Briefness first and foremost – November 27, 2018 IPN digest

After the Association of Sociologists and Demographers of Moldova published the sociological survey “Influence of institutional changes on citizens’ electoral behavior”, Ștefan Gligor, programs director at the Center for Policies and Reforms, called on the citizens to be very attentive as there is already a precedent when polls were used to shape public opinion in the campaign that preceded the local mayoral elections in Chisinau municipality. They were used to persuade the people that particular candidates do not enjoy popular support and that other candidates will pass particular thresholds or will meet particular expectations.

Executive director of the Institute for Strategic Initiatives Vlad Kulminski noted the real goal of the polls is to pave the way for the falsification of elections. “If there is a wide discrepancy between polls and the final result, this would be a problem. But if there is a trend that shows the government improved its rating and regained people’s confidence and the final result of elections is similar, this will look nicer and it will be harder to speak about the massive rigging of these elections,” said Vlad Kulminski.

By the way, the Chisinau Appeals Court rejected the application to review the annulment of the mayoral elections held in Chisinau this summer that was submitted by the non-validated mayor-elect of Chisinau municipality Andrei Năstase.

PAS leader Maia Sandu said the propaganda holding expands in the Republic of Moldova. “We refer to the holding of Plahotniuc, Dodon and, more recently, of Shor. The people who are indicated as owners of these TV channels are featured in the Kroll report. These are persons to blame for the theft of public funds. Besides the developments witnessed in the media sector, there is also the national TV channel that is financed with people’s money, but that promotes not the public interest, but the interests of representatives of the regime,” stated Maia Sandu.

Amid such a background, the European Union confirmed the reduction of financial support due to the ongoing deterioration of the rule of law and democracy in Moldova. The EU expects the Moldovan authorities to take urgent and immediate action to rectify the situation, and in particular to ensure the upcoming parliamentary elections are conducted in a credible, inclusive and transparent manner. Such statements were made by Christian Danielsson, European Commission Director General for European Neighbourhood Policy, and Thomas Mayr Harting, Managing Director at the European External Action Service for Europe and Central Asia, who are in Chisinau on a visit.

But the real dramas occur not in the upper echelons. Vitalie Șalari, mayor of Băcioi commune, said he is persecuted by representatives of the Democratic Party and is threatened that criminal cases will be started against him if he does not vacate the held post. According to him, attempts are being made to discourage him from running in the upcoming elections, including in the local elections in Băcioi commune, which holds political strategic interest for the Democratic Party.

By escalating the confrontation with Ukraine, Russia wanted to show who is a master at home, which is who controls the Kerch Strait, executive director of the Institute for Strategic Initiatives Vlad Kulminski stated, commenting on the conflict that arouse between Russian maritime border guards and Ukrainian sailors in the Kerch Strait on November 26.

On the same issue, ex-minister of defense of Moldova Valeriu Pleșca said the incident in the Kerch Strait was a provocation staged by Ukraine.

In such circumstances, the government announced that the bridge across the Nistru situate near Unguri and Bronnitsa localities on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border will be opened to international traffic for a trial period on November 28. Passenger and freight vehicles weighing at most 3.5 tonnes will be allowed to cross the bridge.

However, the Moldovan citizens who intend to travel to Ukraine are recommended to be maximally prudent when crossing the border and to be ready for additional checks on the part of the Ukrainian side.

No matter what happens on earth, the Moldovans have to sell the harvest. Moldova saw an increase in the fruit and berry harvest during the past few years, but the Moldovan farmers cannot export their products owing to the Russian ban and to the oversupply on traditional export markets. To facilitate the export of apples, the Government should sign free trade agreements not only with the EU and the CIS, but also with other states, such as India and the countries of Middle East where the population grows quickly.

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