Authorities to Launch “Sor and Trembling” Operation

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The ruling government understands that, without tackling the Sor Case in the near future, it can get several hundred Evghenia Gutul in different regions after local elections.
Sergey CHEBAN, RTA: As expected, the case of the elections in Gagauzia will have a long and rapid development. Their results per se probably would not have caused such serious irritation in Chisinau if the socialist candidate had won. However, the victory of Evghenia Gutul mixed the Bashkan election with one of the key issues for the power, i.e. the Sor Party. Basically, after the local Central Election Commission approved the results of the vote, and the Gagauz people’s deputies expressed a political vote of confidence in the newly elected Bashkan, the Comrat Court of Appeal had only to validate the results. But, apparently, the central authorities, having lost hope in local forces and other intra-regional factors, decided to rudely intervene by confiscating all the necessary materials in an attempt to cancel the elections held. According to the investigating authorities, suspicions arose about people on the electoral lists who were outside the country at the time of holding the elections and could not vote. Also, they identified deceased people among the voters. Prime Minister Dorin Recean at yesterday’s meeting of the government unequivocally hinted that the court should put the last point in elections in the autonomy. At the same time, he spoke before in favor of abolishing vote returns. The Constitutional Court was supposed to make its contribution yesterday, however, the board of judges again shifted the deadlines for determining the political fate of the Sor Party, postponing the date of the final verdict by almost a month, June 12. Probably, given the upcoming abolition of the Gagauz elections, which could provoke a wave of discontent in the autonomy with unpredictable consequences, the authorities did not want to pour too much oil on flames. This is required, as it is not difficult to guess, no to allow loud cries of the Gagauz and Sor supporters interfering with the pro-European meeting on the main national square this weekend, as well as the summit of the European Political Community. The elimination of the Sor Party from Moldovan politics, apparently, has become the main goal of the current government, which, for the sake of its implementation, spares no means, no tools, and, obviously, no political image. The court decision against Ilan Sor, coupled with the deprivation of his parliamentary mandate, was in many ways a symbolic step to expose him as a toxic political leader, cooperation with which could turn into big problems. They also expect that the Kremlin will refuse the services of Ilan Sor after he turns out to be a sanctioned criminal with a jail time. However, the Israeli oligarch still has a chance to get justice in the Supreme Court with an unpleasant surprise for the ruling party. The PAS, most likely, realizes that without tackling the Sor Case in the near future, it can get several hundred Evghenia Gutul in different regions after local elections, and Marina Tauber may well be elected the capital’s mayor. Considering all social and economic problems that have recently gripped Moldova, there is a great public demand for political populism and social anesthesia, which is skillfully fed to the people by the political technologists of the Sor Party. No matter how hard the central authorities tried to avoid sharp corners, balance and refrain from ill-conceived steps so as not to play along with destabilization strategies, nevertheless, they made decision to openly confront Gagauzia and the odious opposition force. It can be assumed that in the coming weeks Comrat and Ilan Sor will try to return a blow, which scale will largely depend on how the Gagauz and local elites can enlist the efforts to counter Chisinau’s interference in the election results. The People’s Assembly of Gagauzia has already hinted to the country’s leadership that it has crossed an acceptable line in relations with the autonomy. The first wake-up call may be the congress of people’s deputies at all levels and region’s mayors scheduled for May 27. The agenda of the event is unknown, but it cannot be ruled out that local politicians will try to revitalize separatist sentiments in the autonomy and use them for expressed threats to Chisinau. Such scenarios were played out several times on the left bank of the Dniester, as well as in Ukraine in 2014, when people’s deputies announced at a similar congress that they would assume full power until reaching the constitutional order in the country. Moscow could not even expect such a “gift” from the Moldovan leadership and will certainly try to take full advantage of the situation. While waiting for the ban on the Sor Party, the Kremlin began to regroup its forces. So, the former socialists Alexandr Nesterovski, Irina Lozovan and Iurie Vitneanschi did not register a new organization, but hastily joined the Renaissance Party, created in 2012 by the communist parliamentary faction. The Russian capital likely expects who and how will oppose the current Moldovan authorities. Ilan Sor and his supporters are obviously more suitable for this role so far, primarily due to the fact that he already has nothing to lose and he is ready to challenge the ruling regime. In fact, it is a kind of “finest hour” for Ilan Sor when he can show himself on the eve of two major pro-European events, pushing Moscow to make a choice in his favor. Igor Dodon, unlike his rival for the title of Moscow’s “favorite oppositionist”, behaves much more carefully and tries not to burn all boats in relation to the authorities and mediators, demonstrating in every possible way that he is not ready for a serious confrontation with the authorities. Criminal cases and lawsuits obviously put specific pressure on the socialist leader, so he is unlikely to decide to go against the plans of the authorities. A clear indication that the ex-president does not plan to interfere with the government and the president is the decision of the PSRM to refuse of participation in the Grand National Assembly announced by Maia Sandu. By shuffling personnel and launching new political projects, Moscow is trying to influence Chisinau and offers a choice of a model for future bilateral relations. Either a constructive dialogue and consideration of interests through a more disciplined and less ambitious Igor Dodon, who will “bark but not bite”, or a conditional group of radicals led by Ilan Sor. Moreover, even if the eponymous party is neutralized, it can easily “reborn” in a new guise, continuing to rock the domestic political boat and destabilize the country.