While waiting for Constitutional Court judgment... Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

“We will be able to assess the chances of the Revival Party to eventually substitute the Shor Party through the angle of the financing this will receive from Ilan Shor’s sources. By all appearances, the money already started to be pumped into the Revival Party or it is impossible to explain how after ten years of hibernation in anonymity, the Revival Party could recently stage a protest in Shor’s style next to the building of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova...

Pleadings for and against Shor Party

After an interruption of about a month, on June 12, 2023 the Constitutional Court (CC) resumes the examination of the request of the Government of the Republic of Moldova No.184h/2022 to determine the constitutionality of the Political Party “Shor”. Before pronouncing on the request, the CC is to listen to the pleadings of the representatives of the Shor Party and the Government, which will represent the hearings’ apogee. It may seem that when the parties’ arguments were already presented and debated, the pleadings are just a rhetorical exercise that matters rather for influencing the feelings of the citizens who will watch them. But this is not so.

In the break offered by the CC to the parties for preparing the pleadings, acting Prosecutor General Ion Munteanu requested Parliament to strip MP Marina Tauber – deputy chairwoman of the Shor Party – of immunity so that she could be held criminally accountable in the case of illegal financing of the party. The acting Prosecutor General’s speech (from min. 2.56.10 until min. 4.21.10) of May 26, 2023, from the legislative body’s rostrum, revealed, based on information obtained according to legal investigation procedures: the whole scheme for illegally financing the Shor Party, the sources of financing and methods of introducing money into the Republic of Moldova; the scheme for distributing money and the messengers’ routes to the final beneficiaries; the sums paid to actually corrupt MPs, heads of local branches, participants in protests, etc.

It’s a pity that the Parliament’s staff hasn’t yet published the transcript of the legislature’s plenary sitting of May 26, 2023, especially of the acting Prosecutor General’s speech. The insertion in the pleading of the Government’s representatives before the CC of parts of the prosecutor’s mentioned speech can be also convincing for the CC judges. Four the citizens who follow the process, several fragments extracted by journalists from the acting Prosecutor General’s speech are sufficient:

  • “Starting with 2021 until present, the organized criminal group led by Ilan Shor has implemented a scheme to finance the Shor Party with funds banned by law by introducing money into the Republic of Moldova primarily from the Russian Federation through regular return flights during 24 hours through the Chisinau International Airport and also through the state border crossing points Leușeni-Albița and Palanca-Maiaki-Udobnoe;
  • On Ilan Shor’s instruction, there were preliminarily chosen persons who worked for affiliated companies and persons from the party’s monitoring and control department, who were paid by €50 for regularly flying to and from the Russian Federation and for returning with US$8,000 in party funding for being introduced into the county;
  • Marina Tauber, during January 1, 2022 – May 1, 2023, accepted from the organized criminal group led by Ilan Shor 195,518,013 lei that she used to finance the activities of the Shor Party and to promote the interests of the group’s leader Ilan Shor. For the purpose, through the agency of party members, she carried out such organizational, logistical and political actions as the recruitment, transportation and remuneration of persons who took part in protests mounted in front of head offices of different public entities in the municipality of Chisinau” etc.

Additional arguments

Those who do not allow to be easily convinced of the criminal capacities of Ilan Shor and his party mates should refresh their memory with facts confirmed by Ilan Shor himself. This admitted that he practiced active corruption in inconceivable proportions in relation to ex-Premier Vlad Filat, whom he bribed with $250 million (!). The proceedings compiled by anticorruption prosecutors on October 12, 2015 based on Ilan Shor’s denouncement, was distributed to MPs in the Parliament’s plenary sitting of October 15, 2015. Based on this proceedings, the MP and ex-Premier Vlad Filat was stripped of parliamentary immunity, he being arrested inside the Parliament Building. The series of crimes committed by Ilan Shor should be complete for the CC judges to be able to take a well-founded decision as regards the constitutionality of the Shor Party. The point is the CC judges can wonder how Ilan Shor could obtain a sum of $250 million for corrupting Vlad Filat when this served as Prime Minister. Wasn’t the bribe of $250 million a simple investment that was later recouped, together with the stealing of the famous $1 billion from the banking system for which Ilan Shor was recently sentenced to 15 years in jail? Even if we presume that Ilan Shor’s denouncement from the mentioned proceedings was false, anyway Ilan Shor represents an enormous threat for society as he spoiled the dignity and honor of a honest and incorruptible politician who unjustly served four years in jail.

We can intuit that it will be hard for the CC to take a decision concerning the constitutionality of the Shor Party. His defenders, as we convinced ourselves, will insist that the crimes proved and confirmed by Ilan Shor should be separated from the citizens’ fundamental right to associate and form parties. It can be so, but the name of the Shor Party is nothing but recognition of the fact that the given party openly says that it applies the modus vivendi practiced by Ilan Shor himself. This supposition is confirmed by the people’s wise saying As you name the boat so shall it float, which is broadly used in all kinds of businesses and enterprises, including in politics.

The fact that the Shor Party practices a modus vivendi similar to that of Ilan Shor was proven by the mentioned speech by the acting Prosecutor General, but we cannot know if this persuades the CC judges too. An additional argument that the information made public by the prospector is true is the fact that this wasn’t challenged by representatives of the Shor Party and by its defenders from the Bloc of Communists and Socialists. But the most powerful argument against the Shor Party is the fact that its ultima ratio is that in the situation in which Marina Tauber and Ilan Shor found themselves, they decided to exhibit their ethnic origin to justify their right to resort to illegalities: “I want the European states to remember the crimes committed against the Jews during World War II... Currently, together with Maia Sandu, you commit a new genocide against the Jews, against myself, against Ilan Shor and against our whole team, here, in the Republic of Moldova”. This is deplorable and this crowns it all – no comment!

Revival of Shor Party

By all appearances, the representatives of the Shor Party and its defenders already took the necessary measures to find a substitute if the party is declared unconstitutional. This means that the Shor Party will revive as the bird Phoenix. Most probably, the role of substitute of the Shor Party will be played by the Renaissance Party whose symbol is a kind of bird whose wings are have the shape of the Republic of Moldova’s territory. In fact, there are a number of signs showing that namely the Revival Party was identified as a substitute.

The point is the Shor Party took part in the creation of two protest movements to destabilize the political situation in the Republic of Moldova: For a new life!, as it at the suggestion of the Communist leader, Vladimir Voronin; and For People! On the Shor Party’s initiative, a National Salvation Council was created in the protest of October 16, 2022 and this had the following composition: Ilan Shor, chairman of the Shor Party; Marina Tauber, deputy chairwoman of the Shor Party; Gheorghe Cavcaliuc, chairman of the party “We Build Europe at Home” (PPACE); Dinu Țurcanu, head of Orhei district; Radu Bușilă, mayor of Piatra commune of Orhei district; Constantin Starysh, PCRM MP; Sergey Mishin, chairman of the Revival Party. Out of the seven members, four are affiliated to the Shor Pastry, one is a member of the PCRM and another one – the leader of the PPACE - is a fugitive who hides from Moldovan justice outside its borders. In such circumstances, if the Shor Party is outlawed, the Revival Party is suitable to be used as a substitute.

Moreover, it should be noted that from ideological viewpoint, the Revival Party seems to be the closest to the Shor Party as the political program of the first explicitly declares its attachment to the Marxist-Leninist doctrines: For a century and a half he Marxist-Leninist doctrines have boggled the minds, becoming one of the main factors that determine the global social development tendencies. The current economic and financing crisis is also the result of the development of contradictions unveiled by these concepts. The crisis showed the incapacity of the current bodies to regulate the Moldovan economy and that the potential of the Anglo-Saxon capitalist system was used up”. No more no less! The point is Ilan Shor is a disguised supporter of Marxism-Leninism. Not only because he took part in the bank fraud, as the Bolshevik revolutionaries used to do, but also by the pleading in favor of the restoration of state ownership over enterprises and creation of kolkhozes. At least, Ilan Shor and Marina Tauber announced that they really managed to restore a kolkhoz in the Republic of Moldova. The affinities between the Shor Party and the Revival Party do not end here. As Ilan Shor tries hard to prove the uninterrupted conception between the practices used by different generations of Communists, the  leader of the Revival Party Sergey Mishin, who turned the post of chairman of the party into a hereditarianism one, taking this over from his father, who was a notorious Community, acts in a similar way. 

However, there is a serious problem related to the Revival Party’s capacity. Even if it was founded over ten years ago, the party hasn’t distinguished itself somehow. In time, the Revival Party took part only in the parliamentary elections of 2014, gaining only about 0.3% of the vote. Respectively, it does not have any local bodies as it didn’t even try to compete in local elections. Nevertheless, the Revival Party, which during ten years: didn’t run in elections; didn’t conduct any activity; didn’t submit to the Central Election Commission (CEC) at least one financial report that would show what activities it carried out, unexpectedly becomes the center of attention for groups of
MPs and mayors who defected from the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM). What is curious is that the acts of defecting from the PSRM – the most powerful opposition party – to an almost inexistent, anonymous party occurred as a result of consultations with Ilan Shor. It is noteworthy that the dismemberment of the PSRM by Ilan Shor is not accidental, but is a well-planned activity. The point is three years ago, Ilan Shor identified the leader of the PSRM, Igor Dodon, as the main enemy that is more dangerous than the coronavirus.

We will be able to assess the chances of the Revival Party to eventually substitute the Shor Party through the angle of the financing this will receive from Ilan Shor’s sources. By all appearances, the money already started to be pumped into the Revival Party or it is impossible to explain how after ten years of hibernation in anonymity, the Revival Party could recently stage a protest in Shor’s style next to the building of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova. As they say, a holy place is never empty.

Vlad Filat’s role in consolidating CC’s anti-corruption case law

Returning to the awaited CC judgment on the constitutionality of the Shor Party, we cannot overlook the eventual contribution made by ex-Premier Vlad Filat to the final decision. The point is on April 22, 2013, the constitutionality of the conformation of Vlad Filat as Prime Minister after the Parliament’s vote of no-confidence was examined by the CC, which reached the conclusion that only the reasonable suspicions of corruption against high-ranking officials are enough to presume that they undermine the rule of law principles. We will see if the CC’s case law of 2013 regarding the case of ex-Premier Vlad Filat can be extrapolated to a parliamentary party whole name turned out to be synonymous with corruption. A propos, Article 41(4) expressly provides that the parties that by their activity, plead against the rule of law principles are unconstitutional. Logic suggests that if corruption undermines the rule of law principles, as the CC’s case law provides, the corrupt parliamentary parties should be declared unconstitutional. We will soon see if this logic is applicable.

As we mentioned ex-Premier Vlad Filat and his contribution to developing the CC’s case law, it is important to bear in mind that on July 2, 2023, the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM), which Filat managed when he served as Prime Minister, will hold it congress. There, Vlad Filat could claim the post of chairman for applying practices that he knows best. To display his earlier policy, Vlad Filat tried to suggest to the general public that, for example, current Parliament Speaker Igor Grosu, earlier was his so-called ball boy: “In time, I did event address his as “Igor” as he felt the distance and came and left swiftly”.

The curiosity here resides in the fact that Vlad Filat also considered a ball boy Ilan Shor, who became a prosperous businessman with the former Premier’s assistance, probably in exchange for precious services. But later Shor denounced Filat, contributing to his political annihilation. Here it is the difference between the two ball boys of Vlad Filat. One of them helped with his imprisonment, while the other one, alongside his mates from the former ACUM alliance, contributed, as they could, to the driving away of the Plahotniuc&Shor duo and, respectively, to the release of Vlad Filat from jail, and not only of Filat. There is one more ex-prisoner who avoided imprisonment owing to the actions of former ACUM alliance members and now threatens to return to politics.

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