The Center-Left Opposition is Deeply Knocked Out

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Sergiu CEBAN
Within a year, the ruling regime managed to pick the right tools and “crack” the center-left “pro-Russian” opposition, leading it almost to complete political bankruptcy
Last week, for the first time in a while, the parliamentary opposition, which until now had been only a silent observer of everything that was happening in the country, became “active”. The Bloc of Communists and Socialists (BoCS) decided to boycott parliamentary sessions in protest against the suspension of six TV channels. The current opposition is probably incapable of doing more, and the chances that it will be able to mobilize the public are even less. A political analysis of the past year shows that the authorities and the opposition have failed to develop a dialogue. Given the monopoly of one party, the main parliamentary forces have not been able to find reasons for creative cooperation. The inter-party symbiosis between the Socialists and the Communists seems to have finally exhausted itself and is in half-decay. Other opposition projects are also undergoing internal processes of self-destruction, which is likely to be a preface to a further restructuring of the party spectrum. At the moment, there are a couple of resonant stories on everyone’s lips. The first has to do with the DA Platform, most of whose municipal councilors, including its founder Andrei Nastase, were expelled from the party last week after voting at the metropolitan council. The expellees were accused of serious diversion from the party’s political course, including actions and statements that ended up seriously damaging the platform’s image. The situation of the Socialist Party is no better. Its Republican Council expelled six members, condemning them for treason. Earlier, the MP Gaik Vartanian, and then the municipal socialists Grigore Bejenaru, Liudmila Polodiuc, Eugene Ceban, Dumitru Mitioglo and Oleg Serepitco left the PSRM and joined the new party of the capital’s mayor, Ion Ceban. As a result, the PSRM had one less deputy in Parliament and the fraction of socialists in the Chisinau municipal council was reduced from 21 to 17 councillors. Thus, the continuous crisis, in which the Socialists were caught up after a series of defeats in the national elections, could not be overcome by the party leaders. The nominal removal of Igor Dodon from the leadership, with continuing shadow control, has weakened the PSRM even more, and most likely will lead to the splitting of the party into several groups. Within the Communists, there is an equally complicated internal squabble as to whom the PCRM will inherit. But, according to experts on the inner workings of the Communists, the followers of Lenin and Marx have a much better chance of maintaining party unity. Experts suppose that the attempt to merge Dodon and Voronin was originally a bad political scheme by the Kremlin. Apparently, Moscow hastily considered that such a measure was potentially advantageous and the only possible way to bolster its chances for the early parliamentary elections of 2021. But a poor understanding of the realities of Moldovan politics, combined with a deep and insurmountable mistrust between the leaders and assets of the two parties, inevitably led to the bankruptcy of a large in form, but empty in content, opposition bloc. We must pay tribute to the current government, which managed to drive wedges inside the main political pillar of the Kremlin, putting pressure personally on the ex-president and the informal leader of the PSRM. As a result, BoCS simply “sank”: part of its deputies supported Sor’s protests, another part lurked in anticipation of a judicial solution around Dodon, and another group got involved in the pro-government “political lightning rod” in the form of the so-called “common agenda”. Our deputies’ political instincts have rarely been wrong and as soon as the bloc of communists and socialists tilted, many of its members quickly started looking for more promising projects to continue their political careers. Therefore, there are enough signs to predict the imminent mass migration of socialists in different directions – to the communists, to the pro-European “MAN” of Ion Cheban, to the Sor party, for which there are some serious plans in Moscow. It is funny that Igor Dodon, despite his background and shabby political image, does not lose hope in his political resurrection and wants to use the erosion of the PSRM in his own interests. In a recent interview he speculated about several scenarios for his future, from a possible return to the leadership of the Socialists to creating a new party or leaving Moldovan politics altogether. The former socialist leader doesn’t seem to be bothered by anything and he tries to sell himself to at least someone as if nothing happened, even if he loses the support in Moscow and is toxic for the West. In addition, we must assume that Dodon’s desire to remain in the top league of Moldovan politics is not so much due to his personal ambitions, but rather to the desire to make his trial a “political reprisal”, and even over the leader of one of the largest parties in the country. As always, the ex-president’s political egoism puts the personal above state, party or corporate interests, so most likely nothing good awaits the Socialists. In principle, taking into account Igor Dodon’s personal rating, it is theoretically possible to launch a small political project. All that remains is to understand why and for what purpose. Despite all the statements about the need to maintain relations with Russia and the post-Soviet structures like the CIS, it is obvious that the revenge of the pro-Russian forces in Moldova is an undertaking that is hardly doable and devoid of any prospects. Therefore, the only thing in which Dodon can still be useful is in the electoral weakening of the current competitors of the ruling party and the diversion of the pro-Russian electorate. To sum up the internal political results of the year, it is worth saying that the ruling regime has picked up the right keys and actually cracked the pro-Russian opposition. Today the pro-Russian opposition is clearly in a deep knockout phase, and hardly capable of putting up a fight. Failing to formulate their own alternative course, which could be actively proposed to the population and imposed on the ruling party, the center-left opposition forces are doomed. The next three years in Moldova will be under the influence of the next electoral cycles, and the opposition, especially the part that is focused on Moscow, will be strongly pressed. The goal is to provide the most comfortable internal political conditions for PAS, other pro-European parties and personally Maia Sandu, who plans to be re-elected as president.