Valentin Krilov: Dodon is a tremendous threat to peace and stability in Moldova. Election 2014

Politician Valentin Krilov is accusing politician Igor Dodon of being an instrument in some scenarios that might end in bloodshed in Moldova and in the region. These fears were discussed by Mr Krilov in an interview with IPN's Valeriu Vasilica.

- Mr Krilov, I understood from our preliminary conversation what would be the topic of our discussion. But why exactly did you decide to turn to IPN to do this interview and why now, just days before the election?

- I chose IPN because I have long, and greatly, appreciated your correctness in discussing the problems in our society, and me and my colleagues decided that this would be precisely the platform we needed to talk about what we think is really important now, during this election campaign, which can determine the fate and the existence of our country. In this context, Igor Dodon represents a tremendous and very real threat.

- Before we go any further discussing these assertions of yours, I'd like to make sure you understand that it's precisely in this spirit of correctitude that we will satisfy a potential right to reply, if requested, and that we might see a conflict of interest in your case.

- I am aware of the right-of-reply rules existing in journalism. As for the conflict of interest, we do have a conflict with Igor Dodon, who usurped our party, the Socialists Party, which we founded many years ago and we have sued him for this. However, I think it's rather about the threat represented by Igor Dodon to the vital interests of the country and society. This is why it's crucial to inform people during this election campaign, as clearly and as extensively as possible.

- What is your main accusation against the president of the Socialists Party?

- We are accusing him of placing the “Socialists Party” – “of the Republic of Moldova”, that is – not in a partnership relation, but rather at the service of a foreign country, making it a political instrument that encroaches on the stability, peace and the existence of the Republic of Moldova. And he is doing it for enormous amounts of money, which gives rise to reasonable suspicions. This makes him a real and huge menace for Moldova.

- Let's get things straight: when you say “a foreign country”, do you mean Russia? Should we be concerned about the billboards depicting Vladimir Putin in support of Igor Dodon?

- It's not only this and not only because such billboards fall afoul of any country's laws, because this is an indirect interference in Moldova's internal affairs; nor is this a decent thing to do, for that matter. Let me be crystal-clear: I am a Russian ethnically, but my motherland is the Republic of Moldova. This is why I hate seeing my country being entangled in such perilous games like those played by the ethnically Moldovan Igor Dodon.

- Where do you see the peril exactly?

- When great powers clash and the threat of a large-scale war is in the air, they try to draw that threat away from their own borders or plan to use alien territories in the case of a military conflict in order to protect their own populations and buy time. The Moldovans learned this the hard way on many occasions during the 20th century. We believe that Igor Dodon will have a leading part to play in a number of possible scenarios related to the ongoing campaign, to the outcome of the election and to the regional conjuncture, I'm talking in particular about the armed conflict in southeastern Ukraine. Perhaps it's the regional context that should be examined in the first place. By one scenario, in the event of a direct Russia-NATO confrontation, or in an attempt to prevent it, Russia could consider hitting Ukraine in the back and use Moldova as a foothold, instead of using just the Transnistrian region, which is currently inadequate for this because it has limited troops and is encircled by Chisinau and Kiev as in a pincer movement. For a military operation of such proportions, Russia may need the entire territory of the Republic of Moldova in order to use it for advancement and as a logistic area, with or without the consent of the Moldovan authorities.

- So this is why Dodon is needed in government? But will he be effectively in power, even if he makes it into the parliament?

- True, Dodon's odds of entering the Moldovan Parliament as well as of coming to power are quite low. I think that Vladimir Putin, who considers himself a world leader, is aware of this and he realizes that it will be his reputation, both in Moldova and domestically, and even in the eyes of other leaders, if the person who got his support doesn't make it or earns just a few seats in the parliament. I assume there are roles reserved for Dodon other than governing the country. At the stage of the campaign, of the election proper and right after the election, the intention is to destabilize the situation using the groups controlled by Dodon in Chisinau, in Balti, in the south and elsewhere. They will probably be joined by agents recruited from among the Moldovan Gastarbeiters, who basically have been forced to come back home to support Dodon, as well as agents deployed by foreign intelligence services. Similarly, it is planned to bring in Transnistrian residents in the tens of thousands to vote for Dodon. This means that the seeds of the 'Chisinau Maidan' have been sown, with all its consequences that we saw in neighboring Ukraine. I condole with the Ukrainians in their loss. It hurts to see a Ukraine at war, also affecting Russian settlements near the border. But what concerns me the most is the fate of my country and of its people, including fellow-ethnic Russians. In this respect, the things that Mr Dodon could potentially do immediately after the November 30 election to destabilize the situation in the country may lead to a bloodshed in Moldova.

- And if this scenario doesn't play out?

- There is a Plan B in this case, again featuring Dodon as the main tool. Either from within the parliament or outside of it, Dodon will continue to destabilize the situation, with the help mostly of the forces employed in the first scenario. If he makes it into the parliament after all, he will be the destabilizing element that will thwart the formation of a parliamentary majority, the appointment of a cabinet and the return to a normal life. In particular, he will attempt to remove not so much the current coalition but rather the Liberal-Democratic Party from the government and from the political processes overall, with all the financial and economic implications (it wasn't accidentally that he played an active role in removing Vlad Filat as prime minister and disbanding his Cabinet). If he again fails, Dodon will try to use the occasion of the presidential election, scheduled for 2016, to achieve his goals, if we can call them his.

Meanwhile, Moldova will face great threats, because Dodon as a politician has proved to everyone that he is in reality a political destroyer, that he is incapable of being a balanced statesman who would be guided by national interests and realities. There are a number of remarks that must be made here.

First. The Moldovans are today divided roughly in half: one half are supporters of the Eurasian vector and the other one supporters of the European vector;

Second. I and my fellow PSRM founders consider ourselves statists and we have always been in favor of the first option. At the same time, we have no right, if we proclaim to be reasonable and responsible people, to ignore the position of our opponents, who are practically as numerous as the group that shares our position. Moreover, we have been against a mechanical and hasty signing of the Association Agreement with the EU, without coordinating this in advance with Russia. But we also understand very clearly that a mechanical and hasty revocation of the Association Agreement after the parliamentary election will be an unreasonable thing to do as well. Instead, it will lead to a socioeconomic calamity and destabilization.

Third. When joining the PSRM, Dodon publicly declared on 22 December 2011 that it would be an utopian idea for now to seek membership in the Customs Union, given Ukraine's stance on this association. In 2012-2013, Dodon and his team of youths specialized in doing one thing – chant as hard as they could “We want you out!”. But our country has needed something else: growth, peace and stability and cooperation, instead of destruction and total negation. So, the destructive element in Dodon's political activity is obviously prevailing, and it's dangerous.

Four. Lately, Dodon has become a fervent advocate of the pro-Eurasian cause, demanding the revocation of the Association Agreement with the EU after the November 30 election, without specifying the financial sources that will be needed to compensate for the huge losses Moldova will face. Dodon is completely silent about this! It's obvious that Russia, while dealing with its own issues and paying the bills related to Crimea and eastern Ukraine, cannot afford to fully support the Moldovan economy as well. I'm not sure if Russia can afford to support politicians like Dodon on a permanent basis.

Five. Considering Dodon's professional skills and the ideas that he expressed during his campaign, if he earns a spot in government, Moldova's mutually advantageous relationships with neighboring Ukraine and Romania as well as with the EU, which today are vital for our country, cannot be either planned or realized. Dodon doesn't offer solutions acceptable for Moldova in the event of the Association Agreement's revocation, because he simply doesn't have any. He displays sheer populism and seems not to understand that dilettantism in politics is unacceptable.

His team is unable to provide clear and reasoned answers to the following questions: what will happen to the free movement of people? What job opportunities will the Moldovans preserve other than in Russia? What opportunities for economic growth and new jobs will our country have without the European projects, credits and grants? Who and how soon will compensate us for our losses if we become isolated from our current partners?

- What substantiates your assessments and conclusions on issues so serious and sensitive?

- I've been an active political actor over the past twenty-five years. All my answers are based on my experience accumulated in this period. Additionally, in all times, in every country, there have been honest and morally upright people. We cooperate, within the boundaries of the law, with experts from various countries. Being statists, our team members have worked, to the extent possible, to advance social equity in the country and promote Moldova's national interests.

- If these assumptions are true, why do you think Vladimir Putin chose Igor Dodon, who according the the latest polls has lower chances of being in government, instead of picking another 'partner' in Moldova to pursue his local, regional and global agenda?

- It may be that Vladimir Putin has someone else besides Dodon, but equally insignificant in terms of political weight and probity. Putin is backing Dodon openly because the latter accepts his role as a tool. Another explanation is that today in Moldova there are no other political forces and politicians who would accept to betray their country and help destabilize it and trigger a war in their own home. And perhaps there is no one else who would measure everything through glasses of money and violate all the laws for money like Igor Dodon.

- What laws are you talking about?

- I already mentioned the role of an instrument for the interference of a foreign country. Another example would be that Dodon severely violates the letter and spirit of the law, in particular, on party and campaign funding; he is doing it openly, blatantly, as if to test the patience of the state and society. For reasons unclear, the authorities are tolerating this behavior. For example, no one has so far reacted adequately to the financial affairs of Dodon's party both before and during the campaign. Oddly enough, not a single agency, be it the Integrity Commission, or the Tax Inspectorate, the Central Election Commission, not even the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, has checked the documents submitted by Dodon's party and has found any serious financial violation. But violations can be seen even without any thorough inspection. For example, it can be seen from the first financial report submitted by Dodon to the CEC that 23 people (including 12 parliamentary candidates) contributed a total of 1.8 million lei in membership fees during the election campaign alone. Can anyone explain how someone with an official monthly income of 2,500 lei can contribute 35-75,000 lei and more? When compared to other running parties, Dodon apparently isn't afraid of anything and anyone, but why? Maybe it's because Dodon started his campaign back in mid-December of the last year? He spent huge amounts of money, and their origin remains unproven to this day. Is this stolen money? Or is this a manifestation of the same interference by a foreign state, despite foreign funding being illegal for political parties?

- I'd like to go back to the earlier question about your conflict with Igor Dodon. How is the lawsuit progressing?

- We the founders of the Socialists Party, who Igor Dodon claims to have lawfully expelled, have initiated a number of lawsuits against him. We won one of them recently, on November 15. The court ordered Igor Dodon to pay over 40,000 lei for unlawfully ousting a party member from Gagauzia. Other lawsuits haven't seen any progress for 11-16 months now and we wonder why. Maybe it's because a number of party documents challenged in court are no longer valid, while some of them have been fabricated, and as a result wouldn't it be fair if Dodon's party were removed from the race and some particular employees of the Ministry of Justice were punished?

The same questions are true for the lawsuit brought by a group of reputed Moldovan chess players after Dodon used a similar takeover scheme to usurp the Moldovan Chess Federation.

Today we don't have a clear answer, but we believe that sooner or later justice will triumph. One thing is clear – without an adequate response from the competent authorities to the problem of political party funding, without effectively prohibiting financing from outside of the country, we don't have a chance to see any progress in the truly democratic sense.

This is one more, yet another, proof that in the November 30 election the Moldovan voters must eliminate this threat from the path of our country, disallow being lied to and be used later in some destructive scenarios that might end in bloodshed.

- How you you like to be presented and who do you represent?

- I represent some of the founders of the Socialists Party of Moldova and of the Coordinating Board of the PATRIA-RODINA Socialist Platform. Additionally, I hopefully also represent all the people with common sense who cannot allow puppet politicians come to power to cause destabilization and bloodshed.

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