Speculative geopolitics. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

“The most recent proof of manipulation is the dissemination of untruths about the so-called geopolitics of the vaccine in the Republic of Moldova...”

1.  Pandemic speculations  

The Republic of Moldova as we know it – underdeveloped and dependent on external factors – is full of talents, including of all kinds of geopoliticians. That’s why together with the approaching of elections, these launch discourses about geopolitics. This kind of discourses is usually reduced to boring assertions about the advantages or dangers of Moldova’s presence in the spheres of influence of the regional or global powers. Evidently, there are politicians who risked displaying their originality pretentions. Everyone knows the original approach of the ex-coordinator of the executive power Vlad Plahotniuc, who, before the previous parliamentary elections, proposed the fourth way for Moldova – an alternative to the European integration and to the Eurasian integration and also to the union with Romania.

Plahotniuc’s geopolitical imitative was undertaken and reformulated creatively by the leader of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), Igor Dodon: Moldova should become a bridge between the East and the West. Such a formulation is extremely ingenious. The point is the bridges are usually narrow and are not adjusted for the transportation of excessive weight, this being their strategic advantage. This way the NATO tanks, for example, would be unable to use the Moldovan bridge for their military purposes. The conclusion is that the Republic of Moldova as a bridge between the East and the West would strengthen its status of permanent neutrality.

Recently, in the current pandemic context, the leader of the PSRM decided to extend the geopolitical theme on the vaccines, noting that: “When entry to a country is banned only because the vaccine was made in Russia, this is called geopolitics and has nothing to do with the people’s health!” The conclusion deriving from such an assertion is that the distorting of facts and dissemination of untruths are accredited as instruments of manipulation in the geopolitical struggle. Firstly, the Medicines Agency authorized the use of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V on February 26, 2021. Secondly, the immunization of the citizens with Sputnik V started effectively on May 4, based on the Ministry of Health’s Ordinance. Thirdly, the use of Sputnik V in the Republic of Moldova was authorized before the adoption of a decision by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is yet to do this

So, we convince ourselves that the banal speculations and misinformation for political goals are often packed in alleged geopolitical manifestations. However, we must admit that the imprinting by the leader of the PSRM of geopolitical connotations for the use of pharmaceutical products contains a huge potential of counteroffensive for its opponents. For example, there should be no impediments to the extrapolation of geopolitics to other consumer goods, such as cars, domestic appliances, clothes, etc. In this regard, it can be easily proven that the members of the PSRM and the candidates of the Electoral Bloc of the Communists and Socialists (EBCS) from geopolitical viewpoint are oriented to the West, not to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Even if the members of the PSRM use also Japanese, South-Korean, Taiwanese and other kinds of products, they anyway know that these countries that are producers of the mentioned goods, reached industrial and technological highpoint while in the spheres of geopolitical influence of the United States, not of the USSR or EEU.

2. Samples of inductive geopolitics

Against the background of the geopolitical speculations of leader №2 of the al EBCS, Igor Dodon, the figure of a politician who indeed resorted to geopolitics takes shape. Evidently, this is leader №1 of the EBCS Vladimir Voronin. During the rule of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) and the presidency of the Republic of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin made hallucinating geopolitical twists. Initially, obtaining a constitutional parliamentary majority of 71 seats based on the promise to include the Republic of Moldova into the Russia–Belarus Union, he distinguished himself at foreign level by saying that he is ready to transform Moldova into a Cuba of Europe (see page113) so as not to allow the NATO tanks to get to Bryansk. But the geopolitical pathos of President Voronin faded away during only a month, immediately after the separatist administration from Tiraspol banned his access to Transnistria. It was the climax that determined the geopolitical reorientation of Voronin, which was confirmed by the adoption of very important decisions and documents, with a major impact up to now:

signing, on November 13, 2002, of the decree on the constitution of the national commission for European integration, whose task was to work out the strategy for the European integration of  the Republic of Moldova;   

approval, on February 22, 2005, of the Republic of Moldova-European Union Action Plan;

reanimation, on April 22, 2005, of the regional organization GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova), pursuing the goal of combating phenomena that threaten regional security

approval, on July 6, 2006, of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) Republic of Moldova – NATO;

joining, on May 7, 2009, of the Eastern Partnership – an initiative aimed at strengthening and extending cooperation between the EU and the states from the Eastern dimension (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine) of the European Neighborhood Policy so as to support and accelerate their gradual rapprochement with the EU, etc. 

So, the geopolitical reorientation initiated by Vladimir Voronin was absolutely conscious, being promoted amid the commercial bans of 2006 on agricultural products from the Republic of Moldova and the direct involvement of the Russian Federation in the parliamentary elections of 2005. Currently, the leaders of the EBCS, both №1 and №2, behave like renegades in the field of geopolitics, as they did in the ideological field, renouncing the Communist and Socialist values, but keeping, in the name of the parties they manage, what they haven’t been long and could have never been in fact. This is done with the aim of manipulating so as to attract the support of electoral segments.

3. Conclusions

Together with the approaching of the snap parliamentary elections, the geopolitical speculations aimed at exploiting Moldovan citizens’ preferences concerning regional integration became more intense. Amateur geopoliticians intentionally distort information and untruths so as to amplify the polarization of the opinion of voters and, respectively, to increase the electoral scores.

The most recent proof of manipulation is the dissemination of untruths about the so-called geopolitics of the vaccine in the Republic of Moldova. To fight such kind of geopolitics, a hypothetical exercise of analyzing the property statements of the candidate of the EBCS in the snap elections would be useful. This exercise will definitely determine their geopolitical orientation depending on brands, from the West or from the EEU, of the cars these candidates possess. It would be an interesting and conclusive exercise with potential to discourage geopolitical speculations in the future.

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