With the confluence of absolute power, full Western support and a deep economic crisis, increased pressure on any dissent as the only way to retain the current regime is almost certain
Semyon ALBU, RTA:
PAS, whose rule is already firmly associated with the Plahotniuc regime, is burying its image as a “modern European party”. Of course, it still has enough supporters, but their number is steadily decreasing day by day. It is also evident from the results of social polls, which show a very disappointing dynamic for the authorities.
So, according to IMAX data, the majority of residents believe that things in Moldova are not going in the right direction, and half of them are dissatisfied with their current standard of living. Almost 40% of respondents gave an “F mark” to Recean’s government, with a slightly higher number agreeing that it is a “weak cabinet that does not know what to do”. Few people believe that it will be possible to stop the price increase and improve the socio-economic situation in the country. Citizens also do not like what is happening around the government. Almost all of them called the increase in the salaries of ministers outrageous, and 60% of respondents thought that the prosecutor’s office should investigate the activity of the “old-new” Minister of Infrastructure Andrei Spinu, and in general - he is not an official who can be trusted.
Nor can our people be deceived about the true nature of the regime established by Maia Sandu and her lapdogs. 83% rightly believe that the authorities have full control over the media, 75% - that there is propaganda in the Moldovan news, 59% - that the justice reform has failed. Nobody particularly believes in the justice system or in a real struggle against corruption. The opinion of people that the period of Voronin’s presidency and communist rule was the best in Moldova in terms of living standards and even media freedom (!) became a complete “fiasco” for the pro-European party.
And I’m not even citing foreign policy figures, where people traditionally diverge radically from PAS, having no desire to integrate into NATO and spoil relations with Russia. Whatever the case, one thing is clear - it is a devastating result for any party and almost guaranteed removal from power in the next election or even earlier.
By all rights, given three consecutive elections, the first of which is to be held in just a month, the authorities should urgently improve their image in the eyes of the citizens. “Bread and circus”, of course. We already have plenty of the latter, but bread is very much needed. Regimes in post-Soviet countries have long ago comprehended the rich arsenal of buying the love of the population. In particular, a heap of socio-economic bonuses: reduction of utility tariffs, increase in allowances, launching social programmes to support vulnerable groups, construction and modernization of road networks, of course, increase in pensions, etc., falls on their heads. We ourselves know as well as other countries how it happens. Remember how Plahotniuc urgently tried to please the people ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections. And the PDM blue bus travelled throughout the country, and roads were built at a rapid pace, and all sorts of projects like “first home”, “doctor for you” and so on popped up. And it worked! The democrats did much better than expected, taking almost a third of the vote.
The PAS members, of course, are inexperienced and unintelligent, but not enough that they do not understand these simple truths. But for some reason, no progress is visible. And there is a simple explanation for this - the devastating state of affairs in the national economy.
Roughly speaking, we are in a deep... recession. Suffice it to say that the level of absolute poverty in “good times” has reached 31%, a record high for the decade. Experts are sounding the alarm, drawing attention to the decrease of all the main macroeconomic indicators: GDP, trade, budget revenues, real incomes of the population. Industrial production has been declining for 14 months in a row, and amidst it is not surprising that exports of domestic goods have collapsed. The number of unemployed has increased. There is no need to talk about the agricultural sector – it is softly killed under the guise of slogans in support for Ukraine.
We are either on the verge of collapse, or perhaps we have already reached it, but in delayed variant thanks to Western loans and grants. But even the latter are given to us not for development, but rather to keep us afloat. That is, there will be no positive long-term effect from them, but a negative one appears immediately, as budget expenditures for servicing numerous debts are growing. Under the PAS, this burden has uncontrollably increased. In addition, Western partners are no longer so generous - aid flows have noticeably reduced, and they are accompanied by preconditions. Anyway, it’s not much fun.
Therefore, it is not clear how to allocate money for population’s needs. There is enough only for the salaries of ministers. We even have to take such unpopular measures, especially before elections, as under-indexation of pensions or reduction of the compensations’ budget for utility tariffs, which, by the way, skyrocketed due to the idiotic PAS policy in the field of energy procurement.
That’s how it is. Does that mean that PAS is done? In a normal modern democratic state it would be just like that. But we have our own specifics, our own way, so to say. And, as I have already noted, internal legitimacy, especially now, is not as important as external one. The party in power, despite some unpleasant signals from its partners, is still more or less OK with the latter. And, therefore, the permission for the Moldovan reign is preserved, and it is possible to continue to do any abuses, as long as foreign partners pretend to be blind and mute.
That is why the authorities do not hesitate either to return the odious Spinu to the government, or to recruit a person involved in a corruption case to the Superior Council of Magistracy through the fashionable filter of pre-vetting, and do not want to dismiss the offended head of the Border Police, Rosian Vasiloi. Schemes and money above image!
Most importantly, the combination of absolute power, full support of the West and the economic crisis make it almost inevitable that repression and lawlessness will intensify as the only way to preserve the current regime. It will increasingly crush the opposition, eliminate any dissent in the media, forcing them to broadcast only its propaganda, which will be monitored by the Ministry of Truth represented by the Patriot Centre.
Already before these local elections we faced such know-how as prohibiting members of the banned “SOR” party from being elected, which violates the rights of citizens enshrined in the Constitution, and a de facto ban by the PAS-controlled CEC on any criticism of the authorities and the requirement to submit all campaign materials to it for approval.
The pressure on mayors, who are forced to run for PAS, is openly exerted. The public threats of the president that localities where residents choose the “wrong” candidates will have their funding cut off were unprecedented in its cynicism. And the Parliament speaker went further, saying that even those mayors who simply do not support the foreign policy of the ruling party won’t see any money. I am not even talking about the numerous violations of the election campaign, such as the very premature start of the campaign of the PAS candidate Lilian Carp, for which the CEC defined a symbolic punishment. Tauber, for instance, would have been disqualified from the race a long time ago. However, soon we will see under what pretext she will be “rejected” this time.
So, I think, PAS has a good chance to stay in power. There are no other noticeable pro-European parties yet, and all the rest Maia Sandu and co. can burn out of the Moldovan political field with a hot iron to the applause of international partners and awards of Western democracy funds. Unless Washington and Brussels will have some reasons to change horses at the crossing. After all, there are no irreplaceable people, which was once realized by the almighty Plahotniuc.