The crab, the frog and a pike... Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

“The cause of the incapacity is that the opposition cannot formulate a positive agenda as an alternative to the PAS government’s agenda without emphasizing the camouflaged support for the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Also, each of the opposition parties fears to be discredited by being associated with the alleged acts of corruption committed by the leaders of PSRM and Șor Party, which are investigated by the responsible bodies...”
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Polls and reactions to their results

Opinion polls show a dramatic decrease in citizens’ confidence in the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) and its government. Even if the Moldovan citizens and politicians’ confidence in polls is low, nobody doubts it that the PAS government is in a big difficulty. That’s why it is not surprising that the results of the last poll carried out by IMAS generated acid replies between the PAS supporters and the director of the mentioned polling company. It is noteworthy that the relations between IMAS and PAS have history, if not pre-history already. For example, the IMAS director’s attitude to PAS could be evidently seen when he publicly accused PAS and the party’s ex-leader Maia Sandu of immorality. For their part, the representatives of PAS not only once made reference to the alleged biased investigations of IMAS, which supposedly had favorite cooperation with the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), especially when this party was headed by Vlad Plahotniuc. The latter is believed to have captured the state institutions, exactly in the period when the IMAS director dared to state his opinion about PDM’s professionalism in an eulogistic way.

In fact, the specific relations of IMAS with the political parties of the Republic of Moldova have their roots in the period when the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) was in power. Back in 2010, the IMAS director publicly informed about the existence of pressure on his institution on the part of a component of the AEI, but he then refused to specify, as he did it recently in relation to his attitude to PDM and PAS – who namely exerted pressure on IMAS? In such circumstances, we have to only draw attention to the fact that many of the current PAS members formed part of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM), which for a period was the pivot of the AEI. Therefore, we can presume that a particular kind of relations between particular political parties and polling companies originated in 2010. This behavior perfectly matches the tradition of Moldovan political provincialism. Anyway, the call not to shoot at the pianist... should be extrapolated to sociologists – Please don’t shoot at the sociologist, he is doing his best!     

Solipsism of government and dispersion of opposition

The IMAS poll’s results are interesting from the perspective of the method of overcoming the multiple crisis experienced by the Republic of Moldova. According to the sociological research, the absolute majority of citizens plead for snap parliamentary elections (61%). The main conclusion reached by the research authors is that slowly, but safety we are witnessing the vengeance and punishment against the PAS government on the part of the disappointed ones. The alleged wish to take revenge is yet a very bad adviser, as, when the feelings burst, there is no place for reason. Things can get out of control and the beneficiaries can be others than those who imagined that they could profit.

For the sake of the truth, we should note that the representatives of PAS do not allow to be influenced by the gloomy prospects depicted by sociologists. There is even the impression that PAS isolated itself in an ivory tower for not being bothered by the daily realities. The given attitude is not based on any political calculation, being rather influenced by a particular philosophical current – there are only the perceptions of the representatives of PAS and the rest does not matter. Respectively, during the next three years of tenure, a lot of absolutely unpredictable things can happen and these can help overcome the multiple crises, but can equality contribute to their expansion. Anyway, international order was undermined by the aggressive and revanchist policy of Russia. That’s why, as PAS stated, the disastrous consequences of the Russian policy cannot be remedied through the agency of compromises with the aggressor. Such compromises irremediably compromise. The Republic of Moldova has to only follow its path set by the EU candidate status.

In the given circumstances, there is no doubt that the pro-Russian parliamentary opposition would like to benefit from the eventual revengeful bursts, but avoids causing them for fear of uncertainty. The protests announced by the opposition are for now scattered and without a major impact, even if the cumulative factor cannot be ignored. The causing of snap parliamentary elections necessitates programs that would serve as alternatives to the PAS government, but the pro-Russian opposition avoids presenting them even if the IMAS poll shows that the support for the Eurasian integration is equal to that for the European integration. This way, except for criticism concerning the difficult situation and complaining about prosecution, the opposition can propose almost nothing if only insisting on the necessity of the government having talks with Vladimir Putin.

In fact, there are many factors that fuel the opposition’s incapacity to take vengeance. Even if they repeatedly  urged to combine forces, the parliamentary opposition remains dispersed, a proof being the most recent events:

  • lack of declared support on the part of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) and Șor Party for the informal leader of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) – Igor Dodon. On the contrary, PCRM has reasons to express its satisfaction for the anticipation of Igor Dodon’s arrest for investigating the acts of corruption that he allegedly committed;
  • renouncing the assumption of responsibility by PSRM and PCRM for organizing the protest of the so-called movement for a “New Life”. The truth is the leaders of the two parties initially expressed eagerness to assume the initiative. The change of mind is due to the exposure of the illegal financing of the protest by Șor Party and the launching of a criminal investigation into this;
  • lack of official reactions on the part of PSRM and PCRM to the lifting of the parliamentary immunity and the arrest of one of the leaders of Șor Party – Marina Tauber (see min 4.26.15 – 5.48.35) for falsification of documents, repeated acts of political corruption and illegal financing of the party, including of the protest of the movement New Life.

Conclusions

Despite sociologists’ warnings about the existence of the danger of vengeance and punishment against the PAS government on the part of the disappointed voters, the pro-Russian parliamentary opposition of the Republic of Moldova shows its incapacity to combine forces. This way, the opposition loses the chance to favorably channel the protest potential. The cause of the incapacity is that the opposition cannot formulate a positive agenda as an alternative to the PAS government’s agenda without emphasizing the camouflaged support for the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Also, each of the opposition parties fears to be discredited by being associated with the alleged acts of corruption committed by the leaders of PSRM and Șor Party, which are investigated by the responsible bodies. In such circumstances, the components of the parliamentary opposition behave like the crab, the frog and a pike of Donici’s fable.

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