Igor Boțan: Russia, EU, US interests converge in Moldova

The interests of Russia, European Union and the United States has converged as far as transfer of power in Moldova is concerned. This opinion was expressed by the political pundit Igor Boțan at a public debate organized by IPN and Radio Moldova.

Igor Boțan said that when the legal and institutional frameworks are concerned, we must start from the fact that Moldova is a sovereign, independent state that can solve its problems by itself. At the same time, it forms part of the international community and there is a framework by which the Republic of Moldova develops international relations with different partners. “If we refer to the events related to the crisis we experienced since June 7 until June 14, we should note two dates that are fundamental from my viewpoint  – June 3, when we had three high representatives of three important partners of the Republic of Moldova in Chisinau, of the United States, the European Union and the Russian Federation. The legal framework also exists. The Republic of Moldova has basic agreements with the United States and the Russian Federation and an Association Agreement with the EU,” stated the expert. According to him, there is also the institutional framework based on which the Republic of Moldova cooperates with the given partners, including within the OSCE.

The expert noted that given that the Republic of Moldova has an unsolved conflict, the Transnistrian one, there is that framework within which the three partners form part of the 5+2 mechanism and cooperate to find a solution. “If we refer to the fact that the Republic of Moldova, as part of Eastern Europe, has a situation that puts the stability in the country in question, with repercussions for the region, surely these three important factors are probably welcome to communicate with the Moldovan authorities so as to see how the existing problems can be solved and overcome,” stated Igor Boțan.

According to him, the EU has a decent, friendly approach towards Moldova, based on financial and trade-related support on condition that our country works to meet certain standards and control irregular migration.

“We understand very well what the EU wants from us. It puzzles me, for example, when people attribute to Mr. Vlad Plahotniuc concepts that he disaffirms. In the first interview that Vlad Plahotniuc gave after the February 24 elections, he talked about how big Moldovan society won from giving up geopolitics. Nevertheless, he is often mistakenly portrayed as an important geopolitical player,” said Igor Boțan.

According to the expert, Vlad Plahotniuc is also credited with the intention to seek EU membership, as the Democratic Party is labeled as a European party. “But we know that when the electoral campaign kicked off, Mr. Vlad Plahotniuc said very clearly: we won’t go with Europe, or Romania, or Russia, we will take a fourth path – sovereignty first. Ascribing any meaningful geopolitical agenda to Mr. Plahotniuc seems a bit exaggerated to me.”

On the role of the Council of Europe and its body of constitutional law experts, the Venice Commission, Igor Boțan said that its “verdict has made mincemeat of all the rulings passed by the Constitutional Court since 2013, related to the powers of the President and the procedure of dissolving Parliament”.


Igor Boțan added that Russia’s role in ensuring a peaceful transfer of power in Chisinau was very important as well. “I see the conversation that Mr. Plahotniuc and Mr. Kozak had as a conversation between two Russian citizens. They discuss how to solve some security issues of Moldova, such as federalization and foreign party financing. As a citizen of Moldova, I wonder if Russia has a right to do this.”

 

The expert added that the interests and approaches of Europe, United States and Russia have converged as far as the transfer of power in Chisinau is concerned. “We saw a decent approach from the Americans: politicians need some time to sort out a host of issues. And the representative of the United States had a decent reaction as well. Indeed, why would the Constitutional Court, whose duty is to help us overcome crisis situations, actually tried to extend a state of incertitude for a further half a year?”

The European Union’s approach was “very clear”, said the expert. “As concerns the rule of law, elections and so on, the EU has partners in institutions like the OSCE and the Venice Commission.”

A very dangerous crisis has been overcome, says Boțan, but still consequences can be serious. The myth of Moldova’s federalization will be exploited to divide Moldovan society. Boțan thinks that the main threat for the governing coalition stems from the Democratic Party’s desire to retaliate. “As long as this threat persists, (the coalition partners) have all the interest to remain united. Experience shows that if this threat starts dissipating just apparently, this is a reason to even more stay close together, because this means that PD is perhaps plotting something in secret, which is more dangerous.”

On Monday, IPN held a public debate titled “Peaceful transfer of power: reasons, conditions and consequences – the domestic factor”, which brought together representatives of the Demorcratic Party and the bloc ACUM. Socialist and Shor Party representatives were a no-show despite being invited.

The public debate  “Peaceful transfer of power: reasons, conditions and consequences – the foreign factor” is the 112nd installment of the “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” Series held with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.