“Currently, President Dodon has the extraordinary opportunity, for example, to announce the loss of confidence in the mayor of Bălți Renato Usatyi against whom a criminal case was started in Moscow, as against the governor of Khabarovsk region was. It would be an extraordinary exercise before the presidential elections so as to test in practice how ready the Republic of Moldova is for the Russian federalist model. The arrest of the governor of Khabarovsk region Sergey Furgal showed how sustainable the state of Putin is and how much the citizens respect him. The persecution of the mayor of Bălți Renato Usatyi could show the same in relation to Igor Dodon...”.
At the July 24, 2020 meeting with journalists, President Igor Dodon made a series of memorable statements. He reminded that the politicians think about one thing, but say another thing, which is fully typical of him actually. Why does it happen so? Because, with the accumulation of experience and under the pressure of circumstances, he has to change his views on the solving of the problems faced by the Republic of Moldova. The goal yet remains the same – consolidation of statehood.
Why no one envies the Moldovans?
Even if he flirted with journalists, President Dodon could not hide the fact that he thinks about the second term of office. If this hadn’t done so, the presentation of a broad report on the work done as President on August 24, right before the start of the election campaign, would have been of no use. It’s clear that the presentation of the report is a starting point of the election campaign. We were already informed that the promised report will contain not what he promised to do, but collateral things which he believes he managed to do. An example in this regard is the behavior of his Russian counterpart who is venerated and copied by President Dodon.
At the start of his term in office, Igor Dodon even made a confession: “I positively envy the citizens of Russia for having such a leader (Vladimir Putin). I think your President did a lot to strengthen patriotism and statehood and this is the most important thing. The country does not have a future without this. We lack this”. From this statement, we can deduce that Moldova’s main problem is that no one envies the Moldovans. Why should they be envied if their President says: “Your” (0.26; 2.03; 2.30) to an impostor-coordinator of the state power, who, for his part, treated him like a subordinate (7.12).
So, President Dodon admits that he learns from the experience of his Russian counterpart who promised to the citizens: (1) economic growth, (2) cooperation on the international arena for improving the country’s prestige, (3) ensuring of political competition in the country so as to stimulate internal development etc., but in fact offered them: (1) economic stagnation, (2) severe economic sanctions on the part of the civilized world, (3) consolidation of the vertical of power and quasi-total control over domestic political processes through the police force and aggressive propaganda. Nevertheless, President Putin was reelected in 2018 for a new six-year term, until 2024.
Why shouldn’t Igor Dodon win a new term in office? He could succeed, but, as we mentioned above, no one envies the Moldovans. That’s why President Dodon informed us that he became more mature, gained experience and will not blindly follow in the footsteps of his Russian counterpart, who became the leader of the pole of a multipolar world, formed of states with authoritarian regimes, with practically irremovable leaders and gerontocratic elites.
Model of sustainable state
The Republic of Moldova does not yet have a developed strategy for ensuring sustainable stability according to the Russian model, while the advisers to President Putin worked out such a country strategy – Putin’s sustainable state, the fourth stage in the millenary development of Russia, after the three pervious stages: state of Ivan III (Grand Duchy/Kingdom of Moscow and all Russia, 15th – 17th centuries); state of Peter the Great (Russian Empire, 18th-19th centuries); state of Lenin (Soviet Union, 20th century); respectively, state of Putin (Russian Federation, 21st century).
We could have had something similar, if not a strategy or at least a national idea, but Moldova’s coordinator Vlad Plahotniuc, the author of the conception of the fourth path for Moldova, fled the country. But nothing and nobody prevents the undertaking of the ideas and conception of the ex-coordinator.
Obstacles to strengthening of statehood – unionism and federalism
Of what President Dodon stated, we could deduce that the efforts to strengthen Moldova’s statehood meet with two serious obstacles – unionism and the unsolved Transnistrian problem. During his first term in office, he didn’t manage to ban unionism and President Dodon announced that he intends to do this during his second term of office. For the purpose, article 142(1), which allows reviewing the status of the Republic of Moldova as a sovereign and independent state by referendum, is to be removed from the Supreme Law. If the sustainable state of Dodon is to be built by such a procedure, it is not excluded that the effect will be the opposite. It is simply dangerous to deprive a considerable section of the population of an ideal, either achievable or illusory. The evolution of the quality of life in Moldova is the ticking clock that brings the country closer or distances it from the unionist ideal.
For the second problem, President Dodon assured us that the solution will be found in a period, after his eventual reelection, noting that the Transnistrian settlement is no longer possible through the federalization of the Republic of Moldova. In fact, the given problem can be solved elegantly, as the June 2019 dialogue of the President and the coordinator of that period showed– two settlement plans are drafted – a secret, authentic one that takes into account Russia’s wishes and another one to throw dust in the general publics’ eyes so that the people do not protest. For the purpose, in the second plan the notion of federalization is substituted with that of special status (3.30 – 4.00) and the problem is like solved.
In fact, the strategic partners from the Russian Federation know very well how promising the idea of federalism can be, especially because they experienced this themselves, in Khabarovsk region. In Russia, the President changes the governors like the gloves if he loses confidence in them. In Moldova, the situation is different. President Dodon cannot lose confidence in the governor of Gagauzia in the unitary state Moldova. Nevertheless, the Russian partners feel they have the right to impose federalism models on us. The given idea is possibly not so bad. Currently, President Dodon has the extraordinary opportunity, for example, to announce the loss of confidence in the mayor of Bălți Renato Usatyi against whom a criminal case was started in Moscow, as against the governor of Khabarovsk region was. It would be an extraordinary exercise before the presidential elections so as to test in practice how ready the Republic of Moldova is for the Russian federalist model. The arrest of the governor of Khabarovsk region Sergey Furgal showed how sustainable the state of Putin is and how much the citizens respect him. The persecution of the mayor of Bălți Renato Usatyi could show the same in relation to Igor Dodon. Indeed, if the President of Moldova copies the Russian President, why shouldn’t the pound people of Moldova treat him like that of Russia?
Victor Pelin for IPN