Story of white bull is not most boring one... Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

“What we know with certitude is that the opposition over the past two years made us feel bored with its: calls to launch the common national front; to combine the forces; to identify the common agenda; to de-capture the state etc. Poor us. We believed that there is no other more boring story than the story of the white bull. Now we now that the most boring story is that of the combination of forces of the Moldovan opposition. What can the ambassadors have to do with this?...

Combination of protest élan with epistolary genre  

After the local elections of November 5, 2023, the opposition was to be consolidated so as to remove the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) from government. Immediately after the elections, on November 6, public opinion was informed that the meeting where the opposition was to be consolidated was put off until after the validation of elections. One more month passed and on December 6 we learned about the convocation of a conference titled “Lessons we can draw from local elections of 2023 and prospects of democracy in Moldova”. After the lessons were drawn, they reached the conclusion that: “The opposition should unite so as not to allow the state to be captured”. So, this is the method of manifesting the combative élan of the opposition, aimed at removing the PAS from power. So, we have to only patiently wait until the opposition combines forces to save democracy. Fortunately, not all the opposition forces agree to sit on the fence.

Evidently bored with the interminable calls to combine the forces of the opposition, a party leader decided to resort to a maneuver to mobilize the external forces to aid the opposition, impressing these with the soundness of his arguments against the PAS’ dictatorship. This is the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM), Vlad Filat, who lost his patience after the call made before the election campaign prior to the local elections was ignored even if the arguments were sound: “Today all the parties are in opposition to the PAS. The PAS is alone”. So, it was easy to presume that this could have been beaten. Especially because the PAS “is not a party, but an extremist organization. After Moldova without Voronin, we now have to say stop PAS”.

In the given circumstances, three months later, anticipating the results of the conference of December 6 – resumption of discussions about the necessity of joining the forces of the opposition - the leader of the PLDM ostentatiously decided to singularize himself and to publish an open letter addressed to the ambassadors of the U.S. and the member states of the European Union (EU). In his letter, as a real apostle of democracy, Vlad Filat called on the community of ambassadors to interveneto save democracy” in the Republic of Moldova from the “mixture of incompetence, irresponsibility, immaturity and unselfishness of the current government, which transformed the RM into authentic dictatorship” etc.

Consequences of rejected proposal

For the leader of the PLDM, the innate vices and capital sins of the PAS became evident swiftly, in approximately a year of his release from jail, in 2019. It happened after the presidential election of 2020, when he made a cooperation proposal to the PAS, inviting this to “a dialogue on the creation of an Electoral Bloc which would contend in the snap parliamentary elections of November 1 with a common list of candidates”. The proposal was yet rejected by the PAS leader Maia Sandu, who stated that: “It’s time to get rid of those who enrich themselves illegally... The voters got tired of THIEVES”. The response was probably treated as manifestation of the selfishness of Maia Sandu and the PAS. Surely, the PAS leader could have acted in a more delicate way and have reminded Vlad Filat that after having been set free, when he was asked if he intended to return to politics, he answered: “I don’t think I will. In a direct way – no, but I would like my experience and knowledge in the field to be useful to those interested. Political consultation, if someone likes, but not an imposed one”.

Among the consequences of the rejection of the PLDM’s proposal was the fact that the party’s candidate in the presidential election polled only 1.4% of the vote. The given result revealed that the partnership proposed by the PLDM, which was rejected by the PAS, didn’t have any value added. Consequently, the PLDM resigned itself, being determined not to take part in the parliamentary elections of 2022. The leader of the PLDM probably felt humiliated as the PAS didn’t show at least wish to resort to the political consultation that Vlad Filat offered to provide. There is an axiomatic truth – humiliation causes hatred, and the latter is manifested through the stigmatization of the object of hatred with the most detestable label. This is how the PLDM leader started his campaign against the PAS: The PAS party led by Maia Sandu was generated by Plahotniuc... If I (as a politician) wouldn’t have been destroyed, the PAS wouldn’t have ever appeared”.

Multiple calls by the PLDM to the opposition to combine forces against the PAS followed and a lot has been said about this. These are the circumstances in which the PLDM leader ran out of patience, leaving the impression that he is close to launching into a tirade of cursing against the PAS. Fortunately, he refrained from cursing, resorting only to a tirade of condemnations expressed within a so-called manifesto entitled expressively I condemn!

Why shouldn’t Vlad Filat condemn himself?

In its political activities, the PAS was confronted with accusations that it is a simple derivative of the PLDM as many former members of the latter joined the first. This fact was speculated insistently by the political opponents of the PAS, obliging the party to deny, both by attitudes and by deeds, any compromising relationship with the PLDM. The problem is that the most prolific politician speculating on this was a confidante of the PLDM leader – Bogdan Țîrdea, who converted into Socialist. The latter, out of propaganda reasons, responded, for example, on the eve of the snap parliamentary elections of 2021 with such invective: “The PAS list is full of former members of the PLDM. It is now clear why Vlad Filat was set free, before the fall of the Sandu Cabinet?

Evidently, Țîrdea’s role should not be exaggerated. However, the relations of this with Filat were special. These relations were invoked by the once grey eminence of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM), Marc Tkachuk – a very well informed person. In his manifesto “Manuscripts do not burn”, devoted to the choice between money and politics made by the leader of the PLDM, Marc Tkachuk noted: “while Filat was struggling against the puppeteer, his propagandist Bogdan Tirdea, with fife and drum, vociferated the denouncing escapades of Filat against Plahotniuc”. This is a truth that was confirmed by Vlad Filat himself, who admitted that Țîrdea was his confidante: “In general, I do not enter into polemics with my former employees, but the impudence shown by Bogdat Țîrdea defies not only common sense, but especially the reality. So, my former employee, Bogdat Țîrdea, turned from the supporter of European integration into an active Socialist MP, who joined the PSRM, apropos, also with my consent, doesn’t stop attacking me and the PLDM... What is surprising in the case of Bogdat Țîrdea, who during a rather long period of time was paid by me, is that he has the capacity to serve anyone who offers him ‘an envelope’.

Let’s now return to the condemnation manifesto of the leader of the PLDM against the PAS. Nothing of what is condemnable and is attributed to the PAS government, except for the state of emergency, was absent in the government led by Vlad Filat, who left a distressing legacy. Moreover, the sins of Filat’s government include the rewarding of journalists and propagandists through ‘envelopes’, which is their corruption, their infiltration into other parties, etc. as Vlad Filat admitted that he acted with regard to Bogdat Țîrdea. From this viewpoint, it would be right for Vlad Filat to condemn himself for being a victim of what Marc Tkachuk, in his “Manuscripts do not burn”, defined as exchange of politics for money. Apropos, the multiple sins of the PAS government can however be blamed on Russia’s war against Ukraine, which Vlad Filat apparently didn’t condemn, preferring to speak in laudatory terms about Vladimir Putin and his skills.

However, like father like son

In his crusade against the PAS, Vlad Filat used half-truths. One of the half-truths is that Plahotniuc took his body, while the PAS took his soul”. In fact, Plahotniuc converted only a part of the PLDM’s body, while the other part of the body joined the PAS and occupied the highest state posts. What we can say with certitude is that – yes!, Vlad Filat’s spirit is in the PAS. But the paradox is that Vlad Filat condemns namely the PAS’s actions committed in the spirit of the PLDM. In particular, it goes to what he called the intellectual theft committed by the PAS. He meant the conversion of mayors ahead of the local elections. The point is the first en masse conversion of mayors, in the contemporary history of the Republic of Moldova, was staged by the PLDM exactly when the party’s leader held the post of Prime Minister. It goes to the general local elections of June 5, 2011, when more than half – 146 - of the 287 mayors elected on behalf of the PLDM turned out to be former mayors converted mainly from the PCRM and the Our Moldova Alliance (AMN). This was the first intellectual theft committed not by someone, but by the PLDM. The given accomplishment can be verified on the portal Anticorupție, in the Excel file.

With a small effort and with the help of the
website of the Central Election Commission (CEC), we can see that in the recent general local elections of November 5, 2023, the PAS obtained 291 seats of mayor and 103 seats of these belong to former mayors who were mainly converted from the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) and from the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM). So, elementary calculations show that only approximately 70% of Filat’s spirit snuggled up to the PAS. This is a shameful accomplishment. Anyway, we convinced ourselves of the justness of the proverb “like father like son”.

Dilemma of ambassadors

The PLDM leader’s letter addressed to the community of the resident ambassadors of the U.S. and the EU in the Republic of Moldova can place these before a dilemma – to intervene or not with reactions to Vlad Filat’s condemnations, as he requested from these. In this story, one thing is curious, namely that when he was Prime Minister, the leader of the PLDM banned the Moldovan ambassadors working abroad from commenting on the political situation in the Republic of Moldova. Vlad Filat was bothered if the foreign governments learned from the first source what was going on in the country he governed. Currently, as the leader of an opposition party, the leader of the PLDM would like the governments of the EU member states and the U.S., at his request, to become involved through the agency of their ambassadors in the internal situation in the Republic of Moldova. This is a strange, absolutely asymmetric attitude adjusted exclusively to the personal interests of Vlad Filat.

Anyway, it is up to the ambassadors to decide how they should act better. It is important only to remind them that most of the problems faced now by the Republic of Moldova were generated and remain a difficult legacy, including of the Filat government: politicization of the state institutions, endemic corruption; destruction of the banking system by transferring Banca de Economii under the management of Ilan Shor; creation of politically affiliated media holdings; use of propagandists in the intestinal struggles of the political clans; en masse conversion of mayors, etc. Regrettably, Vlad Filat’s spirit, as it was noted, partially snuggled up also to the PAS’s body and this fact was confirmed in the recent local elections.


For the ordinary citizens, it is hard to decide what’s better  – for the ambassadors to decide to intervene or not, to accept or not the approaches and requests made by Vlad Filat, Ion Chicu or Igor Dodon etc. What we know with certitude is that the opposition over the past two years made us feel bored with its: calls to launch the common national front; to combine the forces; to identify the common agenda; to de-capture the state etc. Poor us. We believed that there is no other more boring story than the story of the white bull. Now we now that the most boring story is that of the combination of forces of the Moldovan opposition. What can the ambassadors have to do with this?”

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