The November 28 elections were expected to produce the long-sought clarity on the Moldovan political arena, but unfortunately for us, it wasn't meant to be this time either. Things start to look even more mixed up, the political crisis is continuing, and the country's future seems to be more uncertain than ever. To rephrase an old Moldovan proverb, “a poor man can never get his politicians carry the load”. At this moment, this saying describes our realities best.
Nine days have passed since we made our choice about the future of the country and authorized the politicians to start negotiations on a democratic government, stable and effective, which would run the Republic of Moldova in the next four years. Our politicians, however, instead of getting down to proper negotiations, got stuck in endless and “innocent” discussions about the principles and values of the future coalition. They look for these principles and values everywhere, at the restaurants over an overpriced tea, at the President's mansion, in lavish hotels, at the embassies of America and Russia, in Rome, in Budapest, in Brussels and other European capitals, but to little avail thus far.
As the Moldovan politicians reached an impasse without properly starting the negotiations, Russia was quick to offer its “good offices”. At the last weekend the Kremlin sent its envoy to Chisinau, Sergey Naryshkin, the chief of President Dmitry Medvedev's administration and also a security general and a right-hand aide to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Barely had Naryshkin set foot outside of the plane that he was keen to express his deep concerns about the political crisis in Chisinau, about the stability, sovereignty and statehood of the Republic of Moldova. It was perfectly clear from Naryshkin's brief statements at the airport at he came to Chisinau exactly for the purpose of “helping” us overcome the crisis and make our minds, that is to adopt a path toward a strategic partnership with Russia.
After a merely formal flash meeting with acting President Mihai Ghimpu, Naryshkin went straight to the Russian Ambassador's mansion to preside over a private meeting with Communist leader Vladimir Voronin and Democrat leader Marian Lupu. By all accounts, the discussions held there met the expectations of Nariskin, Lupu and Voronin. It became known from subsequent statements made by the Democrats that the Communist Party has made a “very generous proposition” for a coalition, in particular in terms of power-sharing. As for the principles, nothing relevant was said; we can only guess that they will be formulated to the liking and with the help of Russia, which undoubtedly is behind this “generous proposition”.
In fact, there is a great question mark regarding the “bill” that the Democrats will have to pay to Moscow for this “generous offer”. And the question is not at all puerile, as many would rush to interpret. The example of Viktor Yanukovych, the President of Ukraine, who agreed on a 25-year extension on the stationing of the Russian Fleet in the Black Sea at Sevastopol, is cogent enough.
Meanwhile, as the Democrats are exuberantly cheerful, the same is not the case for their former allies, the Liberals and the Liberal-Democrats. The Liberal leaders seem dispirited and gloomy as the Lib-Dems suspiciously calm. On Monday, the PLDM announced categorically that they would not negotiate with the PCRM, opting for the restoration of the Alliance for European Integration. This announcement left the Democrat leaders apparently cold, which could be an indication that they expected as generous an offer from the PLDM. The PLDM's offer was eventually voiced today, shortly ahead of the forthcoming negotiations between the PCRM and PD. In the absence of a negotiable offer, all the parties that were once part of the Alliance continued to simulate “innocent” discussions on principles and values, waiting that someone will be more weak-kneed and will eventually yield.
In reality, these concealing discussions about principles and values, while failing to cover such crucial issues as reasonable power-sharing, operational mechanisms, instruments for dialogue and conflict resolution within a potential alliance, reveal the stubbornness and chronic incapacity of our political class to hold a civilized dialogue, to make concessions for each other and suppress their political ambitions for the sake of the national interests.
Eventually, the PD yielded and engaged in direct negotiations with the PCRM. It remains to be seen which will be the cost of such an alliance for the PD and, more importantly, for us all. What can be said for sure is that this will be a provisional government, it will not produce stability, the political struggle will become even fiercer, the constitutional crisis will continue, society will be more divided along geopolitical lines, and all these negative consequences will hit hard the welfare and reputation of our country. These are the potential consequences of empty talks on principles and values which, by the way, were already agreed on by the PLDM, the PD and the PL in August 2009 and which remain topical today, as well. Those interested in this subject can visit http://ape.md/libview.php?l=ro&idc=154&id=787 for more details.
Regretfully, this “game of principles” is not new. It echoes of what happened in 1999, when the Sturza Government was stripped of office, in 2000-2001, when the PCRM triumphantly took power, and also in 2005, when President Vladimir Voronin was re-elected with help from democrats from the opposition. Everybody, including our politicians, knows how those games ended. We will see soon how short, or not, our politician's memory is. In any case, we will remind them of it when the time comes. But it would be nice, for a change, to finally have politicians with common sense, with a good memory, with an unquestionable moral standing and an incontestable civic and political dignity. There have been so many “painted crows” in the last 11 years offered to us by our politicians. Will we get, this time too, such a crow stuffed with arguments about patriotism, statehood, strategic partnership with Russia, European integration and democracy till the end of times? What do you say, dear politicians?
Victor Chirila, executive director of the Foreign Policy Association