Today's press conference of the Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova, informally led by the Moldovan President, Igor Dodon, supports the suspicion that his undeclared and denied plan to place the country under Russian control exists and is still in motion.
President Dodon returned from another trip to Moscow, after Dmitri Kiseliov, from Russia Today (RT) channel, closely affiliated with the Kremlin’s Presidential administration and on sanctions lists by the West, issued stark warnings to the Moldovan president to avoid another involvement with the Moldovan Democratic Party leadership and essentially seek a regime change, as Vlad Socor of Jamestown Foundation suggests. Kremlin dislikes the Democrats, as they played a pro-Western card for a while, even expelling Russian diplomats, despite being in a de-facto power sharing with the Socialists.[vi] The Democratic leadership was reported to be involved in the Russian Laundromat scheme[vii] and was also criticized by the European Parliament for state capture.
The Socialist Party press conference today was organized after RT criticism, post-negotiations with the Democrats and primarily to respond to the invitation of the self-declared pro-Western ACUM (meaning “Now”) block, to oust the Democratic Party in power until recently.
ACUM previously rejected the pro-Russian Socialist Party invitation to form a joint Government to oust Democrats. Such a Government would have been detrimental to ACUM’s image of anti-corruption and pro-Western party. The block launched a counter-invitation to the Socialists to vote for a minority, ACUM headed, Government, for the same purpose. The Socialist part refused the coalition in today’s press conference and seemingly forwarded a number of conditions for any support to a future government in the Republic of Moldova.
Apparently, as a part of the post electoral positioning in Moldova, ACUM may have lured the Socialists where Dodon’s party openly requested Russian to become the "inter-ethnic" language of the Republic of Moldova, making it the only overall language in a predominantly Romanian speaking Republic of Moldova, where over 80% of the population responds that it speaks Moldovan/Romanian language (Romanian is a part of the Romance/Latin language group, where the so-called Moldovan is in fact the same language, as linguists and Encyclopedia Britannica also recognizes).
The position of the Socialist Party voiced today, seemingly focused on several points and requests, foreign and linguistic policy related, reflecting previous concerns about Moscow’s goals:
2. The Socialists are again requesting to refrain from entry into European Union and NATO.
3. Russian language to have the inter-ethnic tongue statute.
4. Cancellation of the law restricting the re-broadcasting of certain Russian televisions in Moldova.
Their first request would put the Russian affiliated Socialists in complete control of both the Presidency and Parliament, Foreign affairs and Defense, as well as the intelligence community, de facto controlling the government completely.
The request for Russian language to become a tongue of inter-ethnic communication needs to consider that, in fact, the Russian language, by the law of 1989 on functioning of languages in the Republic of Moldova already has such a statute. The Socialists, in fact, requested an upgrade to the current statute. After USSR years of linguistic domination by Russia, despite the declared equality of languages, and the consequent independence movement based on the preservation and promotion of language, such a law would mean a return to the USSR status quo and firm re-arrangement of the Latin speaking Republic of Moldova into the “Russian World” a construct for Kremlin’s domination.
The fourth point on Socialists’ agenda was reopening of the Russian propaganda channels in the Republic of Moldova. This may also indicate that the warning signals from Moscow meant that they should be prepared for early elections.
The requests advanced by the Moldovan Socialists, after the return of President Dodon from Moscow, confirm the following important developments:
ii. The ACUM block, despite seemingly setting a trap to make such a stance transparent, might create tensions within its own pro-Western and anti-corruption electorate, due to the appeal to unite their forces with pro-Russian Socialists, involved in previous financial irregularities as well.
iii. That President Dodon’s previous plan to place the Republic of Moldova, via foreign, security policy, as well as Russian linguistic dependency of the “Russian World” firmly into Kremlin’s sphere of influence was reiterated today by other means and was real.
B. place Russian military in the “separatist” Transnistrian region in a permanent legal presence mode, providing a better, more operational position in the Black Sea vicinity,
C. allow Russian military more freedom to monitor or scout USA military installation at Deveselu Base and Costanta ports,
D. allow Russian business via Moldovan laws on citizenship via investment to circumvent US and EU sanctions, presenting themselves as Moldovan,
E. create a more permanent point of pressure and distraction for Ukraine, during a warm conflict in the East, in its South-West, despite initial failed attempts to create another Popular Bessarabian Republic in the South. It would lock and pull some of the military resources away from Donbass.
F. Ukraine’s and Moldova’s voters seem to have voted in various forms for a perceived anti-corruption and democratization of their societies. It is unclear if anti-corruption electoral promises in both countries are part of the modern trend or an actual reality. However, the failure of such promises would suppress hopes for a positive outcome for a number of citizens, generating another increase in migration where elderly, socially oriented voter base, might be closer to Russia and less knowledgeable about or inclined towards change.
By Vlad Lupan
New York, April 9, 2019
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