2 – Moldova. A Useful Crisis
BSSB.BE cidob.org 04.04.2016
*Moldova is experiencing a political turmoil for almost one year.
- The corruption scandal of the state-owned bank “Banca de Economii” and two other private banks marked a turning point in the conflict between Plahotniuc and Filat.
- From the very beginning it was clear that stealing about 15% of GDP of Moldova was not possible without the involvement or support of high-ranked officials and state institutions.
- In light of the 1 billion affair, no serious investigations took place. The only structured public information was the report of the well-known in Ukraine Kroll company. Although the report emphasized the role of the controversial businessman, Ilan Shor, who de facto managed the process of money extraction, it remained unclear who was offering the political back-up.
Certainly, in the current circumstances the IMF imposed cuts would be like a surgery without anesthesia, but the government needs IMF agreement also for non-monetary reasons. For instance, after it became clear that the government is not serious about investigating the bank fraud, the EU and other development partners of Moldova have suspended their budgetary support to Moldova, which represents an important chunk of the budget, especially in the current crisis.
The EU and other donors mentioned that it would unfreeze the funding once the government will have an agreement with the IMF. The only problem is that one of the conditions of the IMF is a credible international investigation of the bank fraud. Therefore, Moldova was put into an undeclared financial isolation.
The help came from Romania which agreed to offer $150 million loan just not to allow, as they say, Moldova falling into the hands of Russia. Certainly, this support is much appreciated and needed, but others think that it spoiled to some extent the efforts of the EU to reform the current system. From the geopolitical logic, some agree with the actions of Romania, while from the reformist logic this is not the best solution.
The issue of the fight between the two oligarchs requires more discussion since their activity impacted the overall situation in Moldova. Since the regime change in 2009, the oligarchs have been always in power. The division of the ministerial portfolios was always taking place through an algorithm between the two parties and others who joined the coalition.
The problem is that the EU has long-time considered Filat a good oligarch –especially when he was the prime minister– and Vlad Plahotniuc a bad one. These borders are now erased and both are considered simply oligarchs and the change of the EU position is also seen by the lack of reaction to Filat’s arrest.
Early elections would significantly decrease the role of declared pro-European parties as, according to latest opinion polls, these would barely make it into the parliament. Since the Liberal Democratic party is going to have a modest result, especially after the arrest of Vlad Filat, it is therefore much better to stay in alliance even on bad conditions.
The same goes for the opposition parties that are intermittently mentioning the need for early elections. The Communist party has lost its drive and a significant part of its credibility. While the Socialist party (the biggest one in Moldova) is likely to loose its votes in favor of Renato Ustai – a controversial pro-Russian politician who is on the rise after getting a very good result at the local elections.
Conclusions and recommendations
- It is unlikely that the current politicians could solve the existing problems. Corrupted people could not efficiently fight against corruption. The opposition is not cleaner then the incumbent parties and the system could be fixed only by new parties and leaders that are capable to take decisions without being influenced.
- The difficulties in Moldova, where the institutions are inefficient in front of the oligarchs, demonstrate that business and politics are deeply entangled and the state authority is incapable of changing the system.
- The “more for more” policy has to be complemented with the “back to basics” approach that would put more focus on the institution building; otherwise the difficulties in implementing reforms will remain.
- Also, the EU transformative ambition should be reflected in the new ENP and not only stabilization as it was suggested in the November 2015 communication of the European Commission.
The relations with the EU and West as well as the relations with Russia will depend on the evolution of the reform process in Moldova. The reforms refer precisely to the depoliticization and the return to the State control of the law-enforcement agencies – the institutions that are collecting money for the budget.
Equally important is the finalization of the investigation on the $1 billion theft as well as fight against corruption at all levels and regardless of political color. Aside from negative effects of the crisis and time lost of the reform process, one thing is certain: the crisis will be beneficial for Moldova since finally the problems will have to be truly addressed; otherwise a more radical protest is imminent.
Geopolitics Nations Crisis
- eurasiareview.com – Is Moldova a twin of Ukraine? – The political crisis in Moldova goes back to 2005 when the country had become a part of the Associations Agreement with the European Union. According to Iuri Vitneanschi, a city council member, “the Moldavian people were brainwashed by the pro-European propaganda while the government announced a pro-European political course for the country”. However, the reality the reality proved to be different from promising slogans.
- voltairenet.org/ – Multipolar world with media hegemony? – States struggling against imperialism are probably not sufficiently aware of the importance of having non-aligned media. Yet, obviously, Russia Today, Press TV, Telesur and Al Mayadeen are better at defending freedom than other weapons. For these are indeed weapons we are talking about. The first magic tool that the US uses for world domination is the dollar. The word “magic” is not just hyperbole; the dollar is indeed a magical creation since the Federal Reserve can create unlimited amounts in its computers, and the world sees these dollars as having an effective value, with an ulterior motive: petrodollars.
- stratfor.com/analysis/ – Who will get Moldova. A Roulette Wheel – Like Ukraine, Moldova is both weak and divided. Unlike Ukraine, Moldova does not have traditional or ethnic ties to Russia; it is ethnically and linguistically Romanian. This, along with Moldova’s small size and strategic location, is a main factor in the weakness of the state and its ability to balance between external powers.
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