Opinion: Moldova Is a Re-Captured State

Home / Comments / Opinion: Moldova Is a Re-Captured State
When they voted for the “crystal pro-European” Maia Sandu and the Action and Solidarity party, people hardly expected a political regime even more anti-democratic than that under Vlad Plahotniuc
Semyon ALBU, RTA: Yesterday, the ruling regime crossed the point of no return. The whole affair with the searches in the homes of Igor Dodon and his entourage and the subsequent arrest of the ex-president stinks of a political order. I have to say right away that I have never favored the socialist leader, and I think that he has dug his own political grave with his constant narcissism, his inability to keep his mouth shut when needed, and his involvement in dubious political ventures. And in general, I admit that the ex-president has enough sins to answer before the law. Another thing is that under the “good people’s” rule the law and the justice system have mutated into something so odious and corrupt that any case against a major opposition politician – in this case the entire former head of state – smells bad and raises doubts as to the officially stated motives and articles of criminal cases. Because of this, it’s not surprising at all that Dodon’s arrest has sparked an outburst of indignation not only among his former associates, which is logical, but also among experts, community leaders, and ordinary citizens. By the way, many of them do not treat new victim of “good people’s” justice very well either. Here’s the thing. By bringing their election program into action (not in a distorted form as it is now) the authorities would have a chance to gain the people’s trust, to show that they really are politicians of a new formation ready to break the pretty rotten backbone of the state with its endless corruption, cronyism, dysfunctional justice, etc. In that case, there would be only few questions about the criminal prosecution of the exes. Instead, over the past year we have seen the moral decline of what was once a “pro-European party”, which the further away, the more it tramples upon the norms of democracy and law, while building an authoritarian regime in the image and likeness of the best practices of a notorious autocratic oligarch. Moreover, their version is worsened, since the “puppeteer” at least tried to throw some social perks, and, to be honest, times were better back then. The first real warning sign was the raider seizure of the Prosecutor General’s Office, with a masquerade during the arrest of Alexandr Stoianoglo, with an attempt to pin a bunch of fabricated criminal cases on him, with the hastily adopted and later criticized by the Venice Commission amendments to the Law on Prosecutor’s Office designed to remove the nuisance prosecutor as quickly as possible. Smelling the “blood” of its opponents, the regime got a real taste for it, regularly displaying its anti-democratic nature which has nothing to do with the European values allegedly promoted by the government in Moldova. Let me remind you. The scandalously cancelled municipal elections in Balti, when the candidate who had won by a wide margin in the first round was dismissed from the race under the pretext of minor violations. The return of Plahotniuc’s “reputable” employees to high positions, especially in the justice system. The mass nepotism, which even got its own symbolic name – “the government of sisters”. The incredibly insolent behavior and inhuman statements of top officials demonstrating their utter detachment from the population they govern. Very soon the parallels with Plahotniuc became so obvious that they entered into the everyday life of almost every Moldovan expert who does not profit from the ruling regime. Especially after the crackdown on media amid the efforts to build an informational dictatorship with no right to an alternative opinion. Perhaps, the plummeting socio-economic situation in the country has only exacerbated the progressive insanity of the authorities. Instead of “good times” people got the highest inflation in the history of the republic, a “tariff fever” that has no sign of stopping, and the highest cost of fuel. The level of discontent was so high that it could have sparked the wave of protests as early as spring – but PAS was saved by the Ukrainian events that overshadowed all other events for a while. However, even close to their own borders, the conflict cannot occupy the minds of people forever, especially since the problems in the social and economic areas are only getting worse. In this sense, the latest political events are not only a sign of all-permissiveness, but also, to some extent, of desperation, an attempt to divert public attention from their plight to another political show in which Dodon will be made the main culprit of all troubles, because they don’t have enough power to get their hands on Plahotniuc and Shor. So, in a way, the ex-president’s arrest was inevitable. Especially when the regime is feeling its impunity and aware of the opposition’s weakness and disunity, while the international partners are willing to turn a blind eye to all the “excesses”. By the way, the head of the EU Delegation hastened to say that he did not see a political factor in Dodon’s persecution. Yet, it seems that the authorities once again failed to consider all the consequences. The burst of indignation over the lawlessness was so strong that Maia Sandu got caught up in it, even despite her premature departure to another continent. Now, Madame President has to act out the show with the “bad boyars” who allegedly arranged everything in her absence, and even cynically called on the prosecutor’s office to review how the investigation into the case of her former election rival was conducted. In my opinion, the regime has reached the limits by creating a new version of the “captured state” in just one year. As before, the capture was accompanied by applause from Western partners who turned this government and personally Maia Sandu into almost the conscience of European democracy. By the way, there is practically no chance that this time, too, saviors from key embassies will come down to help us to expel the dictator and his/her associates. Now, it is a purely domestic issue. But is it something the current opposition can handle? All this year it has been a convenient whipping boy, rather imitating the struggle. We can talk about old grievances and distrust – and they do exist. But fear of the ruling elite also played an important role, as did an unwillingness to play with fire and a desire to sit on the sidelines in the hope that the regime’s punishing hand will not reach you. Perhaps Dodon was thinking the same way – and, as we can see, he was mistaken. I don’t think he is the right figure to be the symbol of protest, but if we don’t rise up against the “yellow dictatorship” now, there will be even less chance of defeating it in the future.