Guțul eclipsed Vlah? Op-ed by Victor Pelin

“An old proverb says that a change of rulers is the joy of fools, as is a change of duos. From this point of view, the former governor of Gagauzia should not envy the current governor, just as she should not be angry with Igor Dodon’s rancorous attitude....”

Igor Dodon's rancorous reaction

Ahead of March 8, Vladimir Putin offered the Gagauz governor Yevgenia Guțul a gift, allowing her to take pictures with him. The image of the two made the leader of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), Igor Dodon, react rancorously. He  didn’t hesitate to remind the former governor, Irina Vlah, that she also had the opportunity to meet with Putin, but only in the presence of the President of the Republic of Moldova, that is in his presence. The hint is that currently Yevgenia Guțul’s value is higher than that of Irina Vlah, and President Maia Sandu is to blame for this. From the abovementioned, we can see that Putin’s influence on a number of Moldovan politicians is similar to that of the Indian python Kaa on some of the jungle creatures.

Under the burden of continuous electoral failures and daily worries, the PSRM leader lost his flair as a gallant gentleman. The point is that in the post-Soviet space, it is an unforgivable blunder to compare the virtues of two ladies instead of admiring them ahead of March 8. This blunder could cost Igor Dodon a lot as his access to the “Moldova Platform”, from which Irina Vlah insists on fielding a common opposition candidate for the presidential election of this autumn, could be limited.

If she was as rancorous, Irina Vlah could also remind Igor Dodon that he was also introduced to Putin, and not by anyone, but by a lady – Zinaida Grechanyi. What matters is what came into Putin’s good graces.  In this regard, she could remind him that during his four-year presidential term, Igor Dodon had over 70 meetings with Putin, which resulted in... nothing. And yes, currently, the Russian elites, in their efforts to destabilize the Republic of Moldova, prefer to have as a partner the fugitive oligarch, Ilan Shor, less Igor Dodon, and this fact was confirmed by SIS. Therefore, Irina Vlah, in her political efforts, still has chances, under certain circumstances, to surpass Yevgenia Guțul.

New times, new people

From the aforementioned, we can see that the former Dodon-Vlah duo, based on mutual support, was exchanged, in Moscow, for the Shor-Guțul duo. On this occasion, fugitive Ilan Shor resorted to fundamentally changing his political landmarks and preferences, giving up geopolitical neutrality. It couldn’t have been otherwise because he who pays the piper calls the tune. Respectively, Ilan Shor declared himself a promoter of Eurasian integration: “Today, for Moldova, I have said this several times and I will repeat it here with great pleasure, the open accession to the Eurasian Economic Union is the only salvation. Because today the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Russia are the only friends and saviors for the Republic of Moldova.” Obviously, Igor Dodon and Irina Vlah can no longer be so trenchant in openly expressing their geopolitical preferences because they have changed them so many times that it is unsuitable for them to do so again.

But how does Ilan Shor argue the necessity of the Republic of Moldova joining the EAEU and the rapprochement with Russia? Evidently, resorting to statistics and invoking figures, which should prove that the Republic of Moldova, under Maia Sandu’s government, reached a deplorable situation, and Russia, governed by Putin, is a flourishing country. So, let’s stop a little in the realm of statistics to follow Ilan Shor’s logic. For example, in 2020, when Maia Sandu became President of the Republic of Moldova, there were 1,220 schools in the country. The year her four-year presidential term expires, we have only 1,201 schools, by 19 schools fewer or by 1.6% less. Now let’s compare what happened in Russia, during Vladimir Putin’s presidency, into which Ilan Shor and his followers urge the Moldovans to integrate. Statistics show that in a quarter of a century, from 1999 to 2024, during which Putin served two terms as head of government and four terms as head of state, the number of schools decreased by about 28,200 or 41.4%!  Last year alone, more than 190,000 Russian teachers decided to resign and these were mostly primary school teachers the number of whom during Putin’s last six-year term declined by about 15,000, etc.

Evolution of number of schools and religious organizations in Russia from 1990 to 2022 (thousands)

The number of hospitals has halved during Vladimir Putin’s rule. But it is also true that during Putin's rule, the Russian spirituality has grown dramatically, with the number of churches increasing twice, from about 21,300 to approximately 41,900. Instead, the number of mosques rose by only 7% and this angered Muslims in Russia. Respectively, as a sign of gratitude for the doubling of the number of churches against the halving of the number of schools and hospitals, Patriarch Kirill blessed the Russian aggression against the brotherly Ukrainian people. This is how the Russian World looks like!


An old proverb says that a change of rulers is the joy of fools, as is a change of duos. From this point of view, the former governor of Gagauzia should not envy the current governor, just as she should not be angry with Igor Dodon’s rancorous attitude.

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