PAS Devolution: From a “Pro-Western Party” to a New Version of the CPSU

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After 30 years, the process of democratic transit through extensive party building in Moldova has reached a dead end. The ruling PAS party has managed to stagnate conclusively in two years.
Christian RUSSU, RTA: The latest personnel reshuffles in the government have caused a wave of criticism from the politically active part of the society. Journalists and observers are indignant at the lack of transparency in the preparation and adoption of personnel decisions. Analysts are perplexed by the personalities appointed, who have a prohibitive anti-rating. For instance, with regard to the notorious “openness of the authorities”: neither the government, nor the presidency, nor the party activists provided in advance the media with official information about who would be appointed to the new ministerial positions. An hour before the oath-taking, journalists had only rumors from Telegram channels. Although Prime Minister Dorin Recean was formally responsible for the Cabinet reshuffle, he could not give any clear comments on the reasons for the dismissal of the previous ministers and the motives for appointing new ones. All this – amidst promises made by officials six months ago to “improve communication with society”. Intrusiveness and aggression of the Moldovan media, primarily pro-Western, appears to cause overall frank irritation in the ruling party, which now does not bother itself with any explanations. The situation with the reaction of political analysts and commentators is even more complicated. Joint condemnation of politically short-sighted decisions proved as unpleasant for the authorities as the journalists’ attacks. In particular, lecture on the basics of political marketing, as well as accusations of provoking threats of revenge by pro-Russian forces and even a geopolitical reversal in the country. From the right-wing front, there are claims of power usurpation and totalitarianism in PAS’s actions. The reaction of this part of the civil society is clear. Amidst the demonstrative anti-Russian hysteria, everyone kept silent when decisions were taken to close opposition channels, hold dubious competitions or violate laws and regulations in favor of political expediency. However, authorities perceived this as a blessing or some kind of bonus to the full carte blanche received at the elections. Now the bonus is no longer quoted, but the carte blanche, according to the authorities, is still with them and is a sufficient condition to continue the chosen course. What is our conception about the party system, political culture in parties and, finally, the moral qualities of their leaders? Until recently, the parties in our country were considered as a kind of conductor and catalyst of democratic values and institutions. That is why many people treated the growth of their number favorably, despite the fact that 90% of them do not actually participate in the formation of the socio-political agenda. Moreover, almost all of them have a very short life cycle, while the parties formed are usually enough for one electoral cycle. In addition, we should remember about our local specifics that characterize the party culture - political tourism. All this has resulted in Moldova’s leading position among the states with the largest number of political parties. By the end of 2021, we had 70 registered parties. Last year alone, 8 political formations were launched, half of which received registration. A few months ago, while still in the position of secretary general of the presidency, today’s troublemaker Andrei Spinu spoke in favour of the two-party system in place in Great Britain and the USA, as opposed to party diversity in Moldova. Based on the ideas voiced by Andrei Spinu, current minister, let us try to formulate specific principles that the ruling party should adhere to in order to follow the stated direction. Firstly, the rejection of personified perception. Leaders come and go, but the party remains. In our case, Maia Sandu was obliged not only to renounce the leadership of the party, but also not to identify herself with the party activists in power. Chairman Igor Grosu had to prove himself as a real leader, and not confine to the role of moderator in parliament. Secondly, political responsibility. Party leaders and members should be responsible for their mistakes and those of their colleagues. Following this principle, Andrei Spinu, as the holder of the highest anti-rating among the population, should have left the political scene in order not to jeopardize his party, especially ahead of the next electoral cycle. However, as we can see, the situation with the realization of its own principles in PAS are very bad. The reason is that of the two words “party” and “power”, the second one has always come first for our politicians during three decades. For this reason, every time they establish their parties in the image not of Western party structures, but on the basis of their life experience, membership in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, as well as provincial features, even realizing the sad prospects of these projects. This is how the Party of Communists and its irreplaceable leader Vladimir Voronin left the political Olympus, then the right-wing parties that were part of the so-called “alliances for European integration” faded into oblivion, and then Igor Dodon managed to take the Socialist Party to the political backyards in just a few years. Party of Action and Solidarity obviously follows the path trodden by its predecessors, having passed the popularity peak, and thus will soon occupy a similar place in the history of party and, more broadly, political construction in Moldova.