Long Live Putin, Goodbye Europe?

In all the years since 1990, we, in fact, have never had risk-free elections. However, none has ever been more hazardous for Moldova’s destiny. According to unofficial sources, Russia has invested heavily in these elections. Fifty million euro was spent on the electoral campaign of the Socialist Party candidate for Chișinău City Hall, Ion Ceban, alone. And it’s not just the money. 

Do you know when the most beautiful things in Moldovan politics happen? During election campaigns. No matter whether it’s the presidential, parliamentary or local elections. During the two months of the campaign, depending on the imagination and fanciful optimism of the candidates, you can see and hear uncommon things.

There are the most beautiful stories about how our life should be and is not, how happy we should be, but are not. These are stories about how good and beautiful each village, city and Moldova as a whole should look, with good roads and sidewalks, modern infrastructure, well-paid jobs, developed suburbs, street lighting, parking lots, quality public services, running water and sewage systems, beautifully laid out leisure and entertainment spaces, the exodus will stop, families will be reunited, and we’ll have modern kindergartens, well-equipped schools, mayoralties without politics (?!) and a Moldova without corruption.

These are not improvisations, they are some of the electoral commitments which we can find in the programs of each of the competitors registered in the electoral race on October 20, 2019. 

I wish all these things would come true, it would be really wonderful. But the question is: what is the source of the money to pay for these promises? From which funds and budgets? And  what kind of money – clean or stolen? For we know that everything has a price, and Moldova, robbed and impoverished as it has been in recent years, is now at rock bottom. 

The answers differ. Some of the candidates provide estimates, others keep silent about it or simply promise change, without addressing the money issue. 

Let’s make things clear. One: there will not be money as there was during the Democratic Party government under Plahotniuc any more. Plahotniuc left and, obviously, took the money – which he used to buy anyone or anything – with him.

Two: Russia has no money for us and no interest in investing in the development programs of our villages and cities and creating modern infrastructure in what is, for Russia, a former Soviet suburb, where it has not invested a ruble since 1991. We know Putin’s interest and his “electoral program” for Moldova. His interests are strictly political, imperial, ones that President Igor Dodon has fully acknowledged: solid financing of the Socialist Party as a puppet party through which Russia would regain definitive control over Moldova and restore it to her area of ​​influence, which would mean “Long live Putin, goodbye Europe.”

And three: only the European Union (E.U.) can, in earnest, offer money for development projects in Moldova, and the E.U. will give no money to parties like Dodon’s Socialist Party or Shor’s party or the Democratic Party, which, during their years in government, compromised all the agreements and treaties with our Western partners.

I am neither a member nor electoral agent of any political party or independent candidate, but my suggestion for anyone who in 1990 stood on their knees in the Great National Assembly Square or felt solidarity with the people there, is not to vote with the Socialists or those like them. Igor Dodon and his Socialists are, politically, more dangerous to Moldova than Party Leader Vladimir Voronin and his communists during their time in power.

On Sunday we’re going to vote, or we should be going. It’s difficult to say how many of us will do it, just as it is difficult to say how many will not. What we can assert with certainty is that in villages the turnout will be much higher than in cities. This is because things are much clearer in villages, the people have to choose from among those they know, not from what they hear, but from everyday life. People know who the candidates are, what they are like, where they come from and why they are or they are not good. 

Over 4,000 competitors and 20 political parties registered in the election in the 898 town and village halls, that is 600 more candidates than in the 2015 elections. Has the prestige of a local administrator position increased or does it have a higher political value? 

Considering the current political situation, the hybrid, distrustful and unclear government, Sunday’s election is both special and essential for Moldova. In all the years since 1990, we, in fact, have never had risk-free elections. However, none has ever been more hazardous for Moldova’s destiny. According to unofficial sources, Russia has invested heavily in these elections. Fifty million euro was spent on the electoral campaign of the Socialist Party candidate for Chișinău City Hall, Ion Ceban, alone. And it’s not just the money. Last week President Dodon visited Comrat, and this week, on the eve of elections, he met with several hierarchs from the Metropolitan Church of Moldova.

The stakes are much higher than the local elections.

Sunday’s elections, in which the Socialists claim to have a lead, will lay the foundations for the presidential elections next year (in which Dodon is seeking  a second term) and, possibly for early parliamentary elections.

And in the event that the collective pro-Russian left, including Renato Usatîi’s party in Balti, eventually obtains more votes in Sunday’s ballot, we can’t rule out a repeat of the 1993, when the agrarians, after having gained 70 percent of the town and village halls in local elections, managed to “take” the Parliament in 1994 and led us to disaster.

On October 20, we’ll go to vote so that we do not have mourning days for Moldova afterward. We have plenty to choose from. Let’s choose.

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