Renato Usatyi versus Igor Dodon. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

„ is important to remember that a kind of clarification of the relations between Igor Dodon and Renato Usatyi has taken place for almost four years. A well-moderated electoral debate held right ahead of the presidential elections would help us to realize who of the two is a motormouth. ”

Fate cannot be cheated

The insipid election campaign became more colorful only towards the end of the campaigning period. One week before the presidential elections, candidate Igor Dodon was to have a meeting with his supporters in Fălești. As Fălești is the native town of candidate for President Renato Usatyi, the latter decided to profit from this occasion and put a number of questions to Igor Dodon. Usatyi explained his insistence on taking part in the meeting by saying that even if he is the mayor of the northern capital of the country - the municipality of Bălți - he has been unable for a period to get responses to questions that bother him, due also to Igor Dodon’s refusal to take part in electoral debates.

We can on intuit what questions he meant. In the presidential elections held four years ago, Usatyi supported Dodon in the runoffs, contributing decisively to the victory of the last. Now candidate Renato Usatyi considers that his former partner at the anti-oligarchic protests Igor Dodon not only didn’t fulfill the promises he made in exchange for his electoral support in 2016, but also hatched plans against him together with the Russian authorities so that a criminal case was started against him in Russia and he could be eliminated from the election campaign.

In such circumstances, being confident that the status of acting President of the Republic of Moldova and the administrative, financial and media resources he possesses can ensure a victorious electoral campaign, avoiding the direct confrontation with his opponents in public debates, Igor Dodon showed up at the electoral meeting with his supporters in Fălești. Together with his appearance, the audience divided into two opposite camps that chanted slogans for and against the two candidates.  The only solution to that situation was for candidate Dodon to accept to answer the questions of his opponents. Igor Dodon’s refusal to allow Renato Usatyi to pose him questions generated an altercation between the two. This way, Igor Dodon convinced himself that fate cannot be cheated and the unfulfilled promises and avoidance of responsibility for this can cause unexpected complications. Consequently, Igor Dodon had to leave the hall where his electoral meeting was to take place.

What does Renato Usatyi risk?

The alteration between the candidates for President of the Republic of Moldova – Igor Dodon and Renato Usatyi – anyway seems to be the most prominent event of the election campaign. Nevertheless, the event is not an exceptional one. Candidate Usatyi did nothing but repeat the courageous deed of the current mayor of Chisinau on behalf of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) Ion Ceban, who appeared uninvited at the electoral meeting of his main opponent Andrei Năstase. It happened during the campaign prior to the Chisinau mayor elections of May 2018. Only two years passed since then and the Socialist heavyweight’s example was copied by Renato Usatyi in the current election campaign.

By all appearances, by presenting himself at the meeting of Igor Dodon, candidate Usatyi had one more goal – to dispel the propagandistic myth of the head of the branch of the Russian imperial movement in Moldova, who said that Usatyi travels through the country accompanied by bodyguards. The dispelling of the myth ended with a big success as it turned out that no one else but candidate Dodon is accompanied by bodyguards paid with public funds at the electoral meetings.

Taking into account the precedent set in 2018, the heavyweight of the PSRM Ion Ceban, who wasn’t punished or at least reprimanded for his courageous deed, we can expect that Renato Usatyi’s replica can be greeted by the PSRM and the law enforcement agencies as in 2018, especially because Renato Usatyi promised to continue to go to the electoral meetings of candidate Dodon so as to finally put to him the bothering questions.  


The candidates for President of the Republic of Moldova should equally respect the voters and the opponents and should take part in electoral debates so as to avoid accusations that they mislead the voters.

Surely, on the one hand, candidate Igor Dodon asserted that during his first term in office in 2016-2020, he fulfilled 80-85% of his electoral promises. On the other hand, his opponents say that the promise delivery rate is very low. Evidently, his participation in electoral debates, if he decides to do it, will shed particular light on Igor Dodon’s presidential achievements.

Socialist heavyweight Ion Ceban’s deed in the municipal campaign of 2018 turned out to be effective. Owing to that courageous deed, now the very insipid campaign prior to the presidential elections has chances of turning into a colorful one for the sake of the truth. Should the voters be indeed interested in how many of the promises made by Igor Dodon in 2016 have been delivered?

Ultimately, it is important to remember that a kind of clarification of the relations between Igor Dodon and Renato Usatyi has taken place for almost four years. A well-moderated electoral debate held right ahead of the presidential elections would help us to realize who of the two is a motormouth.

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