Thoughts on 15th anniversary of April 7-8, 2009 events... Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

What we know for sure, from mythology, is that the Phoenix Bird, after being reborn from its ashes, goes only to Arabia, not to Bessarabia. So, the Moldovan authorities that listed Veaceslav Platon as wanted internationally, could, possibly, but only after registering the Phoenix Moldova Party, try to look for him in the United Arab Emirates, in Dubai. If it happens that he is caught and brought back to the country, he could be of great help in clarifying many episodes of the events of April 7-8, 2009...

Who upset the peaceful protest?

Fifteen years have passed since the events of April 7-8, 2009. Even in the whirlwind of protests and, respectively, against the actions of the law, those events were generically called the “Twitter Revolution”. The burning of the Presidential Palace and the Parliament Building, inside which the original of the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova burned, symbolized the announcing of the fall of the neo-communist regime of Vladimir Voronin, who wanted very much to keep power through provocations and provocateurs. Respectively, the impact of the Twitter Revolution consisted in creating the necessary circumstances to remove the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) from power.

Two parliamentary commissions, headed by Vladimir Țurcan and later by Vitalie Nagachevski, which were set up to clarify the causes that led to the acts of vandalism, to verify and assess the behavior of the police, could not answer a number of extremely important questions. There were many and different questions, in particular, about the inability of the police to discourage the acts of vandalism. Instead, they raged after the hot events were consummated, triggering a crackdown on protesters that resulted in human casualties.

The main question to which we don’t have an answer so far is, who turned the peaceful young people’s protest into vandalism? There were different versions in this regard, these being limited to the activities of two people – Natalia Morari and Eduard Bagirov - who knew each other and communicated very intensely. Certainly, the first played a role. What we don’t know exactly is whether or not she acted consciously in the process of upsetting the protest, being used by Bagirov. The latter admitted that he acted consciously as a provocateur. It will probably be difficult to obtain new details about the actions of the Morari - Bagirov duo as the latter passed away a year ago, on April 12, 2023. What is important is that the death of Bahirov was announced by the Kremlin’s chief propagandist -the head of the famous international propaganda network Russia Today, Margarita Simonyan. This pints to the status enjoyed by Eduard Bagirov – the confidant of Vladimir Putin.

Qui prodest?/Why did the Țurcan and Nagachevski commissions fail to investigate...?

Because so far a number of moments related to the peaceful protests of April 7 and their upsetting with the participation of Natalia Morari and Eduard Bagirov remain unsolved, a logical question arises, but who wanted Vladimir Voronin’s regime to be destabilized and the PCRM to be removed from power? There are two possible responses to this question.

The first response refers to the participation in the upsetting of the peaceful protests of a citizen of the Russian Federation, Eduard Bagirov, a confidant of President Putin. This version is quite credible if we consider that the Kremlin wanted to remove the PCRM from power in the 2005 parliamentary elections. In this regard, here is what Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote on the eve of the elections of March 6, 2005: “Apparently, in the electoral struggle in Moldova, Russia has already made its political bet and is not in favor of the current government [PCRM]. This is emphasized by the severity of the measures proposed by the State Duma (supplying of Moldova with Russian energy resources at world prices, refusal to allow the Moldovan wines to be exported, introduction of a visa regime for Moldovan citizens, recognition of Transnistria’s right to foreign economic activity) and not-extension of these sanctions to Tiraspol. There is also indirect evidence that Moscow has dropped President Voronin and supports his opponents. It is not by chance that these days, the leader of the opposition bloc “Democratic Moldova”, Serafim Urechean, received airtime on Pervyi TV station in Russia,…”

Of course, just before the elections of March 6, 2005, Voronin’s regime detained a group of Russian citizens, outfitted with special equipment and large sums of money, who carried out subversive actions on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, including the following of President Voronin. Obviously, put together, all the attacks against Voronin represented a first attempt to take revenge for Voronin’s refusal to sign the so-called Kozak Memorandum in November 2003 and for the change of the foreign policy course towards the European integration.

If Russia wanted to eliminate Voronin and the PCRM in the March 2005 parliamentary elections, then why not to admit that it wanted the same thing in the April 5, 2009 parliamentary elections. This time with the participation of Eduard Bagirov and Natalia Morari? If so, then what conclusions could have been reached by the parliamentary commission set up by the majority group of the PCRM, headed by Vladimir Țurcan, to investigate the events of April 7-8, 2009? Obviously, the conclusions would have boiled down to the fact that Russia was relapsing, as it did in 2005. The problem is that such a conclusion couldn’t be made public after Vladimir Voronin and the PCRM rushed to blame the West, and especially Romania, for staging the coup. So, this could be the reason why the Țurcanu commission, which worked for more than three months, met only once, forgetting to generally sum up its results. Consequently, leaving aside the investigation, the PCRM was content only with the release of the film “Attack on Moldova”, which was produced by propagandist Constantin Starîș, currently an MP of the PCRM. The purpose of the propaganda film was to influence the electorate so as to win the snap parliamentary elections of July 29, 2009, which the PCRM lost, ceding power to the Alliance for European Integration (AEI).

The second version boils down to the idea that the investigation of the events of April 7-8, 2009 didn’t suit the oligarchic clans, which, after the PCRM lost power, managed to assemble the AEI so that under beautiful slogans of European integration, they could solve their interests. Respectively, the newcomers – leaders of oligarchic clans - had no interest in highlighting their own contribution to the illegal financing of the election campaign and the organization of protests against Voronin and the PCRM. Surely, after coming to power, the leaders of the oligarchic clans engaged in he: division of the spheres of political influence; taking control of the judiciary, the banking system; turning of the Republic of Moldova into laundry of dirty money from Russia,  etc. Why, for example, should the Nagachevski commission have exposed the way of illegal financing, with millions of dollars, by Veaceslav Platon, who bought a place on the list of candidates of the Our Moldova Alliance (AMN)? Illegal financing was a profitable business of Platon, who later managed to launder tens of billions of dollars through the Moldovan banking system, etc. The real investigation of the events of April 7-8, 2009 would have revealed extremely dangerous things for the oligarchic alliance, but this fact took shape later, when the oligarchs became involved in intestinal fights, with dramatic consequences for some of them. 

Eventual reformatting of Bagirov-Morari duo

Over the years, the anniversaries related to the events of April 7-8, 2009 evoke only regrets that tens of thousands of sincere and pure young people in their aspirations were drawn into the dirty games of oligarchic clans. It would seem that this sad page in the contemporary history of the Republic of Moldova can be turned, once conclusions are drawn from them. But this is not so and things are much more complicated.

Currently, we can say with certainty only one thing – the events of April 7-8, 2009 contributed to the removal from the political road of Vladimir Voronin and the PCRM, which became a wreck that survives politically somehow at the mercy of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM). As for the rest, the same former and current oligarchs desire to return to power in Moldova: Vlad Filat; Vlad Plahotniuc, in person, or through Ilan Shor; Veaceslav Platon, etc. For example, Vlad Filat vehemently criticizes the demographic crisis in the country. He may be right because, during the four years he was imprisoned, he was deprived of the possibility of participating in the process of increasing the population. On the other hand, Ilan Shor, as a former confidant of Vlad Filat and, probably, another confidant of Vlad Plahotniuc, manages to corrupt an important segment of voters through social shops and so-called social projects. This success is converted into Moscow’s support, Shor becoming the Kremlin’s favorite, replacing PSRM leader Igor Dodon in this position.

In such circumstances, Veaceslav Platon, who by illegally financing the AMN with millions of dollars in the 2009 elections, which prevented the PCRM from obtaining the 61st seat of MP (the so-called “golden vote”), recently announced his intention to launch  the Phoenix Moldova Party to contend in future electoral competitions. In this regard, it the famous Bagirov-Morari duo, from the period of April 7-8, 2009, could be reformed into the Platon-Morari duo. By the way, the relations between the two could be much deeper than it is believed as there is information that Veaceslav Platon’s ascension in the banking-financial sphere was ensured and protected by close relatives of Natalia Morari. We cannot know if this is true or not and this thing should have been investigated by the responsible authorities. What we know for sure is that there is no smoke without fire. Therefore, such a link cannot be ruled out.

However, Bessarabia is not Arabia

The eventual Phoenix Moldova Party is an ingenious allegory regarding the rebirth from its ashes of the oligarchic clans and their intention to return to power. The allegory is also interesting due to the fact that both Veaceslav Platon and Natalia Morari participated, in one way or another, in the events that resulted in the burning of the Presidential Palace and Parliament Building. Here it should be noted that the announced name of the given party contains an element of plagiarism. The point is that on the political arena we already have the Revival Party, under registration number 51, which plagiarized, in its turn, the name of the Rebirth and Conciliation Party of Moldova, established by ex-president Mircea Snegur, back in 1995.

In any case, nowadays it matters that the Revival Party has recently been reborn from political non-existence as one of the clones of the Shor Party. Obviously, those who stole billions or laundered tens of billions of dollars through the Moldovan banking system are not shy about plagiarizing. What matters to them is the precise transmission of the message – the intention to return to power. However, the coincidences in the names of the two parties can lead us to the thought that, for the sake of coming to power, Veaceslav Platon and Ilan Shor found a common denominator to make a duo against the current government.

There are, however, several problems. Experience shows that Veaceslav Platon is very skillful in the financial-banking field. So, it is not by chance that he was worthy of the title of “raider No.1 in the CIS”. In this regard, even documentary films were made. On the other hand, Platon’s involvement in political projects was constantly followed by resounding failures and dramatic consequences. For example, even if he generously funded the AMN in order to enter Parliament on its ticket, this party collapsed noisily and disappeared into nothingness, without reviving. Even more dramatic was the story related to Veaceslav Platon’s attempt to return to Parliament on the PCRM’s lists. These intentions were made public by the PCRM leader Vladimir Voronin himself. As a result, the PCRM fell apart, collapsing in the parliamentary elections of November 2014.

Currently, we are witnessing a new attempt by Veaceslav Platon to revive as a politician. We cannot know whether he will succeed or not. What we know for sure, from mythology, is that the Phoenix Bird, after being reborn from its ashes, goes only to Arabia, not to Bessarabia. So, the Moldovan authorities that listed Veaceslav Platon as wanted internationally, could, possibly, but only after registering the Phoenix Moldova Party, try to look for him in the United Arab Emirates, in Dubai. If it happens that he is caught and brought back to the country, he could be of great help in clarifying many episodes of the events of April 7-8, 2009.

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