Maia Sandu’s Election Campaign: Following CPSU Guidelines

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Cristian RUSSU
Current single-party regime generates ugly methods of serving state leaders more typical of authoritarian regimes, thus further discrediting the president  
Maia Sandu has already a team, which is responsible for promoting her positive image within the president election campaign that has actually been launched. The team includes young PAS members like Adrian Balutel, who, despite their age, do not apply the practices of modern European democracies, but rather approaches of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Praise and Glorification Thus, there are a whole range of people among Sandu’s supporters promoting her “odor of sanctity” and the status of “a life icon for Moldovans”. All these idolatrous campaigns are subject to the approval of the President’s Office. Such marginalized groups should primarily focus on countering the opposition at possible protests and rallies, but they opinion leaders do already criticize and ridicule them. Meanwhile, officials imperatively require educational institutions to arrange activities in the interests of the head of state. Among the latest “initiatives” is the exhibition on the President’s Office of children’s drawings regarding Moldova’s European future – on the walls of the building that was built under Igor Dodon and which Maia Sandu promised to demolish. Given this, we can immediately draw parallels with the personality cult of the CPSU leaders of the twentieth century. It is difficult to say who bears the main responsibility for such “promotion” - whether it is Sandu herself, who has first-hand knowledge of the working principles of party functionaries in Soviet Moldova, or her entourage of minions. But the negative consequences for her image are more than obvious. Exoneration and Blatant Lies Any criticism of the PAS candidate in the upcoming elections must be suppressed and the critics must be denounced. A vivid example of blatant lies of the president’s office were the allegations that Maia Sandu allegedly did not vote in favor of the Chisinau airport’s concession in 2013. Photo and video evidences to the contrary do not embarrass Adrian Belutel at all, who posts nonsense about his boss’ non-involvement. Apparently, its core audience includes not only ignorant people, but also judges who are considering summoning Maia Sandu and Dorin Recean to testify in the airport case. We can also recall the scandalous case of Maia Sandu receiving a cash award in Romania, resulting from the incompetence of her advisers’ entourage. They immediately began to whitewash themselves and her by explaining that gifts and monetary awards are different things, and that receiving money by state leaders is a common international practice. All this lasted until Sandu gave the bribe to charity. Just recently, all of a sudden, a scandal followed the cancellation of the tender for the lease of commercial premises at the Chisinau airport. The dissatisfied French company Lagardère Travel Retail lodged a personal complaint against Maia Sandu, claiming that she had urged the company, which was left with nothing, to invest in Moldova. However, Adrian Balutel, the defender of the president’s interests, shamelessly stated that his chief did not know these French people and had never met them. The flared up scandal with the dismissal of Prosecutor General Alexandru Stoianoglo had also to be extinguished by a banal finger pointing, this time to the Superior Council of Prosecutors. Allegedly, only its unsatisfactory verdict on the activities of the Prosecutor General was the basis for Sandu’s decree of Stoianoglo’s resignation. However, the presidential decree was challenged in court, but not the assessments of the last Superior Council of Prosecutors. These blatant machinations are aimed at whitewashing Maia Sande. It was decided to reduce the over-bloated president’s office staff in order to show the modesty of the PAS informal leader and to fulfil one of her previous electoral promises after four years. However, the presidential decree to reduce the staff from 150 to 94 is the banal transfer of the presidency staff to the State Chancellery. The same applies to the immovable property, including the residence in Condrita, which “suddenly” became the government property. The truth is that the real expenses for the maintenance of the head of state and her entourage have increased by at least 12 million lei. But, a common man can really take such cheating at face value. The presidency voiced its mocking position regarding the constitution referendum on neutrality, suggested by the opposition. It is proposed to close the issue by referring to the electoral law, which “must be respected”. This is despite the fact that recently the ruling party lowered the referendum threshold to 30%. Already this election year is promoting the introduction of postal voting for Moldovan nationals in the USA and Canada under the pretext of fulfilling the promise made by Maia Sandu to our diaspora in these countries. Given all this, one can’t help wondering what a whole new low the functionaries of the President’s Office will stoop to amidst the election campaign. Expectations vs Reality Against the critical background, raining down on the authorities, they brazenly continue to promote motivated people with PAS membership cards to official positions, throwing people overboard regardless of their professional qualities and merits. Yesterday, Environment Minister Rodica Iordanov explained her dismissal with political motives, without much concealment. Well, it turns out that we are doing worse in environmental protection than, say, in justice. So it goes, providing their people with profitable positions is a natural practice for any ruling party, especially under individual governance. Our “monster PAS” is no exception, but any appointment has to be worked out, especially if relatives are appointed to such positions. For example, Adrian Balutel, during the term of his MP mandate, managed to place his father in the position of the head of the Republican Diagnostic Centre. Taking into account all the mess in the healthcare, Minister Ala Nemerenco, unlike Rodica Iordanov, was not fired, apparently because she was docile and had a party membership card. Another example is the scandalous, verging on ignorance, activity of Zinaida Popa, head of the PAS faction in the Chisinau Municipal Council. Such antics should anyway result in expelling from the party, but on the contrary, she was assigned, as a reward, the head of Moldexpo. Crucially, her husband Vasile Popa is heading the State Guard Service, which ensures the security of the country’s leadership. Maia Sandu has apparently forgotten that the retinue plays the king, and all the advisors from the President’s Office and government officials are dragging her down. Attempts to assign the head of state a “moral compass of the nation”, as it is done in the international arena, have not worked inside the country for a long time, while deceit and manipulation, together with a clear dissatisfaction with the situation in Moldova, may lead to completely different results than expected.