Pro-Russian left mounts “Trojan horse” for future presidential elections in Moldova. Op-Ed by Anatol Țăranu



The latest moves concerning the political positioning on the segment of the pro-Moscow left predict hard times for the Moldovan pro-European parties that are divided and that do not have a suitable candidate for the post of future mayor of Chisinau...


Anatol Țăranu

The “Trojan horse” is one of the most famous symbols and lessons of universal history coming from the ancient Greek legends, which embodies the falsity of enemies and naïve credulousness of their victims. According to the Greek mythology, the idea of a “Trojan horse” as a saving military method came to the mind of The Iliad hero Ulysses, who was one of the most legendary military leaders of ancient Greeks who failed to conquer the city of Troy after long battles. But the implementation of the “Trojan horse” method helped to conquer that fortress city that was unbeatable up to that moment and made craftiness become one of the most famous political qualities in history. In time, the expression “Trojan horse” was used in situations when a problem is solved by tricks or by a false solution that can change a situation from inside. It seems that the fame of the legendary Ulysses today inflames the image of some of the politicians in the Republic of Moldova, making them tributaries to the methods of the famous ancient hero.

Why is the cart put before the horse?

This perception started to take roots primarily after the mayor general of Chisinau Ion Ceban announced his intention to found a new political party called the National Alternative Movement. The news had broad resonance in the Moldovan information space, generating different comments and suppositions. Given this initiative that was made public, it should be noted that at the end of last year, the current mayor of Chisinau announced the creation of the National Alternative Movement that initially didn’t imply precise political affiliation. Nevertheless, during the last six months of its existence, the Movement announced under the aegis of the mayor hadn’t been active and palpable in the public sphere, remaining rather a declared initiative. It now turns out that based on this virtual movement, there will be founded a political party whose major objective will be to contribute to the European integration of the Republic of Moldova through the alleged modernization of all the aspects of its life.

Ion Ceban for now does not hurry to say who of the known persons will join his party and what sources will be used to finance the announced political project. Moreover, it turned out that there are now no draft programs or regulations of the new party and these are yet to be designed. This is weird as the politically active citizens usually decided to form a party based on a political program that they share and intend to put into practice. If this logical succession is not respected, the emerging situation can be described as putting of the cart before the horse. This can be an indicator of the political and technological vulnerability of the developed political project.

This technological awkwardness is even weirder if we remember that the previous election campaign of Ion Ceban in Chisinau was almost impeccably thought up from the viewpoint of the electoral technology and was successfully implemented. This enabled him to convincingly beat his main challenger Andrei Năstase in the mayoral elections in the capital city. The only explanation for such a situation resides in the big difficulty for Ion Ceban to justify his political leap from pro-Russian politician to a pro-European one. It is yet too early to draw final conclusions about the prospects of the announced party as there are not enough data for a comprehensive analysis of the situation.

He distanced himself from PSRM, but can he bank on the voters of this?

Nevertheless, particular perorations can be already seen at this stage. After he announced his future party’s commitment to promote the European integration course of the Republic of Moldova, Ion Ceban cut the umbilical cord that connected him with the Party of Socialists (PSRM) in which he held the post of secretary responsible for ideology until not long ago. Therefore, some of the political analysts suspect Ceban adhered to the European values insincerely. He rather accredited his effort to build a new European party by the attempt to play the role of a “Trojan horse” in the pro-European camp. Anyway, the wish of the mayor of Chisinau to distance himself from Dodon’s Socialists, who are spotted with corruption and are this way a heavy burden for any participant in the future electoral races, is evident.

Ion Ceban’s political leap to the pro-European camp, no matter how sincere it is, comes to confirm the big difficulties experienced by the political representatives of the pro-Russian left in the Republic of Moldova amid the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. The open political affiliation to Russia, which attacked Ukraine, at electoral level means a very probable defeat in the upcoming elections. That’s why Ion Ceban has to distance himself from direct association with Moscow’s policy but simultaneously not so evidently as to irremediably lose the sympathies of the supporters of the Russian world in Chisinau. By all appearances, the current mayor general of the capital city and his political consultants reached the conclusion that the most feasible method of solving the problem is to declare Ion Ceban’s adherence to the position of a pro-European politician. In this case, we are witnessing an amazing political metamorphosis of Ion Ceban only at first sight. In reality, the geopolitical reincarnation of the current mayor of Chisinau comes to only confirm the vitality of the principle described by the Machiavellian formula about the end that justifies the means on the Moldovan political arena.

Move with long battle

It is rather evident that, at this stage, for all those whose political or other interests are concentrated around the political figure of the current mayor of Chisinau, the electoral opportunity prevails over all the others. This, for its part, means that by his announcement concerning the founding of a political party, Ion Ceban gave the start not only of the election campaign for his reelection as mayor of Chisinau. Shortly after he announced his intention to found an own political party, his wish to run for a new term in office as mayor of Chisinau was confirmed. Following the logic of the political game, we can easily anticipate that in the future elections in Chisinau, the pro-Russian left, complying first of all with the pieces of advice coming from Moscow, will solidarily support Ion Ceban’s candidacy despite his new pro-European rhetoric. If the objective of his reelection as mayor of the capital city is achieved, Ion Ceban will become, with increased eventuality, the only candidate for the forces of the left in the upcoming presidential elections.

The latest moves concerning the political positioning on the segment of the pro-Moscow left predict hard times for the Moldovan pro-European parties that are divided and that do not have a suitable candidate for the post of future mayor of Chisinau. It is enough to look summarily at sociological polls to reach a disagreeable impression of the absence of charismatic political figures popular with the voters on the pro-European segment. The case of the high rating of Maia Sandu only accentuates the shortage of politicians with consistent electoral image in the pro-European camp. In this situation, we will yet see if the Moldovan pro-European leaders precisely realize the danger coming from the anti-European left that consciously applies the “Trojan horse” tactic so as to end the European perspective of the Republic of Moldova.  

Anatol Țăranu
doctor of history, political commentator

IPN publishes in the Op-Ed rubric opinion pieces submitted by authors not affiliated with our editorial board. The opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily coincide with the opinions of our editorial board.

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