The “Old Guard” of Moldovan Politics Gathered for the Last Campaign

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Having realized that the rule of the PAS parliamentary majority is ineffective, the opposition camp cheered up. The “last campaign” against the current government will be led by several figures who have largely determined the shape of Moldova’s domestic policy for many years

Anton SHVEC The hundred-day period of the current Cabinet of Ministers’ office turned into a total fiasco. The brutal methods used, as in the case of the fight against Prosecutor Alexandr Stoianoglo, stirred up our policy due to its non-conventional and even not quite legal nature, but did not lead to actual results. There is a false start – an attempt to humiliate and destroy political opponents or any other threat to the government before taking care of the basic needs of citizens. If the pro-Russian socialists or the all-powerful oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc have acted in a similar way, they would have immediately run into criticism of the entire civilized world community. However, Maia Sandu, Igor Grosu and their entourage are still getting away with the democracy attack. But this does not mean that society will forgive the government’s systematic blunders in economic policy, directly affecting the welfare of the population. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the circulation of migrant workers is significantly hampered, which also burdens the specific economic model that has developed in our country. The government of Natalia Gavrilita, first of all Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu, demonstrated its complete incompetence during the gas negotiations with Russia. For a long time, the new authorities have been trying to shift responsibility for this vital area onto Moldovagaz JSC, as if a commercial company has the right to put pressure on Gazprom PJSC demanding the implementation of the provisions of the third energy package, which Chisinau politically agreed with the EU almost 10 years ago. Even the issue of the right bank’s historical debt, due to our specific attitude to it, was political, but Natalia Gavrilita sincerely hoped that the problem, which she has not figured out so far, would somehow resolve itself. It didn’t work. As a result, the authorities, despite the highest loyalty of the Russian President’s administration, received a very dangerous deal in terms of social effect. Gas prices for domestic and industrial consumers will have to be increased two and a half times - up to 10.26 lei per 1 cubic meter on average. For comparison, the cost of natural gas for households in the Transdniestrian region is less than 1 lei in terms of Moldovan currency. Moreover, the result of our government’s confusion was the most dubious gas purchases in Ukraine, Poland and the Netherlands, overpriced and in volumes insufficient even for elementary stunt. It is possible that these strange transactions will be investigated later. The fuel cost in Moldova has been steadily increasing since the time when the Socialists and the Shor Party coalition was in power. After the parliamentary elections, these negative trends only worsened, creating a pressure factor on the country’s entire economy, largely tied to transportation. Another government’s blunder is related to the Transdniestrian settlement process, which has reached its lowest point in a short time. The transport blockade of the region undermined trust between the two banks of Dniester, and triggered an extremely negative attitude of the left bank population to the central authorities’ actions. The postponement of the 5+2 meeting for an indefinite period, with the format itself being paralyzed for more than two years, indicates Chisinau’s intention to stick to the most tough tactics in relations with Tiraspol. This may largely be related to Vladislav Kulminski’s resignation who more than once stated in public that the Moldovan side is interested in organizing the round. He played a well-known role in the gas talks with Moscow providing Andrei Spinu with the necessary support at a decisive moment. Vladislav Kulminski’s resignation compromises the Swedish OSCE Chairmanship, which scheduled the Stockholm meeting, and strengthens the relationship between Tiraspol and Moscow, since for the latter he was the only serious communicator with powers in Moldova. Certainly, a series of tactical and strategic mistakes of the parliamentary majority and the government cannot but be considered and analyzed at the domestic level. The first 100 days have stepped up the opposition around the most traditional figures. Igor Dodon took a backseat in the Party of Socialists and got rid of the deputy mandate. Now, he will not compete with Zinaida Greceanii, the most experienced politician among the socialists fully trusted by the Kremlin. Moreover, the ex-president will not be able to prevent the party members with significant electoral potential from coming to the fore, for example, the capital mayor Ion Ceban. Even more interesting are the processes in the parties that used to play significant roles immediately after the social networks revolution. The Communist Party has once again elected Vladimir Voronin as its chairman, although there were rumors ahead of the congress that this time a successor would be appointed. Voronin himself made clear-cut suggestions several months ago that it was time to “give way to the young”. As it turned out, the 28-year-long term is not the limit at all, and the Communist Party is determined to use the parliamentary mandates and charisma of its permanent leader for a renaissance in big Moldovan politics. Mihai Ghimpu, once an acting president, coming back to the leadership of the liberal Party was also unexpected. Even if this phenomenon proves to be temporary, it still raises a big question about how it became a reality. Of course, this can be explained by the limited personnel reserve of these two parties, or corruption as an integral element of party and state building in our country. Yet, the desire of Vladimir Voronin and Mihai Ghimpu to try to put pressure on the current parliamentary majority could not have developed out of nowhere and is directly related to the mistakes made by Maia Sandu and her team. The camp of the Democratic Party has also been witnessing the intriguing processes for quite a long time, where its creator Dumitru Diacov is trying to push aside “alien elements” in the person of Pavel Filip and Alexandru Jizdan and regain full control over the asset. If Vladimir Filat also comes back to Moldovan politics in one capacity or another, it will be possible to say that the entire parliament of the 7-9 convocation has gathered for a new round of political struggle in order to use the blunders of the current team and regain power in one form or another.