Ștefan Gligor: A neutral country does not mean an impotent army


The neutrality of a state is not equivalent to an unfit army, and Moldova must strengthen its capabilities no matter what Russia and its “agents of influence” might say. This is the opinion of Ștefan Gligor, the president of the Party of Change.

“A neutral state is not part of a military coalition, (...) but that does not mean that a neutral state must have an impotent, incapable army, unable to defend its own territory and its own citizens,” said the politician during an IPN debate, which discussed additional military support promised to the Republic of Moldova by the EU.

According to Ștefan Gligor, the Moldovan army is, with some exceptions, poorly equipped and poorly trained, and would fail in the event of a military invasion, while strengthening defense capabilities has become “a taboo subject”. “The current PAS government speaks half-heartedly, almost in a whisper about these things. What is the problem with raising the subject and determining that there is a need to equip the army? What is the problem? That we are neutral? We are indeed, according to the Constitution. But neutral is not synonymous with the word impotent or unfit. We need a realistic strategy to reorganize the National Army, to professionalize it in the shortest possible time”.

Responding to critical voices saying that accepting any Western support for strengthening Moldova’s resilience would get us in trouble, Gligor said: “It is a mistake and a lack of analytical capacity on the part of those people who say that a more assertive discourse about our defense necessities would be a provocation; that it would somehow upset the Russian Federation to the extent that it will come to occupy us”, adding:

“Had the Russian Federation had the military capacity to carve a corridor all the way to Transnistria, (...) the Republic of Moldova would be forced to federalize on the terms that Vladimir Putin will consider fit and no one would ask you what you think. If we are a state, if we have a homeland, we must know how to defend it, no matter what plans and how irritated someone would be by our desire to have a functional state and a homeland”, said the politician.

In the same context, Ștefan Gligor suggests that the politicians who oppose Western support, referring in particular to representatives of the PSRM and the Shor Party, are Russia’s “agents of foreign influence”. The president of the Change Party criticized the handling of the formal investigations that were supposed to prove the foreign and illicit financing of such parties. “In a country where there is no prosecution service, there is no political life within the limits of the law. Justice reform, you know, is directly related to national security, including military security”, said Gligor.

According to him, the PSRM, the Shor Party and others have recently used the ban on the symbols associated with Russian military aggression in Ukraine “to resume the processes of dividing Moldovan society along the geopolitical line”.

“I’m sure there is a plan, both by the kleptocratic oligarchy and by foreign agents, on how to exploit – how should I say it? –   this moderate capacity to manage public affairs by the current government, with the purpose of overthrowing it. The messages they send are messages of mobilization. This mobilization is done for certain purposes. We have all seen the latest polls: if parliamentary elections were held today, the Socialist Party, the Shor Party and the Communist Party would beat PAS to take the parliamentary majority. And if we add the political capital of (Ion) Ceban, who will certainly be part of the formula, then it will be a landslide victory”, declared Ștefan Gligor, president of the Party of Change.

The debate was the 244th installment of the “Political Culture” Series, run by IPN with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.