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Turns of political weathervanes. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin


https://www.ipn.md/public/index.php/en/turns-of-political-weathervanes-op-ed-by-victor-pelin-7978_1081787.html

“Vladimir Voronin got lost and should clarify the interests of the Republic of Moldova. For their part, in the election campaign, the voters should determine who becomes involved in the election campaigns in the Republic of Moldova, which foreigners namely?”

1. What are the Republic of Moldova’s interests?

Before any elections, we remember the inspired quote by Otto von Bismark: People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election. The current election campaign in the Republic of Moldova, as the previous ones, confirm the justness of such a quote. It does not go only to the promises of politicians, which are forgotten after elections. Things are more serious. Some of the politicians lie, distorting concrete, verifiable facts that involved them, but that now do not suit them for opportunistic reasons.

An occasion for reviewing the attitudes of politicians to the commitments they undertook in the name of the Republic of Moldova was provided by the recent signing by Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Aureliu Ciocoi of the Kiev Memorandum on cooperation between the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine in the field of European integration and the Eastern Partnership. This way, Vladimir Voronin, who heads the list of candidates of the Electoral Bloc of the Communists and the Socialists (EBCS), expressed his dissatisfaction with the signing of the aforementioned document, assuring that (see min. 53.25-54.00): “Now I see that they (foreigners!) engage ours in blocs with Ukraine, Georgia... against Russia. Do we need to engage in this affair against Russia? ... I don’t know what this woman does at the presidential administration, but they travel and now signed in Kiev... and form these blocs. GUAM was also founded against Russia and I withdrew from GUAM... We should be there where there are our interests”.

Forum the assertions of leader №1 of the EBCS, we realize that his interest is now in Russia. But when Vladimir Voronin held office of President of the Republic of Moldova, in 2005, the interest was elsewhere. Then, Vladimir Voronin informed public opinion about the expulsion from the country of a number of citizens of the Russian Federation, who “had the task of employing as advertising agents 6,000 persons, who were to be on standby... imagine what 6,000 persons on standby means. At the same time, they were paid by US$25 daily”. Voronin described the coming of such “political technology experts” from Russia as Russia’s interference in elections in the republic. He noted that the reason for the expulsion from Moldova of a large group of citizens of the Russian Federation, together with other citizens of Ukraine and Kazakhstan, was the active participation in the election campaign in Moldova. Four his part, the SIS director of that period said the foreign citizens followed professionally the candidates for MP on behalf of the Party of Communists, determined the itinerary of the President’s motorcade, created a network of managers among foreign citizens who bribed representatives of electoral commissions. This is an authentic, documented example of involvement of foreigners in elections in Moldova.

In the circumstances related to the involvement of Russian citizens in the electoral process in the Republic of Moldova, the President who was reelected in 2005, Vladimir Voronin, convoked the GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova) Summit in Chisinau on April 22, 2005. The event involved the Presidents of Georgia – Mikhail Saakashvili, Ukraine – Victor Yushchenko, Azerbaijan – Iliham Aliev and also the Presidents of Romania and Lithuania – Traian Băsescu and Valdas Adamkus, with the last two attending as observers. The summit also involved a delegation of the U.S. led by Steven Mann, senior counselor for Eurasia at the Department of State. In the summit, Vladimir Voronin underlined the necessity of making common effort for:

  • fighting phenomena that threatened regional security;
  • all GUUAM member states meeting the WTO standards;
  • implementing the European standards in the field of freedom of trade, movement of persons, capital and services;
  • reviewing the rules of cooperation in customs, border, financial-banking sector, labor market and migration;
  • resuming discussions on cooperation in energy security;
  • supporting the process of implementing a series of projects in tourism, information technology and development of infrastructure;
  • ensuring European integration of GUUAM member states, which signed the Action Plan with the EU.


In the GUUAM Summit held in Chisinau, the Republic of Moldova took over the organization’s presidency from Georgia. Among the priorities of the Moldovan presidency, Vladimir Voronin noted the securing of the GUUAM region and ensuring of stability in this area by close cooperation between the EU member states and the U.S.

Even if leader №1 of the EBCS now says that he withdrew from GUUAM, we can see that namely he, amid and for feat of Russia’s involvement in the electoral process in the country, contributed to the reanimation of this organization that until 2005 was actually half dead. Moreover, during the absolute rule of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM), led by Vladimir Voronin, the cooperation within GUUAM a was cemented by the signing or adoption of the GUUAM Yalta Charter on June 7, 2001; Agreement on the creation of the free trade area between the GUUAM member states of July 20, 2002; Agreement on cooperation between the Governments of the GUUAM member states in fighting terrorism, organized came and other types of serious crime of 20.07.2002; etc. In total, 17 documents on cooperation with GUUAM were signed during the rule of the PCRM, until 2009. In this connection, it should also be mentioned that the Republic of Moldova joined the EU initiative on the Eastern Partnership with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on May 7, 2009, while Vladimir Voronin held office of President of the Republic of Moldova.

So, leader №1 of the EBCS, Vladimir Voronin, got lost and should clarify the interests of the Republic of Moldova. For their part, in the election campaign, the voters should determine who becomes involved in the election campaigns in the Republic of Moldova, which foreigners namely. If the leader of the EBCS changed his orientation under the influence of circumstances, as a weathervane does under the influence of the wind, the voters have the right to decide if they should vote for candidates who mix up the interests of the Republic of Moldova with their changing, conjuncturist perceptions.     

2. Like father like son

Leader №2 of the EBCS Igor Dodon, who was brought into politics by leader №1 Vladimir Voronin in 2005, also changes his orientation as a weathervane does under the influence of the wind. He also opposed the signing, on May 17, 2021, of the Kiev Memorandum on cooperation between the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine in the field of European integration and the Eastern Partnership. Angrily and pathetically, Igor Dodon wondered: What does Moldova gain from this game? I understand the position of Ukraine and Georgia, which want to join NATO. But why should Moldova become involved? Doesn’t it have what to deal with? We have our problems? We do not know how to settle the Transnistrian conflict. Our position of principle is that document should and will be annulled. Why should the problem of regional security be involved? How can one put the signature on something like this? What does this mean? Military blocs? NATO against Russia? I understand other reform commitments, other actions, but why should security be raised? Ciocoi said the document does not stipulate something special, but what about the chapter on regional security?

Unlike Vladimir Voronin, Igor Dodon cannot be forgiven for his amnesia and his wandering imagination about NATO. First of all, Igor Dodon should remember that he was brought into politics by Voronin in 2005, exactly in the period of reanimation of GUUAM, agreeing with the measures aimed at ensuring regional security. He definitely knows what commitments the Republic of Moldova undertook at the GUUAM Summit of 2005. Secondly, in 2016-2020, when he held the post of President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon promulgated several laws on the adjustment of Moldova’s relations with GUUAM. So, he didn’t plead for leaving GUUAM. On the contrary, by his signature he confirmed the commitments of the state.

Ultimately, Igor Dodon voluntarily undertook publicly to promote Moldova’s entry into the European Union. It happened at the International Forum in Crans Montana of June 28, 2018, when he said: “Our goal is to modernize and develop the Republic of Moldova. Reforms should be implemented exclusively for the people’s benefit. We will work out a strategic reform plan so that when the subject of accession of the Republic of Moldova to the European Union is raised, the country is ready from all viewpoints”. The citizens and development partners of the Republic of Moldova are still waiting for the strategic reform plan promised by Igor Dodon for ensuring Moldova’s entry into the EU.

So, the dissatisfaction of leader №2 of the EBCS is unsubstantiated and places the Moldovan officials in a difficult situation: how is it right to defend the interests of the Republic of Moldova - following the provisions of the agreements signed officially or guessing the changing dispositions of party leaders? In such circumstances, the country’s citizens will have to wait long to see a coherent foreign policy being pursued.

3. Conclusions

We convinced ourselves not only once that some of the politicians in the Republic of Moldova are unserious and change their positions like weathervanes. Their orientation depends on the direction of the wind, which helps them to smell political, financial, media and other kinds of interests.  

The EBCS leaders’ dissatisfaction with the signing of the Kiev Memorandum on cooperation between the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine in the field of European integration and the Eastern Partnership is just an electoral stratagem. They adjust themselves to the preferences of voters with particular geopolitical sympathies even if namely they laid the legal basis of Moldova’s relations with GUUAM, NATO and the EU. In such circumstances, it was worth reminding that in 2005, namely Vladimir Voronin reanimated the half dead GUUAM, as Igor Dodon in 2021 reanimates the half dead PCRM. This means that the half dead bodies sometimes can be useful. However, they can pose risks. For example, as Vladimir Voronin regrets the reanimation of GUUAM, Igor Dodon can regret the reanimation of the PCRM.