Igor Boţan: Political culture is an expression of historical experience

The political culture is actually a collective mental construct and an expression of the historical and sociopolitical experience. Three are three types of politics culture: parochial, that of persons who obey an administration and participatory. Such a classification was presented in a public debate entitled “Political culture of Moldovan society: current state and trendies” that is the 100th of the series “Developing political culture through public debates”, organized by IPN Agency and Radio Moldova.

According to Igor Boţan, parochial political culture is based on tradition and it is believed that traditions are from God and are not created by the people. That’s why the parochial political culture persists in villages. The second type is the political culture of those who obey an administration and this is typical for particular societies, such as the Republic of Moldova, which went through a Communist, Socialist phase, when there was the “beloved leader” and the people thanked him for all the accomplishments. The third type is the participatory political culture that is typical of the urban areas and is based on good laws. These laws are made by the people and can be improved for the benefit of society through the people’s participation.

The expert noted in Moldova there is a kind of political culture that can be said to be the expression of the historical memory of society. “We started to rebuild our society according to nice, Western, European, American models. We copied our Constitution from Romania and this is imitative democracy. Romania, for its part, adjusted it to the needs of Romanian society based on the French model. After the Communist system fell, our societies – Moldovan society, Romanian society – started to build a model similar to that of an area that was attractive to us, the EU. But the process looks more like an imitation,” he stated.

“The Republic of Moldova lags behind, while Romania made conservable progress. What characterizes us is that state of initiative democracy when we build the Constitution, the laws by very nice, advanced models. But we should fill them with Moldovan substance that has no other characteristic than that of being an expression of our historical past. The positive side is yet that there is a model to which we tend and even if we have imitative democracy and the forms and contents are somehow dissonant, we go towards victory.”

The expert noted the Association Agreement with the EU offers Moldovan society the model and benchmarks to which it should tend and Moldova goes in this direction, despite all the difficulties and problems. The resolutions of the European Parliament are not a blame vote, but rather a call to return to normality. The political organizations, parties are somehow imitative in Moldova: “They do not have the traditions of the parties form the area to which we tend, but they work somehow and go on and we should hope that they will yet become machines for forging staff for the central, local administration”.

Igor Boţan noted that before the parliamentary elections, there are three very important established political forces and there is also the fourth force that is being constituted. The Party of Socialists considerably exploits the political segment that embraces the parochial political culture. From technological viewpoint, this is a find. The second very important segment that enters the elections is the centrist segment dominated by the ruling Democratic Party. This party exploits the political culture of submissive people. “By this behavior, the leader of the PDM imposes himself and attracts electorally… If Amnesty International in its recent reports says the situation of democracy, human rights worsened dramatically, the people anyway say there are also successes. This is another aspect of this political culture that we shaped in the Soviet period,” stated the expert.

According to him, the pro-European segment is the third one. It is the segment that explores the participatory spirit of the Moldovans who consider the state is a product of society, not of God. According to them, the people make laws and sovereignty belongs to the people. If the laws and administration are improper, the citizens should become involved, including by protests, and should contribute to bringing society to normality, to the model we set.

Igor Boţan said unionism is the fourth segment, whose future is uncertain, but this is very interesting now as a phenomenon. There are three types of unionists: unionists of the heart, unionists of the reason and social unionists. Even if a dozen of parties declared themselves unionist, a part of them are heading for the electoral bloc ACUM.

As regards the Shor Party, this party, by the offered presents and its social stores, shows and emphasizes how poor the people in the country are and how easily they can be converted to a political force if they are given presents. The idea of kolkhozes promoted by this party actually refers to the creation of cooperatives that exist in a large number in the West.

According to Igor Boţan, there are four directions that are the reliable expression of the expectations of citizens from particular segments of the political culture. “The situation is not so bad to say there are no pluses. The bad things we experience are an expression of the state of fact as something like this wouldn’t have happened in the Republic of Moldova if it hadn’t been possible. What is happening in the political sphere, the offers made by the main political players in a way mean exploitation of the political culture.”

Representatives of the Democratic Party and the Party of Socialists were also invited to the debate, but the invitation was rejected.

The debate “Political culture of Moldovan society: current state and trendies” forms part of the series of public debates staged by IPN News Agency and Radio Moldova as part of the project “Developing political culture through public debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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