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With the loss of internal legitimacy, population impoverishment and rapid depopulation, Moldova has less and less chance to survive as an independent state under neighboring Romania’s active policy
Semion ALBU, RTA: Tomorrow Chisinau and Bucharest will take another step towards a joint bright future: for the first time since 2017, a joint meeting of the governments of Moldova and Romania will be held. The practice of such events originates from the non-glorious times of the rule of the alliances for European integration, who perceived them as “a powerful symbol of the unity of the two Romanian states”. Tomorrow, besides the symbols, there will be specifics – agreements to reduce roaming tariffs, the construction of a bridge across the Prut, plans for cooperation between ministries and, of course, 100 million euros worth of assistance, as advertised as no other. One must say, our leaders are very excited about the upcoming event. Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita even said that a joint intergovernmental meeting had been expected almost since the election victory. However, according to her, it is not very clear who exactly was waiting – the authorities themselves or the population. The latter, according to recent sociology, has slightly different expectations and needs. The data of the surveys presented the day before yesterday in Bucharest generally became a “cold shower” for the yellow team, which the citizens gave a fat “failure” for the managerial efforts of the last half of the year. Amid low salaries and pensions, record inflation, rising tariffs and corruption, the ratings of the ruling party tumbled down. And the level of personal distrust towards President Maia Sandu, even without a “black package”, exceeded that of Igor Dodon, which until recently was hard to imagine. And without any surveys, it is easy to feel the incredible degree of frustration, fatigue and hopelessness that covers our society day by day. It increased even more with the victories of Sandu and PAS, which were presented almost as the main and, in fact, the last hope for change for the better. Now, when the new government turned out to be no better and even more ineffective than the previous one, it is already completely unclear where we’re going, and whether at least something good awaits us at the end of this path. No one believes in European integration anymore. Every year, the realization that joining the EU in the coming decades is a pipe dream for Moldova is only getting stronger. Yes, even our tops aren’t trying to hide it anymore. Slogans about mythical reforms, on which hundreds of millions of euros have been spent for many years, cause only ridicule. Meanwhile, the new government is acting according to its predecessors’ patterns, where personnel policy is based on the principle of nepotism and personal loyalty, the fight against corruption is only imitative, and justice reform is more like the persecution of the undesirables. But the most important thing that has recently overshadowed even all of the above is a failed socio-economic policy, which resulted in further population impoverishment. The country’s leadership can only continue to brag about the autumn increase in minimum pensions to 2,000 lei, which in the current conditions looks like either mockery or outright trolling. The total incapacity of our political elites to work for the good of the country collapses the foundation of the Moldovan statehood project – namely, the faith in it of people who, as can be seen from polls, no longer trust anyone at all. Hence the rise in popularity of the idea of unification with Romania, which has shown a tenfold increase over the past decade. Some politicians comment on these data quite harshly, and, for example, the leader of the Civic Congress Mark Tkaciuk generally saw in the actions of PAS signs of man-made bankruptcy of the country, which should open the way to its absorption by Romania. The assessment is quite radical and alarmist, although Mr. Tkaciuk, due to his oppositional status, is supposed to criticize the authorities without much hesitation. On the other hand, is this point of view so far from reality? It is already quite obvious that Moldovan-Romanian relationship are now going through a very special period. We haven’t seen such togethernes for a long time, if at all. Meetings at high levels are held almost weekly, delegations in Bucharest and Chisinau are one after another. And these are not just some formal contacts – no, they are transformed into very specific documents, action plans, roadmaps, etc. Thus, the couplings of the two countries are being planned and created in almost all areas – defense, energy, infrastructure, culture, economy, which invest bricks in building a common space. The unprecedented level of Bucharest attention, which after the July elections declared its ultimatum “right of the first night” and the status of Chisinau’s exceptional friend and partner, is obvious to everyone. Bucharest has tightly taken over our new authorities, penetrating into all spheres of Moldovan life. This is more than just a desire to strengthen cooperation. The intensification of the distribution of their passports, the promotion of the idea of a single divided people, the suppression of the Moldovan language, including at the international level – all this suggests that Romania sees a unique chance to bind Moldova firmly and for a long time. And one should not be deceived by the fact that the leading ranks in Bucharest don’t openly talk about unirea. There’s just no point in promoting aggressive unionism anymore, it's a thing of the past. The tactics is different, much more effective – popularization of Romania’s role in helping distressed Moldova, its incomparable level of development of public institutions and the welfare of the population, its presentation as the only chance to improve life in the republic and the only real opportunity to be in a European family. There are several key points that motivate Romania to make the “final push”. For example, the coming to power of a loyal leadership, most of whom are Romanian citizens, including President Maia Sandu. Or the process of generational change in our country, which leads to the final departure into the past of the Soviet period, which will also weaken or even eliminate phobias against Romania. In addition, an increasing number of people will be worry less about the risk of losing statehood, since this very statehood is valued less and less, no longer believing that it can ensure their personal well-being. But Romania, according to many, can. This is also confirmed by surveys, where about half of the respondents indicated that Unirea would be more advantageous, primarily in pensions and salaries increase. In the end, Romania is slowly achieving what it wants, in terms of Moldova’s “bankruptcy”, successfully promoting, in fact, the same unirea, only in a more pleasant wrapping. Instead of incomprehensible lofty ideals about “greater Romania” – a simple and attractive advertisement for a more well-fed life within the European Union. And it works. So, with the loss of internal legitimacy, when the population does not trust almost all Moldovan politicians, an untenable economy and rapid depopulation, Moldova has less and less chance to survive as an independent state. We just need to understand whether the acceleration of Moldova’s “bankruptcy”, to which the ruling party’s policy leads, is a malicious process, or ineffective PAS managers simply act as “handy idiots”? However, day by day the answer to this question is less and less important, since the point of no return is closer than ever. Anyway, while the Moldovan statehood project shrinks further and further, Bucharest, with the ruling group’s full connivance, will continue to attract Moldova as close as possible, so that at the crucial moment, when the number of Unirea supporters reaches a critical point, to be ready for potential merger in the best way possible.