In late October, a rally of supporters of the ruling Democratic Party of Moldova, headed by oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, was held in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau.
Speaking to party members, the oligarch proclaimed the exclusivity of his own party: allegedly, no one, apart from DPM, intends to «make people’s lives better.»
Meanwhile, such a statement by Plahotniuc caused only smiles from the majority of Moldovans. Many Moldovan political analysts compare it with «a cannibal from a terrible fairy tale, which fit to scare children.» Perhaps this is an exaggeration, but the population of Moldova is really tired of the odious oligarch. People are tired of empty promises, which no one believes for a long time, tired of poverty and medieval corruption, which turned Moldova into European Zimbabwe, because the rating of Plahotniuc and the country’s Prime Minister Pavel Philip do not exceed six percent. They trust less only to the head of parliament, Andrian Candu, whose figure is only 2%.
Of course, the outcome of the parliamentary elections in Moldova in February of next year, as well as the fate of the state as a whole, are in the hands of Moldovan citizens. But the EU leadership should be more attentive to the choice of political partners in Eastern European countries, especially those who claim to be the guides of the ideas of the European choice.
In this regard, Plahotniuc turned out to be an absolutely ineffective manager, as was mentioned earlier by European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hann. According to him, it is of particular concern that elementary rights, such as media independence and freedom of speech, are not respected in Moldova.
The Moldovan authorities are trying to show their “pro-European” position, but this is nothing more than populism — when it comes to real action, the “European values” do not find a response in their policies, Hann said.
These facts are reflected in the confidence in the “European integrators” from the Democratic Party of Moldova, which fell to 14.5%, according to a poll by the Moldovan Association of Sociologists and Demographers. Thus, probably, the Plahotniuc’s party will lose the leading role in Moldovan politics, which will not allow the oligarch to form a new government after the election campaign.
Why did this happen? For seven years of actual leadership, he clearly failed to make the idea of Moldova’s European integration attractive for the majority of the republic’s population.
In September, the already mentioned Association of Sociologists and Demographers published a survey data, according to which only 37% of Moldovans support the accession of Moldova to the EU. At the same time, the share of Moldovan citizens who support the country’s accession to the pro-Russian Eurasian Economic Union has increased to 41%. The climax of the rapidly deteriorating attitude of the Moldovans towards the EU was the election of Igor Dodon, a friend and supporter of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, to the presidency of Moldova.
Contrary to this, it is with Plahotniuc that the European Social Democrats continue to pin hopes on the preservation of the pro-European course of Moldova. The progressive alliance of socialists and democrats in the European Parliament, as well as the German Social Democratic Party, are still lobbying to provide financial assistance to the party of the Moldovan oligarch.
At the same time, unlike the Social Democrats — their current comrades in the «big coalition» — Angela Merkel, apparently, treats Vlad Plahotniuc with a fair amount of skepticism. The Chancellor rightly sees in the oligarch a mediocre careerist who loudly declares his democratic convictions, but in fact remains a supporter of the populist ideas of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in whose ranks Plahotniuc has been around for many years.
The sympathies of the head of government are rather on the side of the leaders of the parties of the Moldovan right «Action and Solidarity» and «Platform» Dignity and Truth «- Maya Sandu and Andrei Năstase. It is on them — the representatives of the post-communist generation — Merkel has high hopes associated with democratic reforms. However, not without prodding from the US Democratic Party. Especially, during the presidency of Barack Obama, the Chancellor was forced to agree with the position of the Social Democrats, allowing the European bureaucrats to generously allocate money to the Plahotniuc’s Party.
However, the development of the situation in the context of the upcoming elections and the apparent rivalry between Plahotniuc and the Sandu-Năstase bloc force the EU leadership to choose between two political forces. At the same time, the reluctance of Plakhotnyuk, despite his low rating, to give up power leads to a clash of interests of the leading all-European political forces in the Moldovan political arena.
This state of affairs contributes to strengthening the position of the pro-Russian president Igor Dodon, whose party can get a majority in parliament, becoming the main beneficiary of the confrontation within the pro-European elite of Moldova.
But Plahotniuc is really not going to just give up power. High-ranking sources surrounded by the oligarch talk about the persistent desire of their leader to establish informal contacts with representatives of the Christian Democratic Union and enlist their patronage. He believes that the support of the Social Democrats only will not allow him to maintain the commanding heights of Moldovan politics. But if such maneuvers are taking place behind Merkel, then the Chancellor probably has to deal with the front both within her own party and the “big coalition.”
Obviously, the Moldovan question has become a serious challenge for European politicians. The desperate desire of Plahotniuc, who has become a “lame duck” in Moldova, to maintain power, can not only lead to the victory of the pro-Russian forces in the republic, but also become another irritant in the relations of the “big coalition” partners, which will negatively affect the situation throughout the EU.