Political leadership and governance in Europe are steadily declining in quality. Moldova, sadly, is not an exception, but one of the most striking examples.
It is generally accepted that the end of the Cold War saw the degeneration of political leaders and the establishment as a whole, especially in the Western community’s countries. We are talking about a shortage of statesmen of the 20th century caliber. In their place, people who do not arouse enthusiasm among the population come to power. Even the president of the most powerful state in the world, Joseph Biden, is heavily criticized both at home and abroad, giving the impression of being frankly old, tired and not fully able to function.
This top officials’ unattractiveness is but a symptom of overall degradation of political standards around the world, with the definition of “boring bureaucrat” seen almost as laudatory, indicating some degree of stability. At least without the scandal and flightiness found in, say, Britain’s ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
European trends have also affected our country, where the low quality of leadership and endless political crises have become a constant in the socio-state structure. And it’s not only the relentless mutual criticism of the government and the opposition and their inability to cooperate in the interests of the population. Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu’s accusations against the Chisinau Mayor after the recent rain clearly shows a very low socio-political debate level even between powerful representatives of central and regional authorities.
On Wednesday, a very unflattering characteristic was given to our top leader Maia Sandu by her predecessor Igor Dodon who is under house arrest. According to him, “Sandu will wreck the country, then take her backpack and fly out of here. And we will stay and look at each other asking ‘Why didn’t we stop her?’”
Indeed, the current President seems to be completely unconcerned about the citizens’ problems. All of her decisions and statements are dictated by ideological dogmas and prejudices and do not consider the real needs of the country here and now, as well as the wishes and worldview of the people. This way of thinking and actions could be written off as a desire to bring a “bright European future” the soonest possible, if Maia Sandu were able to define this future. However, the authorities do not even waste time on this, instead demonstrating zero tolerance to the views of a significant part of the population.
Obviously, such one-sidedness and narcissism is due to PAS monopoly in the current Parliament excluding the need for healthy competition. Meanwhile, Maia Sandu does not even find it necessary to comment on many important topics of the country’s internal development, claiming them to be in the competence of the government, parliament or foreign partners.
On the other hand, the President speaks willingly and highly ideologically on subtle international issues, often jeopardizing the long-term national interests and state security. This creates a paradoxical situation where Maia Sandu knows absolutely everything about the peculiarities of current Russian-Ukrainian relations, but cannot explain how the state will support farmers in their crisis, or how to stop the criminal prosecution of the opposition. The rampant reformed justice against Igor Dodon’s mother made even Sandu somewhat uncomfortable.
Things are no better for Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita, who manages to answer many specific questions with outright nonsense or memorized phrases resembling a reverse translation from English. This reliance on handbooks, given the lack of administrative experience, is understandable; however, it cannot completely cancel out independent thinking or objective analysis of the plight of the population. Many citizens were frustrated by the Prime Minister’s calls to “cut consumption” and “tighten our belts”, as well as her covering of the government’s purely economic miscalculations with neighboring country’s bombings and missiles.
Parliament speaker Igor Grosu stands out even compared to his colleagues. His statements are the most radical and the least consistent. Grosu has managed to fall out with the opposition, with the regions, and several foreign countries. His comments on gas purchase and the energy country’s security as a whole, reveal his ignorance of the basic laws of gas transportation systems and geography in general.
However, this depressing incompetence of our leaders is no surprise. Their predecessors, some of them make up today’s opposition, were not particularly honest or professional either, even though they look good compared to the current management team. Vladimir Voronin monopolized the power, began to change the constitution to suit his and his party interests, created numerous schemes in the economy, and promoted the rise of Moldova’s most toxic politicians. The reign of the alliances for European integration was marked by the biggest corruption scandal and ended in an oligarchic dictatorship. Igor Dodon was ready to deal with the devil to stay in power, rejected numerous chances to stabilize the situation in the country, did nothing to implement his electoral communications, and was involved in shady activities, which are now under investigation.
Now more than ever, the country needs a competitive and adequate political project. Sadly, desires do not always coincide with real chances. The social polarization level, carefully nurtured by politicians, simply does not allow them to focus on the tasks of the country’s development. Igor Grosu refuses to accept the opposition as such until it publicly criticizes Russia. He pretends to be a “mind police”, no less. This atmosphere of geopolitical schizophrenia and ideological schism, and in the politicians’ constant desire to join any faction based on their pro-Western or pro-Russian orientation, will always disrupt normal communication in society. No one has yet answered properly what do we do with it.