“The latest events are practically overlooked by the political class in the Republic of Moldova, which became an easy victim of the derivative of the security crisis – the energy crisis caused by Russia…”
One good turn deserves another?
The security crisis in the European space is felt more clearly. Other crises, like the energy one, the skyrocketing inflation and others, are actually derivatives of the security crisis. In this context, a series of questions appear: what are the causes of the security crisis, who generated it and why it arose only now. The responses to these questions are known, but deserve to be reiterated. The current security crisis in Europe is generated by the Russian Federation, which, using its armed forces, annexed a part of the territory of a sovereign and independent state, Ukraine, fuelling and supporting the war in Donbas. This way, the Russian Federation violated the basic principles concerning peaceful coexistence of nations – the UN Charter. This is noted in a series of resolutions, commitments undertaken within the OSCE and by the Russian-Ukrainian bilateral treaties.
The response reaction of the international community, primarily the European Union and the U.S., was to discourage aggression by introducing sanctions against Russia. To judge the effects of sanctions, we should make use of statistical data. This way, before the annexation of Crimea in 2013, Russia’s GDP was ~$2.3 trillion, while the exchange rate of the national currency was ~33 rubles per $1 and, respectively, ₽42 per €1. After seven years of sanctions for the annexation of Crimea, Russia’s GDP in 2021 was only ~$1.7 trillion, while the exchange rate of the national currency decreased over twice, to ₽76 per $1 and, respectively, ₽87 per €1. While the sanctions have been in force, Russia’s economy grew annually by only about 0.3% on average, as opposed to the global annual economic growth of approximately 2.3%. It is hard to estimate the impact of sanctions on the technologized sectors of the economy. But this is anyway felt very acutely, especially in one of the strategic spheres - the spatial one.
Shift of emphasis
So, the sanctions work. Respectively, despite the huge potential and resources, the social and development programs of the Russian Federation got stuck, while the so-called consensus between the authoritarian regime of President Putin and the citizens eroded – the government hasn’t been changed for two decades, the electoral promises are depreciated or become useless, while the electoral expectations are very low and amount to extremely narrow demands: a lower inflation, higher salaries and pensions, etc. Evidently, this kind of consensus could have been reached before the introduction of sanctions. Currently, inflation hits record highs. Food prices grew the most even if the country has almost unlimited resources. Only those from the government who are close to President Putin and those from business circles feel comfortable. The historical precedents show that in such situations they resort to the strengthening of the authoritarian regime by the review of the constitutional provisions; drastic limitation of civil rights; annihilation of the opposition; transformation of the country into a besieged fortress, invoking myths about the conspiracies of external enemies. All these manipulations are necessary for shifting emphasis from the domestic problems onto external ones.
In these circumstances, we witness the Russian Federation’s ultimatums addressed to the West amid the concentration of Russian troops at the border with Ukraine, which feels threatened, including from Transnistria. President Putin justifies this unconcealed threat by saying that Ukraine became an anti-Russia for the simple reason that it has the courage to challenge the annexation a part of its territory and opposes Russia’s involvement in the war in Donbas. This happens after attempts were made to punish Ukraine by trying to eliminate it from the transit of gas to Europe through the agency of the Nord Stream II pipeline. As the West expressed its determination to honor its commitments, supporting Ukraine and penalizing Russia, the latter resorted to the deliberate limitation of the export of gas to European consumers, generating the energy crisis and the successive price increases. This is actually the whole fable of the undermining of European and Euro-Atlantic security that harshly hits the Republic of Moldova.
All these security dangers appeared now because President Putin will soon have to announce his candidacy for the fifth term of office. As it was noted, the potential consensus with the Russian citizens, based on the improvement of the living standards, was exhausted. That’s why the exploitation of the myths about the external danger and the necessity of restoring Russia’s grandeur is the stake for an incontestable victory for avoiding the Lukashenko syndrome. This way, until the presidential elections of 2024, the borders of Russia or of its sphere of influence should be extended by recognizing the separatist regimes in Donbas or Transnistria or by using Belarus. The demands and ultimatums intended for the West are used to negotiate an eventual compromise in this regard. This way, effort is being made to raise the impertinence of Putin’s regime to the rank of torture in the eyes of the citizens.
Silence of the Lambs ...
The latest events are practically overlooked by the political class in the Republic of Moldova, which became an easy victim of the derivative of the security crisis – the energy crisis caused by Russia. In such circumstances, President Maia Sandu had to reiterate her hope that military actions will not be witnessed and to invoke the standard response concerning the neutrality of the Republic of Moldova.
The parliamentary opposition of the Bloc of Communists and Socialists (BCS) does not miss the opportunity to vehemently criticize only the consequences of the crisis – dramatic rise in prices of hydrocarbons and, respectively, the successive increase in the prices of all the products and services. Representatives of BCS urge Maia Sandu, not really subtly, to negotiate a lower gas price with President Vladimir Putin, evidently accepting the political conditions of Russia. However, the representatives of BCS avoid stating their position on the extremely interesting processes taking place in the space of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to which the Republic of Moldova wants to also get – conceding of the sovereignty of Belarus in relation to Russia and the crisis of the authoritarian and oligarchic regime in Kazakhstan, which was temporally solved by the Russian military.
It is as curios when representatives of BCS avoid stating their official attitude to Russia’s ultimatum addressed to the West. Is this the manifestation of the preference for a balanced foreign policy? With such timid opposition, the government of the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), even if it is inexperienced, has chances of surviving the multiple crises faced by society.