Expert: Authorities Got a Painful Blow from the Prosecutor General's Office

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Sergiu CEBAN
Amidst a bunch of internal problems, the stories of the confrontation between the new government and the prosecutor general gradually disappeared from the front pages: experts believed that it was already obvious and offered only to wait for the final denouement in the professional fate of Alexandru Stoianoglo. But, as it turned out, the prosecutor general was written off early. When the country's leadership made plenty of mistakes, the Prosecutor General decided to counterattack and deliver a frontal political blow.
Yesterday, Alexandru Stoianoglo held another press briefing, during which he made a number of bold accusations against the country's leadership, non-governmental organizations, as well as the former ambassador of the European Union. As confirmation, the Prosecutor General presented to journalists a transcript of the correspondence of the president's entourage, proving the fact of the discrediting campaign launched against him with the active support of EU representatives. In addition, according to the Prosecutor General, he became the main target in the “war against corruption” declared by the incumbent Action and Solidarity Party. This is how Alexandru Stoianoglo explains the developed and hastily adopted law that provides all that is necessary for his quick removal from office. One of the main defendants in the targeted campaign, according to Stoianoglo, is the ex-head of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office Viorel Morari, who, seeking the current Prosecutor General's resignation, used to channel information to the Action and Solidarity Party advisers, representatives of civil society Vladislav Gribincea and Julian Rus, as well as Western diplomats with whom he informally corresponded. The resonant statements of the Prosecutor General, hitting almost the entire top of the new Moldovan government, naturally could not be left without reaction, given their tone and targeting. Nicolae Popescu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, was one of the first to speak out about these revelations, calling Alexandru Stoianoglo's statements reckless and the use of specific names of high-ranking officials of the European Union an annoying and very dangerous decision that could lead to a deterioration in relations with key external partners. Justice Minister Sergiu Litvinenco was more strident in his assessments and said that the Prosecutor General had crossed the “red line”, violating, among other things, the right to privacy. Also, according to the minister, the competition for the post of Prosecutor General was rigged, because Stoianoglo being elected was known beforehand, and the imitation “appointment” was merely the result of political bargaining. Deputies of the majority Action and Solidarity Party faction called Alexandru Stoianoglo a “parody of the Prosecutor General”, openly suggesting that they expect a briefing from the Prosecutor General during which he would announce his resignation. Representatives of individual NGOs, commenting on Stoianoglo's accusations, noted the long-term absence on his part of any specific information about progress in major criminal cases (theft of a billion, Laundromat, Platon) replaced by focusing on confrontation with the country's leadership and parliament. Admittedly, the way several members of the ruling team responded does not look so far entirely convincing and is more emotional, which is a clear sign of confusion – most likely, no one expected such agility and decisive actions from Stoianoglo. That's probably the reason other politicians and representatives of various organizations affected by the prosecutor's press conference have so far taken an observant and wait-and-see position to prepare more sound arguments for themselves that would help avoid blow to their reputation. The Prosecutor General's main achievement is apparently the de-sacralization of the current Moldovan government, which indeed acts as rudely as all previous regimes, seeking to seize the key political and power levers of influence in the state. By the way, the style has very similar features which were most vivid during the period of Vlad Plahotniuc's sole rule. This fact, actually, was also pointed out earlier by Stoianoglo. The plans to deeply reform the justice system of Moldova using the experience and resources of EU partners were hit no less painfully. If the interference of European diplomats in internal political squabbles - moreover, on the side of one of the political forces, is confirmed, it will greatly undermine the authority of the European Union, which, as they say, has demonstrated in practice Brussels' real attitude to the Moldovan justice system. Such a move against the authorities will most likely add additional points to Alexandru Stoianoglo in the still ongoing conflict, which looks more and more like an unfair political operation to forcibly remove the prosecutor general from his post. In addition, against the backdrop of the opposition and other political projects' demoralized state, the chief prosecutor becomes a kind of leader of the resistance and an equidistant player who ensures the true independence of his state institution. For this reason, Stoianoglo's resignation, in any case inevitable, will ultimately become an extremely painful decision for the authorities, since it will definitely remain in the political history of Moldova as a reprisal against an objectionable and disloyal prosecutor general. It is also important that yesterday an equal sign was put between two, in fact, similar mechanisms of external governance of our country both during Igor Dodon's presidency and the current form of foreign coordination of the Moldovan authorities at the level of Western diplomats, non-governmental organizations, as well as all kinds of activists and consultants. All this bad-smelling story will inevitably lead to a serious loss of confidence on the part of citizens who had high hopes for the current president and the parliamentary majority.