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Political fiction: Moldova without geopolitics

What if Moldova was removed from the geopolitical tug of war for a few years?

June 14, 2019 - Piotr Oleksy - Articles and Commentary

Vineyard at Cricova north of Chisinau. Photo: David Stanley (cc) flickr.com

The new majority in the Moldovan parliament is temporary and has a clear objective in mind. The notion that a coalition of the pro-western ACUM and the pro-Russian Socialist Party could rule together longer belongs to the genre of political fiction. It could also be the best thing for the country.

The driving forces behind domestic politics and the social dynamics in the entire existence of the independent Republic of Moldova have been major players struggling for greater influence in the region and the torn identity of its citizens. The former encouraged the latter, with the local elites profiting from a clear lack of a unified national identity, upholding the geopolitical context as the main tool to legitimise state authority. When one is busy safeguarding a civilisational choice it becomes difficult to bother with the health of citizens, the fate of children whose parents emigrated looking for work or the state of the infrastructure. After all, the enemy is at the gates! In such an environment it is possible to deflect questions about the curious disappearance of a billion US dollars.

It is challenging not to come under the impression that foreign partners have mostly viewed Moldova as a land filled with grapevines (great ones to be sure!) and geopolitics. The situation where Russia, the US and the EU briefly came together to support the appearance of an anti-oligarchic parliamentary majority is without precedence not only in Moldova but the region itself. It is likely that soon we will have to come to the brutal realisation that each of the players had their own interests. These are not necessarily aligning with the ones of their temporary partners. Let us imagine, for the sake of political fiction, that Moscow, Washington and Brussels decide together on leaving the Moldovans in peace by declaring a four year memorandum on actions towards Chisinau. The broad coalition is left to last, even encouraged to do so. The country is supported, albeit moderately without pumping in money, giving a fishing rod instead of a fish.

Perhaps this time would be sufficient not only to improve the financial state and living conditions of Moldovans, but also for the emergence of real institutions deeply rooted in the collective and a political culture. After these four years both Moldovan politicians and the society would be aware of that they are capable and obliged to take responsibility for state affairs. Maybe then, after the memorandum comes to a close, conflicts based on identity and geopolitics would have a different dimension. Political breakthroughs could come through grassroot impulses and not through Monday visits from three angels or riders of the apocalypse – depending on what perspective you choose.

This is all fiction of course. It is tempting however, is it not?

Piotr Oleksy is a historian working at the Eastern Institute of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. He often contributes to New Eastern Europe and istheauthor of the book Transdnistria. The Terror of Identity.



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