Socialists’ dilemma. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

“Everything depends on what the party members really want: a new start or halting of Igor Dodon’s project. In other words, the PSRM’s dilemma is: reformation and getting rid of persons who undermined the national consensus and split society vs. self-isolation alongside those who represent the Russian imperialist movement in the Republic of Moldova...”


Congress of bold ones or of defeated ones

The National Council of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) decided to call the congress of the party where, after four years, Igor Dodon is to be reelected as the party’s president. Even if the National Council’s decision is more than strange, it is yet useful as it reveals the lack of internal democracy in the PSRM. First of all, the delegates to the congress can have another opinion and can put forward an alternative to Igor Dodon as party leader. Secondly, it’s not clear why the delegates to the congress should reelect as party leader the politician who was freshly beaten in the electoral competition for a supreme post in the state even if Igor Dodon had at his disposal the whole power, the state staff and an abundance of financial, media and human resources – propagandists, trolls, etc. Thirdly, the a priori imposition of decisions can dynamite the party with a history of about 25 years, which went through different attempts and internal conflicts, like in the case of the dispute between the party’s founder Valentin Krylov and Igor Dodon, who was elected president of the party in the PSRM’s congress of December 18, 2011.  

The Republic of Moldova needs a robust, renewed party system and the eventual return of Igor Dodon to the leadership of the PSRM no way contributes to the overcoming of the disorder and cannot contribute to the strengthening of the party. On the contrary, the reelection of Igor Dodon could cause problems to the party in its relations with the internal partners and also with the foreign partners. In fact, the PSRM no longer has partners and allies among the political forces of the Republic of Moldova. The cause resides namely in the behavior of Igor Dodon, who most of the times does not keep his word or cheats the partners. Here are some of the cases when Igor Dodon showed his inappropriate attitude to his political partners:

  • he swore to never leave the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM), which projected him to the big politics, but broke his promise in only half a year;
  • he promised assistance to the Our Party (PN) and its leader Renato Usatyi in exchange for electoral support in the runoff of the 2016 presidential elections, but when he was elected President, he forgot about the made promises. Moreover, he publicly denigrated Usatyi, calling him blabbermouth when the latter asked him to honor his promises. That’s why in the recent presidential elections, Usatyi had to show to public opinion who is yet the blabbermouth;
  • he maintained secret relations with the executive coordinator of the government in the Republic of Moldova – Vlad Plahotniuc, who influenced the Constitutional Court’s decision to restore the direct election of the President and offered him support for being reelected President in 2016, but later cheated him, saying it was a political chess match;
  • he invited the parliamentary parties to a dialogue, but after his invitation was rejected, he said the invitation was just a trap for his potential partners. 

At the foreign level, during his term in office, Igor Dodon has been in quasi-total isolation. His foreign policy had only one destination – he made tens of visits to Moscow, once or twice a month. Given the sanctions imposed by the international community against Russia, Igor Dodon provided services for President Putin, being the only head of state who was near him at the parade of 2017. Nevertheless, at the end of his tenure, he is not welcomed even by the President of Russia. Moreover, influential politicians and ex-councilors of President Putin or opinion leaders in Russia characterize Igor Dodon with very negative, pejorative terms that cause inconveniences in an eventual public reproduction.

PSRM’s contribution to political stability

The defeat suffered by Igor Dodon in the recent presidential elections was preceded by the hysterization and division of the people during the election campaign. The decision taken by the Chisinau City Court, which ascertained that the brochures of Igor Dodon’s staff about Maia Sandu were defamatory, is the most conclusive proof in this regard. There is also the way in which the Moldovan diaspora was offended by Igor Dodon, who called it parallel voters – approximately 1/3 of the citizens who ensure that our country remains afloat and avoids the collapse of statehood.

In fact, Igor Dodon owes a lot to the diaspora, but not the Moldovan one. It is the Syrian diaspora that in 2016 contributed to his reelection as President, evidently with the assistance of Vlad Plahotniuc. So, without the support of the Syrian diaspora and of Vlad Plahotniuc, it turns out that Igor Dodon can no longer become President. That’s why the members of the PSRM should wonder – what the reelection of Igor Dodon as the party’s president will bring? A pretext for his reelection as the leader of the party is exactly what he undermined in his election campaign – necessity of ensuring political stability. In this regard, he said: “Currently, there are two political leaders in the Republic of Moldova: Igor Dodon with the PSRM on the left and Maia Sandu with the PAS on the right. If we want stability, these two political powers should cooperate. I see no problem here. We must meet, behave more maturely from political viewpoint and discuss. The elections are over. We must forget about the hatred witnessed in the electoral period. We must think what we should do with the Parliament, the snap elections in 2021”. What is curious is that Igor Dodon doesn’t even think that he doesn’t have the credibility for being accepted as a partner for restoring the wanted political stability.

The things mentioned above, about the method by which he treated the political partners and the opponent in the presidential elections, clearly show that Igor Dodon no longer enjoys credibility, unlike the PSRM that still enjoys rather powerful support among the citizens, which should be somehow employed after Igor Dodon’s defeat. In such circumstances, at the planned congress the party will have to adopt judicious decisions, like:

  • election as party leader of a person who cannot be associated with any of the aforementioned blamable deeds of Igor Dodon. Probably, the mayor of Chisinau Ion Ceban can be a suitable candidate. It should be noted that Ion Ceban managed to conquer the municipality a year ago, but recently could not help Igor Dodon to gain a majority of votes in the municipality, where there are about ¼ of the country’s voters. This points to the burden that Dodon represents for the party;
  • revision of the PSRM’s political program for restoring political stability in the country. In this regard, the party should return to its modern Socialist doctrine and should join the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in Europe;
  • the restoration of the national consensus proclaimed in 2005 in the Parliament’s Declaration concerning the political partnership for achieving the European integration objectives could push the party back to the top of the political life in the country, turning it into a potential ally that is wanted by all the healthy parties. Igor Dodon’s reelection as president of the parry would make this perspective impossible because he and several persons close to him undermined the partnership in 2014, when they adopted the current political program of the PSRM.   


The PSRM has been in a crisis for a period. A proof of this is the fact that for now the most powerful party in the Republic of Moldova cannot appropriately inform at least the own members about its activity. For example, it’s not clear what number the congress planned for the end of this year, where Igor Dodon is to be reelected as president, will have. On the one hand, we learned that the National Council of June 16, 2018 adopted a decision on the convening of the 16th congress of the party before the parliamentary elections, the goal being to adopt a new political program. The parliamentary elections took place two years ago, while the political program hasn’t been reviewed, the one adopted in 2014 still being in force.

On the other hand, the same National Council of the PSRM on November 17, 2020 decided to “call the 16th Congress of the PSRM until this yearend”. This way, we can deduce that the National Council’s decision taken over two years ago hasn’t been fulfilled. Moreover, it’s not clear if the 15th congress of the party was held as there is absolutely no information about this. In general, after the PSRM was taken over by Igor Dodon and those close to him, public opinion was informed only about the holding of the tenth and 14th congresses. That’s why, before the holding of the again planned 16th congress, the members of the PSRM should clarify what happened to the 15th congress and if it actually took place. It’s hard to imagine that the wealthiest party of the country is unable to respect the statutory obligations and own decisions. The Ministry of Justice and the Public Services Agency should be informed about this.

The bringing of the PSRM’s statutory documents in order should be accompanied by the punishment, in accordance with the statutes, of the senior administration of the party for not ensuring its proper functioning. A key problem should be clarified: if the party’s administration wasn’t reelected illegally by the one who declared himself informal leader – Igor Dodon. If it’s so, the latter should not be allowed to compete for the presidency of the PSRM on principle. It is not inappropriate for the current leaders of the party to say that they can manage the country when they cannot correctly manage the own party.

It is undoubtedly the internal problem of the PSRM what it intends to do in relation to Igor Dodon’s reelection as the party’s leader. But it is important that the PSRM’s congress should take attitude to the work done by him after taking over the party’s presidency in 2011. He actually became a real renegade who renounced the Marxist doctrine that he publicly embraced in April 2010 and then the Socialist one when he joined the Russian imperialist movement whose branch he founded in the Republic of Moldova. From this viewpoint, Igor Dodon’s place is near another renegade of Moldovan politics  – Iurie Roșca, who, from the leader of the national renaissance movement, became the ideologist of dughinism in the Republic of Moldova, which is a component part of the Russian imperialist movement whose branch is headed by the PSRM’s propagandist

With such political baggage, it would be a strategic mistake to reelect Igor Dodon as the leader of the PSRM. Everything depends on what the party members really want: a new start or halting of Igor Dodon’s project. In other words, the PSRM’s dilemma is: reformation and getting rid of persons who undermined the national consensus and split society vs. self-isolation alongside those who represent the Russian imperialist movement in the Republic of Moldova.

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