Questions regarding the irreversibility of the Moldovan European path re-emerged in spite of the constant statements from the ruling coalition that Moldova will remain committed to the implementation of the provisions under the Association Agreement. The pro-Moldova messages delivered both by the Democratic party and the Presidential institution raise concerns regarding the future parliamentary elections and as a result, possible coalitions. The violations of the Security Zone obligations by the Operational Group of Russian Forces (OGRF) remain a topic on the agenda of the Transnistrian settlement as well as the lack of a commonly agreed policy among state institutions.
Domestic policy. A hectic agenda
During the month of September, several events took place emphasizing once again the lack of the rule of law and inconsistent domestic policies on Moldovan national interests, the Transnistrian conflict settlement being one of them. The Moldovan president, Igor Dodon for the third time during his mandate met with Vadim Krasnolselski, the leader of the Transnistrian region. The meeting took place at the presidential residence in Condrița, where the two reiterated the importance of the “peacekeeping operation on the Nistru River as a guarantee of the peace and security of the citizens”. This came after continuous violations of the Security Zone obligations by the paramilitary forces of the Tiraspol separatist regime in cooperation with the Operational Group of Russian Forces (OGRF). The OGRF conducts offensive military exercises, forcing the Nistru River, without the required approval and coordination with the Joint Control Commission and the Joint Military Command. The president`s statements reconfirm the absence of a clear and unified position on the Transnistrian settlement on behalf of the Republic of Moldova. The situation also illustrates the dual vision of one of the key issues about the Moldovan statehood and territorial integrity between the presidential administration and the government. Contrary to Dodon’s statement on the importance of the current peacekeeping operation format and the presence of the Russian Federation in different formats, the government of the Republic of Moldova repeatedly signals cases of illegal presence of the OGRF in the Security Zone and requests the withdrawal of the illegal Russian military stationed in the Transnistrian region on international tribunes.
Another disputed event in the name of national security was carried out by the Security and Intelligence Services (SIS) of the Republic of Moldova. Seven Turkish citizens living in Moldova for more than 20 years were expelled on the charges of terrorism. The SIS Antiterrorist Center invoked the affiliation to an Islamist group and terrorist activities threatening Moldovan national security. The detained suspects are the Deputy Director and other employees of the Moldovan – Turkish “Orizont” Lyceum network, considered to be one of the most prestigious lyceums in Chisinau. This “complex operation” raised concerns among human rights organization. A common declaration was issued explaining why these actions are a violation of human rights and questioned the justification of the unannounced expulsion invoking possible hidden political interests.
Last but not least, Vlad Plahotniuc the leader of the Democratic Party announced in a press briefing the new strategic communication tactics, emphasizing the pro-Moldova domestic orientation. The change of rhetoric comes as a result of the spiny relation with the Euro-Atlantic partners. The hectic decision reveals the electoral mood on one hand, and confuses and destabilizes the European communication vector even more.
Economy. Optimistic data against reality
The adoption of the new budgetary and fiscal reform was deeply criticized by the development partners because of the major risks that the strategy can be expose to. Nevertheless, according to the National Bureau of Statistic report, the Moldovan economy registered a 5.2% growth in the second quarter and 4.5% in the first quarter. The most important contributions to GDP growth were made by domestic trade, manufacturing and agriculture. On the other hand, because of postponing disbursement of the 100-million-euro EU macro-financial assistance the Government lent over 560 million Lei (28.7 Euro) on the domestic market, or nearly seven times more than initially planned to borrow in the third quarter of this year.
Foreign Policy. Igor Dodon’s pilgrimage to Moscow
The end of the month was marked by the visit of president Dodon to Moscow where he met Dmitri Kozak, deputy prime minister and the Kremlin Special Representative for Trade Relations with Moldova. The meeting took place immediately after Dodon’s visit to Dushanbe, where he participated in the summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The appointment of the Dmitri Kozak as a Special Representative on Moldova raised concerns considering the previous Federalization Plan. Dodon is the first Moldovan leader to meet Kozak after his appointment, and a strong supporter of the idea of federalization, against the general perception of the harmfulness of the possible federalization under the provisions stated by the Russian authorities. During the visit to Dushanbe, Dodon had a short meeting with Vladimir Putin, presumably discussing the upcoming visit of Patriarch Kirill to Moldova next month and his next visit to Moscow, planned for 31 October – 1 November. Delivering his speech at the Commonwealth of Independent States Summit, he pointed out two main ideas: the pro-Moldova domestic and foreign policy orientation, a message delivered as well by the Democratic party recently, and the need for cooperation both with the EU and Eurasia Union, positioning himself as a promoter of closer relations between the EU and Eurasian Union. If the common messaging delivered by both Dodon and Plahotniuc is a coincidence or a pre-electoral stting remains a question, but this definitely increases the concerns of the expert’s community