The situation here in Moldova has spawned about a million articles, including now this one from the wise elves of The Economist entitled “A republic, if you can steal it”.
Nice title, eh? That’s the Economist’s way of being smart asses.
In 1918 the then three-month-old Moldovan republic gave up the struggle for survival and united with neighbouring Romania. It is a sign of how dire things are today, says Iulian Fota, a Romanian analyst, that people are talking about doing so again. Ever since 2014, when the embezzlement of about $1 billion from three banks forced a taxpayer bail-out that has crippled the economy, the country has been lurching towards collapse.
Well, that’s not quite what happened in 1918, but we’ll leave that story for another day. As for current events, it’s worth repeating here that that 1 billion was stolen with the help of British banks.
Many Moldovans are incensed by reports in the Western press that the current struggle is one between pro-Russian and pro-European parties. For most protesters, the conflict has nothing to do with geopolitics. As Victoria Bucataru of the Foreign Policy Association of Moldova puts it, they are fed up with elites fighting for power while they grow poorer.
Well, that paragraph is right
Meanwhile Moldova is cut off from the external financing that it needs.
Yes, as we’ve heard repeatedly over the past two weeks, Moldova’s number one priority must be taking on more debt from the World Bank and the IMF. *snort*
Meanwhile, the Irish Times has once again written a fairly balanced piece:
Moldova’s opposition is planning new demonstrations after an ultimatum to the government expired yesterday evening, amid warnings that the protests could lead to violence and calls for European mediation to defuse a growing crisis. The government ignored opposition demands to resign and call snap elections, and rejected criticism of how it took power last week, with a hurried vote of approval from deputies and a secret swearing-in ceremony in the dead of night.
Nothing says legitimacy like a secret midnight ceremony!
Meanwhile the American-funded Radio Free Europe has a piece full of factual errors, including this paragraph:
Usatii returned to Moldova in 2014 after a decade spent in Russia. His last attempt to make his mark in Moldovan elections fell short when his pro-Russian Homeland party was banned just days ahead of the November 2014 parliamentary elections by order of the Supreme Court on the grounds that it had illegally received funding from abroad.
Actually, it was the Electoral Commission which made that decision. But this is the paragraph that matters:
Both Dodon and Usatii have been traveling extensively to Russia, and were seen together on a plane returning from Moscow on January 20, just hours before launching the current protests outside Parliament as lawmakers hurriedly approved Filip’s government.
I have no idea whether or not it’s true that both of these men were on the same commercial flight from Moscow on January 20, but this paragraph clearly seems to hint that they were briefed by their Russian “masters” and then arrived in Chisinau to immediately begin protesting. Actually, the protests have been ongoing, and nothing was “launched” on January 20. Secondly, Usatii and Dodon have different political agendas.
From there, it only gets stupider, with pieces like this calling Moldova “the New Ukraine”.
On the surface, huge anti-government demonstrations in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, are mirroring recent events in Ukraine when violent standoffs in the capital, and then in the country’s south and east, were defined by allegiance to either Moscow or the European Union.
Uh, no. There hasn’t been any violence here (although literally every article I’ve quoted today hints at it, as if someone WANTS violence). Secondly, one of the key factions protesting in Moldova (called “Truth and Dignity” coalition) is pro-European. And nobody, as far as I am aware, is interested in allegiance to either the EU or Russia.
Meanwhile, while all this is going on, Romanian President Iohannis Klaus is fixated on Moldova building a highway (link in Romanian) to Romania:
A highway “that connects Moldova to the other countries in Europe” is a necessity and should be a priority project, said President Klaus, speaking in Iasi, without giving any details.
The foolishness continues, with this article (in Romanian) already assuming that RM will unite with Romania, the only remaining question being “What do we do with Transnistria?”
This moron’s answer to his own question is (my translation):
1. We don’t relinquish Transnistria, or
2. We relinquish Transnistria if that’s the price that must be paid to unite RM and Romania.
Here’s a third option – wake up to reality and face the fact that Transnistria is an independent country already.
Oh well. Not much inspiration or education from the international press today.
As for me, I’ll go see what’s going on here in Chisinau for myself, and hope everyone defies all these predictions for violence, coups, and swearing “allegiance” to foreign powers.