization of the geopolitical preferences of the Moldovan electorate and mutual contradictions deepening. And it does not seem that any of the Moldovan politicians are ready to take responsibility and try to consolidate these two conflicting ways of perceiving reality.
External partners hardly planned to influence the Moldovan elections this way. But Moldovan discourse has long been shifted away from a meaningful discussion of their country’s fate, the ways of its evolution and transformation into a safe and comfortable place to live. And aside from the search for politicians who are really capable of ensuring such a well-fed conflict-free development.
Therefore, it is precisely belonging to one camp or another, and not the presence of personal and social qualities demanded for public politicians, that determines the preferences of the electorate. In fact, power in the country is needed only to lead in a certain direction, in the most banal one – geographical sense of the word. For example, along the path of European integration. It doesn’t matter how honest and realistic the declarations of politicians are. The voters in Moldova are pleased to realize that the direction close to them dominates in the election results, and for this they come to the polling stations. The result is a cartoonish situation, when in the Moldovan presidential elections, they choose not between Igor Dodon and Maia Sandu (their programs, team, background and other components important in other countries), but pass the verdict of the Moldovan society as to which side of history to join. Sometimes it happens to be especially ironic, because it turns out that they are elected to power, including on the basis of campaigning for or against the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.
This ratio cruelly simplifies and brings the political process to primitiveness negatively affecting the country’s democracy. Unfortunately, over the past years, the country’s elite has not matured to turn such an important tool as elections into a truly contestable competition of ideas and programs, and not a banal expression of will on the topic of who will lead Moldova for the future next few years .Therefore, it is much more interesting for Moldovan politicians to talk about high geopolitical matters, and not about what to do with the (for example) fading agrarian sector of the republic. However, it is quite a long time that it does not surprise anyone.
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