© Marcus Tullius Cicero
The Moldovan presidential election will take place on November 1 this year. There are only two real candidates, current Moldovan President Igor Dodon and former Moldovan Prime Minister Maia Sandu. At the same time, the ratings of both candidates are equal at the moment, so we should expect a second round.
I am pretty familiar with the political situation in the Moldovan region. So, the election for the Moldovan people is a kind of "national pastime". At the same time, de facto, there are no "pro-Russian" or "pro-Western" politicians there. Moreover, this applies both to Moldova and unrecognised Transnistria. For example, Igor Dodon takes money from Moscow, but only people, who do not know anything about the situation, can call him a "pro-Russian" politician. Maia Sandu, on the contrary, is considered a "pro-Western" politician, but I am not sure in what way her "pro-Western" stance is greater than Igor Dodon's one. If someone does not know, the NATO military has been on Moldovan territory, de facto, for a long time, and the association agreement between Moldova and the EU entered into force on July 1, 2016. In other words, Moldova has been developing as a "pro-Western" country for a long time, regardless of who the president is. The only critical point in terms of differences between these candidates is the attitude to the integration of Moldova and Romania, but it has nothing to do with the "pro-Western" stance, rather with historical matters.
And then, just before the election in Moldova, the head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, stated that the US is preparing a colour revolution in Moldova after the presidential election. As far as I understood, the USA will start the "colour revolution" in Moldova by sending some "experts" in this field. Well, thank God, at least they will not send the "Fifth Fleet" to the Dniester...
Frankly, Sergei Naryshkin now looks a bit like Maria Zakharova with these kinds of statements. The Russian Foreign Ministry did practically nothing this spring for the sake of helping Russians stuck abroad because of the coronavirus pandemic to return to Russia. Of course, she made a profound statement to change the subject that the US is recruiting Russian children. However, while Maria Zakharova is just unhinged sometimes, even people from Serbia have realised that, Sergei Naryshkin's problems are far more serious. Now let us talk about who is preparing the "colour" revolution in Moldova.
In general, events that can be described as "colour" revolutions occur in Moldova almost every year, and nobody pays any attention to them. There are demonstrations and fights in the streets, the country's government resigns several times a year, political coalitions are instantly formed and collapse. All this is true for Moldova. Russia has not been influencing these processes for a long time. However, "someone" said in the Kremlin that Igor Dodon is a "pro-Russian" politician, and eventually, he was allocated more than a billion dollars in loans and other tranches from Russia. There was unprecedented support for the 2019 parliamentary elections in Moldova, which, by the way, only made the ratings of Moldovan socialists worse.
Once again, Igor Dodon is not a "pro-Russian" or "pro-Western" politician. He just loves money, for the sake of which he has managed to ditch everyone who has ever had a serious relationship with him. Political betting on Igor Dodon is just an excellent excuse to "saw something else off". Furthermore, if the candidate fails, everything can be blamed on the United States. In America, the country's political establishment has nothing else to do than to prepare the colour revolution in Moldova by all means right before the momentous elections in the US.
Now let us talk a little bit about why Igor Dodon is more likely to lose this election and not to the strongest opponent. By the way, the strongest opponent of Igor Dodon, Vladimir Plahotniuc, was "removed" from the Moldovan political board by the Americans. However, we will talk about it a little later.
So, about Igor Dodon's weaknesses. In Moldova, all know what Igor Dodon did to Vladimir Voronin, Oleg Horzhan and many other people. It certainly will not add some points to his rating.
Also, Moldovan citizens are now openly kidnapped in Moldova and taken with a bag on their heads to neighbouring Transnistria, where these citizens are "tried" and disabled at the local branches of the modern GESTAPO (Excuse me, but I have no other words to describe the Transnistrian "power" organisations). Furthermore, the last case took place on the 8th of October this year. Also, the Transnistrian "Gestapo" is not limited to Moldovan citizens. Thus, a Russian citizen, Gennady Kuzmichev, was kidnapped in Moldova in 2018 and is still illegally detained in Transnistria, but for some reason, neither the Russian Foreign Ministry nor the Foreign Intelligence Service cares about it. Igor Dodon is rumoured to have very close mutually beneficial contacts with the actual owner of Transnistria, President of Sheriff Holding Victor Gushan, so this kind of crime go unnoticed on the part of Moldova.
Furthermore, the third factor is the socio-economic situation in Moldova. It is only getting worse, so Moldovans are forced to leave searching for work in other countries. After Moldavan people have got an opportunity of visa-free entry to the EU, there was a serious change of routes of the Moldavan guest workers from Russia towards Europe that also affected the political views of the local population. So if to name one of the candidates "pro-Russian" in Moldova, it will not add to ratings now and more likely will get it down.
Therefore, if Moscow would considering strengthening the influence in Moldova, they would look for any new adequate local politician with a sterling reputation and also would not spread how "pro-Russian" he is, back and forth.
As for Maia Sandu, she is a kind of "black sheep" in Moldovan politics. She is not affiliated with any of the serious "old" political forces of Moldova. At the same time, Sandu traditionally relies on the so-called "pro-Romanian" political electorate - i.e. supporters of integration of Moldova and Romania. This does not add sympathy among voters to her, as a significant part of Moldova's population is categorically against this kind of integration, which at the same time is historically conditioned. Moldova leads its history from the end of the 14th century and Romania only from the second half of the 19th century. Many Moldavans have no desire to become a province on the back of the most beggarly country of the European Union, relearning their native language at the same time.
Maia Sandu can win only against a background of the complete weakness of the current President, Igor Dodon, for the reasons already described above. And even if she wins the elections, it is unlikely that she will be able to stop the political crisis in Moldova that has been going on for years unless she completely abandons the "Romanian nationalism" policy. Moreover, it can only intensify the crisis if Moldova's integration with Romania is put on the agenda.
The only positive thing here can be that Maia Sandu will somehow try to solve problem with the occupied by the organised criminal community Transnistria . At least to prevent people being captured on Moldovan territory and to achieve criminal prosecution of the individuals from Tiraspol responsible for the mass violation of human rights.
I would also like to write a little about Vladimir Plahotniuc. The expert community of Moldova, whom at least I had a chance to communicate with during my last visit to this country in January 2019, considered Vladimir Plahotniuc as the new President. There was a sense that Plahotniuc was already, de facto, in charge of Moldova at the time. He controlled the judicial power and had a significant influence on the legislative and executive authorities of Moldova and also mass media. Thus he possessed unlimited financial resources. Plahotniuc also negotiated with Tiraspol so that Victor Gushan organised full support for his candidates in single-mandate constituencies in the Moldovan parliamentary elections of February 2019. According to rumours, Gushan and Plahotniuc had a common and far from legal business, which he run, completely ignoring Moscow's official sharply negative position on Plahotniuc. That is, Vladimir Plahotniuc controlled almost everything in Moldova and at the same time had excellent relations with the authoritative "neighbours" in the person of Victor Gushan from Transnistria and Petro Poroshenko from Ukraine. However, all this splendour collapsed in an instant...
In early summer 2019, Maia Sandu, representing the political bloc ACUM, and the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova, represented by Igor Dodon, formed a coalition and the Government of Moldova, which Maia Sandu headed. The Democratic Party of Moldova, led by Vladimir Plahotniuc, found itself in opposition at one point. Vladimir Plahotniuc was not about to give up easily. However, on June 14, 2019, amid the Democratic Party of Moldova meeting, where the question "what are we going to do?" was solved, the US Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Derek Hogan, stopped by for 5 minutes. Then Vladimir Plahotniuc got into the car and left to Transnistria and then to Ukraine, whence, already having changed name, flew to Miami. He did not stay long in the USA either - under threat of criminal prosecution, he soon left the territory of the USA and settled, according to some sources, in Costa Rica.
The reasons why the USA have got rid of Vladimir Plahotnjuk are known in wide enough circles. However, why would the Americans get rid of a completely controllable, the main contender for the President of Moldova, not being assured that the person loyal to them will get the post of the President? Why would Igor Dodon form a coalition with Maia Sandu, ditching Vladimir Plahotniuc, just like that, and not without the pressure of the Americans? I think that the scenario of the Moldovan elections has been played out for a long time. At least it looks like this. Maia Sandu will win most of the Moldovan Democrat electorate and the election with 55%-60% in the second round. And Igor Dodon will lose vanishing into thin air with Russia's tranches allocated to Moldova. We will see it in November.
Dmitrii Ershov, political scientist.