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The Myth about the Story…

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Igor Botan / March 15, 2011
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The Success Story vs. the Ukrainian Syndrome

The European tour of the U.S. Vice-President, Joseph Biden, included the Republic of Moldova together with Finland and Russia, thus honouring the invitation to visit our country made by Moldovan Premier Vlad Filat about a year ago. In an interview given to the Russian pressRU, Joe Biden explained the reason of his visit: “I will visit the Republic of Moldova, because this country is a democratic success story”. Obviously, nobody can refrain himself from seeing with his own eyes a success story and, especially, from supporting it in order to become its co-author eventually. Because the myth of the Moldovan success story outlined on the eve of the 20th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Moldova, Joe Biden’s visit to Chisinau marked the beginning of a huge PR action linked with this anniversary forthcoming, with half of the year before the proper event. In the consistent part of his discussion with Moldovan officials, also reflected in his public speech, Joe Biden referred to the things the Moldovan leadership should be concerned with in order to write the text of the success story:

Moldovan diplomacy deserved, not without reason, eulogistic appreciations for the performance to convince the U.S. administration, after having done so in relation to the EU, that the Republic of Moldova is a success story. This provides an unexpected opportunity to the Republic of Moldova to breaking the deadlock, reforming its state institutions and society, and re-launching its economy in order to return to normality. The problem is that currently there is no certainty that this opportunity will be used. Moreover, there are indicators proving that the Republic of Moldova could rather reproduce the Ukrainian scenario, than become a role model for other states, as Joe Biden suggested during his visit. In this sense, the success story is an equivalent to a joke circulating in some circles — the West has lost Ukraine to Russia because of rivalries and bickering between Democrats, now it will try to recover at least Moldova by persuading Moldovan Democrats to do not argue, but to implement reforms. Apparently, this task will be also very difficult, but not because of Westerners.

Indeed, let us imagine that Moldovan representatives are invited to deliver a credible success story. The beginning should probably refer to the forgery of the elections held on April 5, 2009, which caused the Twitter revolution on April 7 … And here would come the first problem related to the fact that nobody has demonstrated until now that the elections of April 5, 2009 were forged. There is no plausible evidence, confirmed by judicial bodies, that those elections were falsified, there are only justifications as regards the legitimacy of the protests held on April 6–7, 2009, related to the harassment of the opposition leaders, previous limitation on some rights, abuses committed by law enforcement agencies, etc. Then, what can be said about the conclusions of the Special Parliamentary Commission as regards the events of April 7, 2009? Nothing special, just that there was established the chronology of the events, however, it remained unclear who transformed peaceful protests into violence and barbarism, as well as who bears responsibility for failing to discourage such acts and to protect public goods. It is a sad beginning of the success story, if not a discouraging one.

Further, what are the actual achievements the success story is built upon, other than government takeover by the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) and pushing the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) to the opposition? It is difficult to answer this question too. In the conditions AIE was, is and it is unknown yet for how long it will be in a continuous suspense due to its provisional government linked with its inability to find a solution for the election of the head of state, seems to be more than strange to talk about a success story. There is no doubt that AEI legitimacy is confirmed during the two early parliamentary elections, but the AEI establishment proved to be just a simple resistance formula of its components against the revenge desire of PCRM, unable to ensure political stability and systematic implementation of reforms. In these circumstances, it seems that the success story was born from the EU’s expectations to ensure stability on a segment from community borders, providing it with reasons to make advances to the Republic of Moldova by political and financial crediting of AEI. This crediting contributed to economic stabilization and partial recovery of losses in 2010, caused by the economic collapse in 2009. Therefore, the consistent part of the success story is due to grants and loans provided in advance. As regards the reforms promoted following election commitments, as well as those made to foreign partners, so far, everything is reduced to optimization intentions or actions needed a long time ago. However, the interventions, which are not often calculated, due to lack of compensatory mechanisms on the background of permanent quarrels among the AEI leaders, can only undermine the social optimism of the citizens, antagonizing the affected social groups. Here, probably, no talks would be about tangible successes for a long time.

Finally, how could look like the final part of the success story? Even the AEI leaders compete to answer this question. One of them said that the AEI would be on the way of falling apart and that there is a possibility that one member party of the alliance will ally with PCRM. In response, the leader of the concerned party says, “fighting against Communism served as shelter for maintaining the tentacles”. Thus, one can conclude that after AEI restoring the things have changed dramatically in that the AEI resistance to PCRM is not an undeniable objective and can not serve as a raison d’etre for the alliance. While everything is possible in the Republic of Moldova, however, is it possible that a success story begins with the revolutionary removal of PCRM from governance in order to end with its triumphant return?

Is there any alternative for the success story?

From the above-mentioned it seems obvious that we still deal with the myth of “the Republic of Moldova — a success story”. This myth is very profitable for the Republic of Moldova, because it brings political support and generous financial support from EU, the U.S. and other development partners. The assurance for the persistence of this myth is the AEI functionality, a difficult thing to imagine after the last resonant scandals within its framework. An eventual disintegration of the AEI would mean an imminent and triumphant return to power, in one formulation or another one, of PCRM. The party concerned is under preparation, proving that while in opposition it is able to maintain the confidence rating to a very high level, which is not quite hard due to the ongoing strife within the AEI. Moreover, recently PCRM proves a worthy of praise behaviour. As an opposition party, PCRM is coherent, it seems competent and responsible, after having abandoned the boycotts, while remaining on critical positions, up to virulence, towards AEI.

It should be added to the above-said that it seems that PCRM succeeded to overcome the syndrome of exclusiveness, gradually involving itself in negotiations, then in consultations with two out of the three parties of the AEI. In these circumstances, nobody would be surprised if an eventual dissolution of the AEI would result in a coalition with the imminent participation of PCRM, it cannot be otherwise. The only problem is that any possible governing alliance with the participation of PCRM leads to the shipwreck of the myth of the success story. This is due to two reasons:

If there is no alternative for the success story, then the only solution is to rewrite it into a correction, stating that PCRM has been convicted as long as it was surrounded by tentacles, and when the tentacles came off PCRM to wrap AEI, it seems like the first one passed through purgatory. Namely on this background, PCRM constructivism becomes visible, which significantly mitigates the negative messages, which were trenchant once, towards a component of the AEI. Moreover, PCRM leader Vladimir Voronin, proves his qualities of an experienced politician, unlike his younger colleagues, when he states that it is not the right time now to demand the resignation of the cantankerous AEI. The quarrels within AEI will make alliance increasingly dysfunctional and then, naturally, PCRM will become the inevitable pivot of a new governing alliance with all proper consequences. Public opinion polls show already that the social optimism vis-à-vis the governing AEI is down and out, this summer local elections are to confirm it. Thus, only after elections will be decided what is more dangerous for the Republic of Moldova — PCRM returning to government or the tentacles, which came off this party.


Confused Alliance EU — Moldova Forum