In Chisinau, the pro-European forces celebrate the granting of the EU candidate status. In other circumstances, such a political accomplishment would have had a resounding echo in society, including among the ordinary citizens. In reality, profound Moldovan society almost didn’t notice this political performance. Moreover, in the capital city Chisinau, the street protest started to be escalated even if government stability was saved, at least for now, by the stained reputation of the protest organizers led by the odious Shor, who invariably bears the stigma of the thieve of the US$1 billion. Even so, the government is unable to stop the expanding protest that is copiously stimulated with dirty money stolen from the same protesters.
At the same time, it would be a big calculation error to say that the size of the Shor-supported protest is due to political corruption only. The situation is much more polyvalent, starting from the deplorable state of the economy, accompanied by the deterioration of the social condition of the population, and ending with the governmental factor’s incapacity to protect the ordinary citizens from the defiant actions of corrupt politicians, who buy with stolen money and use to the own benefit the natural dissatisfaction of the people who got desperate due to the sudden decline in living standards.
Insufficient economic management
Amid the multiple crises that hit the Republic of Moldova, the governmental management of the economy loses its efficiency, witnessing a worrisome decrease in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For comparison, against the same background of external crises, Romania sees one of the largest economic growths in the European Union, while in the Republic of Moldova, alongside a decline in the GDP, the growing trade deficit when imports worth 2 euros are made for each exported euro is another extreme weakness of the economy.
The statistical data examined by the renowned Romanian economist Petrișor Peiu reveal a decline in industrial production and even a greater decline in agricultural production in the Republic of Moldova, accompanied by a record inflation rate for the European countries. All these factors together resulted in a considerable decrease in the purchasing power and the living standards of most of the Moldovan citizens. The average consumer prices in August 2022, which is the annualized rate of inflation, were by 34.29% higher than in August 2021 (last 12 months). Food products grew by 38.39%, nonfood products by 23.26%, while the services provided for the population by 45.25%. The abrupt growth of inflation, when the alleviation measures taken by the Government included the raising of salaries by only about 14-15%, occurred during a short period of time and turned the life of many people, primarily of most of the pensioners, into a painful daily survival process.
Danger of reinstallation of anti-West politicians
Against this socioeconomic background, it becomes clear that, despite the good performance at foreign level, the current pro-European government in Chisinau experiences serious problems in the management of the economic and social situation. In such conditions, it is highly importable that the anticorruption reforms announced by the government, which are promoted with the assumed pace and methodology, have temporal chances of being done till the end. The eulogies to the government over the foreign policy successes, which are not supported by content from inside the fridges in the homes of most of the citizens, definitely do not guarantee the removal of the danger of reinstallation of anti-West politicians in power in the Republic of Moldova. This reality is more obviously signaled by different sociological surveys that anticipate the Communist-Socialists, plus Shor’s people, have real chances of constituting even a constitutional majority in the future Parliament in Chisinau.
The overcoming of the danger of reversing the European course of the Republic of Moldova requires unordinary measures that go beyond the political and managerial clichés borrowed and practiced by the ruling party after taking over governance. In the course of this year, the PAS lost a considerable part of the electoral support of the largest part of Moldovan society after focusing on the promotion of the European development course. The necessity of reorienting the stake of governing not only mainly through the representatives of the own party but also by broadly using the potential of managerial staff from all the pro-European parties, detaching oneself from the party, derives from here. Only this way the PAS will be able to restore and reunify in Moldovan society a broad political and civic front of support for the European reforms and for counteracting the “protesting” offensive of the revanchist oligarchic forces.
...and justice sector reform remains stagnant
The PAS should admit that the model of justice sector reform implemented by it remains stagnant. Such justifications as he one that the justice sector reform cannot produce swift results are no longer feasible from political viewpoint. The loss of confidence in government exceeds the temporal limits projected for the moment when the results of the reform are to be reaped. The pro-European government needs palpable and updated results in the fight against corruption, while the most sophisticated explanations why the reform is late are increasingly irrelevant. The idea of immediately creating a specialized extraordinary institution for fighting grand corruption similar to the Anticorruption Tribunal needs to be put into practice. This idea was suggested by civil society experts long ago and is reiterated by the recent recommendations of the Supreme Security Council. The application of such a solution for hastening the reforms will bring the shameful judicial practice of delaying high-profile cases, like the case of Shor that has been delayed for years and is the most suggestive one in this regard, to an end.
At the same time, it should be urgently acknowledged that the hastening of the justice sector reform will not bring swift solutions that would ensure economic and social recovery. The stake on the prompt ending of the war in Ukraine also does not meet the conditions of feasibility of a considerable economic and social leap in the Republic of Moldova. Under the current development paradigm, Moldovan society is most probably doomed to long years of economic stagnation, with slow social progress and with even slower changes in collective mentality. Even if the European development course of the Republic of Moldova is kept intact, if there is an acute shortage of a government policy on the assumption of an authentic unifying identity by the citizens, Moldovan society risks remaining excessively fragmented and unable to combine forces for achieving an objective that is supported by a dominant majority. Consequently, an indefinite number of generations of Moldovan citizens will have to live in one of the poorest European states, surviving at poverty line and remaining therefore nostalgic for the colonial past painted with the false grandeur of affiliation to the great empire.
Post-Soviet Vasile Porojan
Abandoned during three decades by the successive governments that ignored the promotion of the identity construction policies at state level, many Moldovans long for the former empire, unconsciously experiencing the syndrome of the former serf through a number of generations, who, frightened by the suddenly obtained freedom, asks to be accepted back by the landlord. This type of Moldovan citizen can be easily identified in the crowd of the protesters mobilized by the Shor Party, who deplore the separation from Moscow, simultaneously proliferating Romanophobia, Europhobia and Americophobia. The Shor Party-supported protest comes once again to confirm the bitter truth about Moldovan society, which by far hasn’t yet overcome the stage of effective de-colonization, with large sections of the population remaining hostage to the old imperial propagandistic dogmas.
In a non-Romanian Moldova, this speech and this political effort amass wide adhesion compatible with the abandonment of the European development course. A solution is to improve the social state of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova by accelerating economic progress that can be achieved only by broad cooperation, up to economic merger with the Romanian development model, which is one of the most dynamic ones in Europe, by opening the Moldovan economy to capital and economic development organization practices of Romania without any impediments. The putting into practice of such a solution requires vision and political will, which are qualities that have been seldom met among Moldovan politicians the past 30 years.
IPN publishes in the Op-Ed rubric opinion pieces submitted by authors not affiliated with our editorial board. The opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily coincide with the opinions of our editorial board.