on the organization of the debate “What should Moldovan society know and do over the ‘disturbing ’ statements about the Republic of Moldova made by foreign officials?”, the 21st installment of the “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” Series.
Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
Debate 21 was exemplary for the entire Project and we feel it was a success in a number of ways:
1. All the speakers, including high-ranking state officials, had their messages significantly adjusted to the Project's message regarding the problem of political culture in Moldovan society, which indicates that they prepared specifically for this public appearance;
2. All of the invited speakers showed up, despite this appearing to be a significant challenge for many of them, as the situation around the wine ban imposed by Russia required extreme caution in public statements to avoid an escalation;
3. We feel that the debate's subject had been planned professionally and with foresight, as it anticipated the emergence of some serious problems exactly around the area to be discussed. Thus the debate was an opportunity to provide the general public with samples of useful analysis and civilized behavior at the most well-timed moment;
4. Many media representatives attended the event, staying through it and actively asking questions in its final stage; they also stayed after the debate to continue communicating with the speakers in the informal setting of the 'coffee-break'. We can thus conclude that the media showed interest both in the debate's subject itself and for the competent sources of information that the Project was able to bring together so opportunely.
All this means that the Project has succeeded in asserting itself as a discussion platform that is professional, reliable and highly regarded by both stakeholders and media representatives. The specific subject of political culture promoted by the Project is increasingly regarded by both the political class and society as critical and deserving greater attention, and as playing an important role in the country's present and future politics.
Below are some of the debate's highlights:
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Valeriu Lazar said that Moldova has yet a lot to do to develop the political culture. “Rogozin is part of the active politicians' lot and an active politician has to play a role when he is on stage. We must understand that we have a test to pass.”
Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Vasile Bumacov said that he made everything possible to prevent political influence on the economic relations between the two states. “As a citizen, I say that this political pressure would have a different effect if we were more united. Russia has its own interests that it propagates as it can. If our society was united, these statements would be more temperate. I often said in Moscow that we the politicians come and go, but we should make effort to prevent hatred between peoples. We react to any observation and take action. It is regrettable that such actions take place”.
Deputy Speaker Andrian Candu said the Moldovan politicians expected different kinds of pressure before the Vilnius Summit. “We must take into account the context and what happens at regional and global levels. Russia pursues its own goals and will make effort to keep Moldova within its sphere of influence. Studies show that Moldova is at a crossroads between the East and the West and there are both advantages and disadvantages here. We must have a culture and create messages that will contribute to building, not destroying. Russia is an important partner. We must have tolerant and wise messages.
The head of the Liberal reformers’ group Ion Hadarca said that Russia has a similar behavior towards all its neighbors. “We make maximum effort and look humiliated. Our Lithuanian friends warned us that the relations with those from the East will worsen. Lucidity is needed. It is important to keep the political class and society united. The wheel of history moves with difficulty now, but it is heading for the EU, where we belong”.
Director of the publication “Ziarul de Garda” Alina Radu said that she represents a media outlet that resisted many ‘embargos’ as a result of which they learned lessons. She spoke about the reaction of young people on social networking sites, who joined in a common effort to promote the Moldovan wines on the domestic and foreign markets. “It’s wonderful what happened in the media and the social networking sites. The foreign media do not write about Moldova every day. Now Russia made us a favor. It criticized us, in parts fairly, and we benefited from the reaction of the foreign officials, who sent messages of support to us. It’s a kind of gift for the country and the government coalition”.
Expert of the IPN project Igor Botan said the things that are now considered bothering in Moldova are something normal. “As regards the political culture, there is nothing unordinary. The politicians reacted appropriately. The attitude is positive and calm. I saw a very good international reaction in favor of Moldova. Such situations come as a shock. An acquaintance of mine from Russia told me that if we cannot protect our own consumers, who poisoned themselves at a restaurant two times and even died, we cannot guarantee that what we export is of a very good quality”.
The Agency published 7 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 12.09.13, “Russia’s actions are a test for Moldova, which should react calmly, debates” - http://ipn.md/en/special/56883, “http://ipn.md/en/special/56877 , on 13.09.13, “Some politicians go to Moscow to convince Russians to press us, official” - http://ipn.md/en/special/56883 , “Moldova’s economy will resist pressure, Valeriu Lazar” - “http://ipn.md/en/politica/56886 “Vilnius Summit is approaching and it’s vital to keep political unity, Ion Hadarca” - http://ipn.md/en/special/56887 , “Coming of Vilnius Summit increases pressure on Moldova, Andrian Candu” - http://ipn.md/en/special/56888 , on 13.07.13 “People that enjoy decent living conditions can be united, Igor Botan” - http://ipn.md/en/special/56910 , “Russian embargo strikes those who want to sell grapes, opinion” - http://ipn.md/en/special/56911.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN