Russian Stakes within Moldovan Elections

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Sergiu CEBAN Russia will strive to obtain such a result within Moldovan parliamentary elections that will allow inviting the West to dialogue in order to reach a strategic agreement on Moldova One of the pressing questions that has been occupying local and Western experts’ minds over recent weeks is about Moscow’s main goals, objectives, electoral strategy and stakes within the upcoming early elections to the Moldovan parliament. It might seem weird, but the pre-election planning of the pro-European parties and their preparation for the election campaign depend on the understanding of what is exactly Russia planning. Moscow's long-term practice work in the Moldovan sector consists of a lot of trial and error but all this is invaluable experience at the same time, and using it the Kremlin seeks to choose the most verified strategic line and tries to achieve its goals. There is no doubt that once influence on the presidency has been lost, the main Kremlin's efforts application in the coming months will be achieving a new legislative body being appointed in Moldova where political left-wing parties should be represented as widely as possible. The June 2019 events have clearly showed that Moscow is open to equal geopolitical cooperation with the collective West in the heterogeneous Moldovan political clearing and is as well ready to bear subsidiary responsibility for the situation in our republic. One can confidently say that even today Moscow does not plan taking the situation in Moldova under its full control and bear personal responsibility for the situation in the country. Including because of unwanted involvement in a long-term competitive confrontation with Western players which is only leading to Kremlin spending its far from unlimited resources. The moves Igor Dodon has made in the fall of 2019, and his intention to offer Moscow unique opportunities within the internal political situation in Chisinau, showed in fact that even if possessing a wide access to state institutions and administrative levers in the state does not provide a decisive advantage so that to ensure a stable and long-term political control in Moldova. As a result, everything turned into a loss for the socialists’ leader as have shown the presidential race results and led to PSRM’s prospects decrease to gain a significant number of votes in the upcoming parliamentary elections. As noted earlier, the "unpredictable finale" of presidential elections forced Moscow to make significant adjustments within "Moldovan strategy" implementing up to personnel reshuffles in the Russian presidential administration. Despite the fact that during the last half of the year the internal political situation in Moldova, even with active opposition, one way or another, developed according to someone else's scenario, Moscow had no other choice but to accept the current circumstances and get involved in the electoral process, which, according to all forecasts, will determine the balance of political forces in Moldova for the next few years. Moscow's spectrum of opportunities on the left flank is not so great and the key problem is the lack of a powerful attractive project that could mobilize a rapidly dispersed electorate around it. Presumably, it is for this reason that the Socialist Party voiced the initiative of creating a broad pre-election bloc, with its main goal to position itself widely as a dominant electoral association and to marginalize alternative competing parties. To date, only the Communist Party, whose leaders have their own expressed ambitions, has decided to support the "bloc of left forces". Therefore, the participation of the Communists solely as donors and satellites of the Socialist Party is hardly possible and, most likely, will be surrounded by counter demands from the PCRM part. A notable role in the list of Russian projects is also assigned to Mark Tcaciuc’s Civil Congress. He apparently intends, together with his team, to significantly squeeze the PSRM and enter the future Moldovan parliament at the expense of a part of the socialist voters. Taking into consideration the public meetings in Chisinau with representatives of United Russia, the Shor/For Moldova Party, which is betting in its Orhei Meadow and which has very real chances of getting into the new Moldovan parliament’s convocation, did probably reach the necessary offices (thanks to the socialists’ leader efforts). It should be apparently considered a way to cover bases as minority partners of “leftist bloc forces” in the future legislative body of Moldova. Renato Usatii’s character is perhaps one of the main mysteries for both the left and right flanks. Conveniently located in the center, Usatii successfully absorbs the protest electorate from almost all of its key competitors. Nevertheless, experts consider that his political reputation of an outspoken populist will hardly allow Usatii to become a member of the pro-Western forces’ "respectable club" in Moldova. As a result, he will one way or another, be forced to swing towards interaction with Moscow despite all the aggressive rhetoric against the Moldovan direction’s curators in Russia. Possessing such a set and due to the cumulative effect, the Kremlin plans to most likely, achieve a relatively confident result and fix an undeniably strong position of the Russian Federation in Moldova which will not allow pro-Western forces in the parliament to push the left flank into a deaf opposition. Thus, the maximum task is to get such a result that will become a kind of invitation to dialogue for the West in order to reach a strategic agreement on Moldova. Otherwise, without taking into account Moscow’s interests, adopting any fundamental decisions in Chisinau will be deprived of prospects or will simply saying be vetoed, which is to inevitable provoke next protracted internal political crises.