by Andrey Burachev for The Saker Blog
Another year of the political season in Moldova is coming to the end. On the threshold of 2019 is the tenth anniversary of the April 2009 events. Recall, that in April 2009, Moldova has made the European choice. Under the smoke of the burning Parliament building and the destroyed administration of the presidency, the regime of Communist Voronin fell. In 2009, a pro–European coalition consisting of the democratic, the liberal democratic and the liberal parties came to power in Moldova. The party of Communists of Moldova with other pro-Russian supporters appeared in opposition, which then completely collapsed.
It would seem that the dream of many Moldovan citizens of European integration has come true. Fiery speeches about the” European vector”, “European integration by 2010, then by 2011” sounded from the high tribunes of the Parliament, the government, and the presidency. European commissioners flew to Moldova every week.
Washington’s plans for a “united Europe: from the Baltic to the Black Sea” with the inclusion of other former Soviet republics in this “orbit” have taken shape. The Eastern Partnership Program has been intensively operated. The Upper and Lower Danube economic zones have been established in Moldova and Romania. Barbed wire fences on the Western borders of Moldova collapsed, and European standards control systems came in their place.
European funds for the implementation of reforms and the development of European standards flooded into Moldova. Under the leadership of European Commissioner Fule, dozens of meetings were held with the leadership of Moldova. Namely, it promoted the financing and inclusion of Moldova in the so-called “success story”. In all the reports of the European Commission, the Republic of Moldova was listed as a “leader”, “innovative” and…incomparable country in the implementation of European standards.
Slogans regarding “one Romanian state”, the need for unification as “accelerating and deepening” of European integration, have become increasingly frequent in Moldova. Moldova was the first among the countries of the former USSR to obtain a visa-free regime and signed an agreement on the “European association”. However, the signatories from the Moldovan delegation have not been able to explain thoroughly the essence of the document, its direction and most importantly – where this agreement will eventually lead Moldova. Moreover, the Moldovan signatories refused to enter into detailed discussions on the Association agreement.
In addition to noisy tuples, sweet phrases, a certain number of European officials – a dime a dozen fashionable neighborhoods of “European integrators” of the ruling coalition began to appear, “fighters” for European integration race began to buy real estate not only in Romania and Bulgaria but also in Switzerland, Austria, England, Germany. In the created “free economic zones” entire shops for repackaging expired medicines for pharmacies and hospitals in Moldova began to appear, not mentioning smuggling of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.
Moldova began to turn into a zone of smuggling, money laundering, and payoffs not only from the “European standards”, but also from its laws, and most importantly – from the Constitution. The first scandals were not long in coming.
The first major scandal is related to the theft of money for the construction of Moldova’s state border, and the European Commissioner for expansion Füle put the hand to the “cut” of the budget. Documents, reports, conclusions in the “European Commission” went about this incident for a long time. However, they decided to close this case. Füle, however, was dismissed. But, still, in Moldova, this case for millions of euros is not forgotten.
Later, the European funds simply began to write off the fictitious “global” reforms of legislation, social security, the anti-corruption center, that is, the funds were spent on what is actually impossible to verify. It is impossible to test the theory without practice. European commissioners-financiers have already frankly worked on the principle of “cashback”, that is “we give you funds – you are our interest”.
But everything comes to an ending. Moldovan “elite”, akin to spiders in the jar, from “bliss and prosperity” began to destroy each other in the pursuit of super-profit… European funds, as well as the “litmus” idea of “European integration”, have played and continue to play a major role in plundering Moldova and profaning the European vector of development as such.
Now it is no secret to anyone that there is a “big” Europe and there is a “small” Europe. In the countries of the “big” Europe, sanctions are discussed, budgets are imposed, global-scale political scandals happen, while in “small”…
And now, when the leadership of Moldova is mired in corruption, embezzlement of European funds, plundering of Moldova’s banking system for a billion dollars, when anyone who is against the government becomes a political prisoner, when the people’s elections of the Chisinau mayor are not recognized – Moldova less and less talks about the European future.
Today we can say for sure that Moldova has completed its own myth, the myth of “state”, “independence”, “rule of law”, “respect for the principles of democracy and freedom of choice”… It is no secret that the future parliamentary elections will be another success of falsifying elections, refusal to recognize the presence of political prisoners, cutting posts under the guise of the “European reforms”, the formation of minority “coalitions”, the looting of banks and the state budget, the impoverishment of Moldovans and …the «Russian threat.»
After all these ten years lost for the development of Moldova, it is somehow hard to believe that the political masochism of the people, who will again bring to power those who are called in chorus (I give the definitions of the political lexicon completely familiar to Moldova) smugglers, raiders, crazy people and so on. Yes, maybe the people are just tired, they just got used to living in their own world, leaving the house, fleeing wherever the eyes look…
At the turn of the 1990s, we, referring to all Moldovans, Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Armenians, and all the inhabitants of multinational Moldova, expected that Moldova would develop as a normal country. As a young employee of the Moldovan Foreign Ministry, I was glad that my country joined international organizations, naively believing that something would move in the right direction now. But it happened, what happened …. the people left, I left too.
Every day about two or three buses, one plane and two or three carriages with people leave Moldova irrevocably. Unofficial statistics says about a million who have left Moldova, the birth rate does not compensate them. They can only be replaced by immigrants from burning Ukraine, and most likely from distant lands. Meanwhile, in Moldova, the fields are empty, villages and towns are fading, the inequality index is the highest not only in the CIS but also in Europe. The self-consciousness of citizens at the lowest level, society has a negative mood and nihilism.
Nevertheless, the Moldovan people continue to be pitted on so-called “ideologic” grounds. There is no European integration, but an active anti-Russian and anti-Romanian campaigns are carried out under its banner, each with its own “political tower”. The authorities, having no more authority, are trying to combine the concept of “European choice” under the union with Romania, periodically organizing custom polls and marches. Moldova with the complete failure of the idea of European integration is trying to earn points on the confrontation Moldovans on all existing ideas and values.
And this is much more dangerous for the future of Moldova. At the same time, in Moldova, there is no, as they say, “revolutionary-forming” class and the intelligentsia was the first to leave this country, and a provincial vacuum came instead. Yes, and it must be admitted that some Moldovans leave not only for economic and financial reasons but also because they are intimidated by the media and various threats. And these threats are indirectly still. On the one hand, Ukraine is blazing, on the other – the thirst of certain “political” nouveau riches to revive the “Great Romania”.
In the end, there is an information war, which has its consequences. The time for “big politics” in the “Black Sea” has come. As they say, big politics has no humanity. In big politics, you have to be either a person or a politician. And in Moldova, politics is a business, a clan business, a family business, which is alien to everything that does not concern its own enrichment. In public, in Moldova, there are “severe wars” between different parties and formations, but try to touch their private property, real estate in Baden-Baden, London, Bucharest, and you will immediately see the “united front” of the Moldavian “political “elite”. Now, these “features” reinforce social and ethnic stratification.
Long before the “Ukrainian crisis,” it was clear to everyone that the era of a multipolar world had arrived. Along with Russia, countries such as China, India, Brazil began to develop rapidly as global economic, political and
financial players. Now we can state that there is a complete restructuring of the world. This restructuring naturally influenced “European” values. The Age of the Enlightenment, by its nature, was the Age of Reason, a time of freedom, fraternity, equality, but it gave birth to the French Revolution with all its Jacobins. Besides, ancient Rome fell when postmodernist priorities were taken as the basis of the government, and then the barbarians came…
No matter how hard Brussels or Washington try, the political scene changes and every “actor” has to find his “role”. Moldova also needs to find its place, if, of course, it does not want to be written off to the “parishes” of the neighboring state. And all this can happen if Moldova won’t understand (as long as grants and credits for the “anti-Russian vector” interfere) that Europe is developing according to its laws, and de facto and de jure it doesn’t need nor interested in Moldova. It solves own “problems” and certainly, no one there hears the opinion of Moldova. Yes, in Europe everything is beautiful and dignified to certain limits. But then it will be extremely difficult to reconquer own positions.
Although Europe itself is not independent, the events around Ukraine clearly demonstrated this. The EU is not governed by Europeans. If Germany were thus the expected “ridge” of Europe, then I am sure that Merkel would say a categorical “no” to Washington in its anti-Russian arrogance.
However, Europe doesn’t have such leaders as Willy Brandt and Charles de Gaulle now. The Russia-Europe cooperation is a powerful development for two parties, and if something is not suitable for a third party, then it destroys it by any means, including war along the borders of Europe and Russia.
Yet still, let’s go back to Moldova… Is the present Moldovan “leadership” capable of the unanimity of all “conscious people”?! Alas, definitely not. And not only because there are mental differences, but because it is the current leadership of Moldova that continues to divide people.
I treated with distrust and continue to do so to the Moldavian Socialist Party. I still think that this party is subject to fragmentation due to the fact that there are a lot of controversial figures which are associated with some “obscene” agreements with the main author of the collapse of European integration in Moldova – Plahotniuc.
And for this, Europe needs to decide who will be in Moldova tomorrow. Those who were yesterday and today already showed themselves. They failed everything and everyone. Rely on coalitions and alliances again? This has already been in history since 2009. The ruling “pro-European” party in Moldova is impossible, and this is solely due to the short-sighted policy of Brussels so far.
Some experts express ideas that the February 2019 parliamentary elections in Moldova won’t take place. They will not take place due to the fact that the current Moldovan government is unable to carry them out without its failure, which means that an artificial, economic or banking crisis is possible in Moldova. The banking crisis, for example, the collapse of Molindinkosbank or Molagrobank, which will be the catalyst for the financial and economic crisis, as these two banks are a backbone. To delay time and bargain with Brussels is what the current government in Moldova wants. The crisis in Moldova can go along with the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine on the eve of the presidential elections. The current “pro-European” Poroshenko has the same difficult situation as the “pro-European” Plahotniuc.
The crisis in Moldova and Ukraine, in which Romania, Hungary and Poland can be involved, is dangerous for stability both on the eastern borders of the EU and for European security as a whole.
Andrey Burachev is is a former high ranking official of Moldovian ministry of Foreign affairs, a journalist and a political analyst who lives in in Moldova and the UK.