The absence of the Moldovan vector policy of Kiev plays into the hands of the Russian Federation

Отсутствие молдавского вектора в политике Киева играет на руку РФ

Moldova is unfairly small part of the foreign policy of Ukraine. Small (slightly more than three million of population) the country is one of the key at the intersection of the EU, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The passiveness of Kiev in the Moldavian area virtually negates the role of Ukraine as a player, playing into the hands of main rival – the Russian Federation. Even the initiative for the participation of the Ukrainian military in the parade on August 27 in Chisinau came from Moldova. Although this should insist Kiev.

Ukraine can use its soft power, creating the image of the protector of human rights and a protector against Russian influences in the former Soviet Union. Take a closer look.

Election of President of Moldova in 2016: a new system and risks

30 Oct 2016 Moldova for the first time since 1996, will elect the President of the country by direct vote. The incumbent President, Nicolae Timofti was elected by the Parliament (62 votes out of 101) and his powers ended on 23 March this year.

A great chance to win could be the Renato Usatii, leader of the Our party and one of the most Pro-Russian politicians in the country. However, his presidential ambitions are limited by the constitutional provision on the age of the candidate in presidents from forty years, whereas Baleen at the time of elections will be only thirty-seven. His political power was also removed from the parliamentary elections of 2014 for not reflection in the accounts transferred from overseas funds.

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It is a mistake to consider the other candidates a priori Pro-European. In Moldova actually formed similar to Ukrainian “oligarchic consensus”, where the business interests of certain groups prevail over national interests. That is why Kiev needs to be included in the game, otherwise the initiative will continue to be monitored for a more proactive players.

Russian influence: the funding of politicians and “independent monitoring”

The Russian Federation actively operates not only in Transnistria, but also on the territory of Moldova. The main tools are the financing of political forces, the inspiration of the protests, the organization of referenda, and monitoring and ensuring media coverage of Moldovan processes.

Russia supports the political forces of Moldova. Not only Our party of Renato Usatyi is supported by the Russians.

Actively Pro-Russian force is the Party of socialists Igor Dodon, which now represented the largest faction of the Parliament (24 people) and scored 20.5% of the votes in the last election. Ahead of the 2014 elections with the Dodon met Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Rogozin. Retains its influence , the Communist party of Vladimir Voronin, which has 21 seats.

One of the effective tools in the Russian campaign in the region is the management of information coverage of the elections. One of the most active newsmakers on the topic of Moldova in the Russian-speaking Internet is the CISEMO (Commonwealth of Independent States — Election Monitoring Organization). This observation was established in September 2003, immediately after the creation of the CSTO. In fact, this structure with international status legitimitize puppet elections and referendums, as an alternative to Western observers.

Divide and conquer: referendums and managed protests

Transnistria is not the only Moldovan territory, which has a direct impact Russia. Under pressure is also Gagauzia, which borders of the Odessa region of Ukraine. In February 2014, the Communist party initiated a referendum, the results of which 96% of the population of Gagauzia have expressed a desire for self-determination and called for the accession of Moldova to the Customs Union.

Moldova, like the Ukraine also at the protest. So in 2009, the “brick revolution”, which actually did not recognize the victory of the Communists. The result was lists of voices, the coalition “For European integration” and formed a new government.

Attempts to initiate protests also took place in 2015-2016. This time the organizers were socialists of Dodon and the Communists Voronin. The reason was the disappearance of one billion euros from one of the social banks, where the money of pensioners (quite familiar to the Ukrainian situation). “The disappearance of a billion” was the subject of an international investigation, which featured key figures of the Moldovan political elite. In General the protests due to the economic hardships.

Related news: Protests in Chisinau: What you need to know about the crisis in Moldova

Stop the wave of rallies in the winter of 2016 was estimated by analysts of the Ukrainian company ‘Da Vinci AG’ as the change in the strategy of the Russian Federation. According to experts, the Kremlin changed the strategy. Instead of special operational actions of the authorities of Moldova will support changes in the legal plane. In other words – the impact will occur in the long term – through the support of political and social projects.

Alternative Pro-Russian politicians suspected of corruption

The democratic forces of Moldova are very similar to Ukrainian politicians is also famous for scandals. For example, Vladimir Filat, the founder of the liberal democratic party (23 out of 101 seats in Parliament) in October 2015 has become the party of corruption and resigned leader. It is this force in 2009, has not recognized the victory of the Communists and became the organizer of the protests.

Center-right Mihai Ghimpu for the Liberal party memorable fight with the defense Minister and a member of the same party Vitaly Marinutsa in 2013. The reason was the charges Marinucci in corruption schemes in his post.

Pro-Western politician Marian Lupu of the Democratic party has the most clean reputation. At least, according to references in the media. However, this political force was supported in January 2016 nomination for the post of Prime Minister of Moldova Vladimir Plahotniuc – odious businessman, “oligarch” by Ukrainian standards.

Hence a clear conclusion – the Moldovan political elite is divided into two camps. However, none of them is a wholly-owned partner of Ukraine.

Spaces for the Ukrainian soft power

First, Ukraine must determine its course of action on the territory of the former Soviet Union. You need to follow their own interests and not contrary to or work purely for Russia. It Moldova can be a country where you can practice soft power.

This country is relatively small and close to the Ukraine geographically. Most of her residents understand the Russian language. In this case, the knowledge of Ukrainian activists in Russian language becomes their competitive advantage in opposition to Putin’s influence.

Second, Ukraine should use the image of a post-revolutionary country in the territory of the former Soviet Union. At the time, Poland has strengthened itself enough due to the “advocacy of Ukraine” and as an active lobbyist of the “Eastern partnership”. For that, you should reconsider its attitude, particularly to political prisoners. At the time of Yanukovych there was a scandal with the abduction from Kiev by the Russian special services of Leonid Razvozzhaev. Now the information space has stirred up the matter of Vyacheslav Platon – businessman who received Ukrainian citizenship. He is a witness in the case about a billion” and ready to testify about his involvement in the case of Vladimir Plahotniuc. Plato was secretly extradited from Kiev on the night of 30 August 2016 at the request of Moldova (according to the media – directly Vladimir Plahotniuc). This step will actually make it impossible for the FBI investigation, which also tries to investigate the case.

News: Ukraine gave Moldova businessman Veaceslav Platon

Ukraine’s position in the case of Plato and the investigation into Razvozzhayev could emphasize the independence of the Ukrainian judicial and law enforcement system, and willingness to protect people from their citizenship.

Thirdly, the independence and the fight against the regime of Yanukovych raised a whole galaxy of activists and monitors (observers with the ability to quickly and accurately capture and prevent the violations). Elections in 2016 in Moldova should be strengthened Ukrainian observers. Social activists have to share with Moldovan colleagues with experience of non-violent confrontation, creative protests. In addition to political effect, it will provide networking between civil environments of Ukraine and Moldova with a subsequent deployment to other countries of the former Soviet Union.

If these steps are not done right to objectivity take CIS-EMO and Russian media, what will be the implementation of the Russian strategy to control Moldova through legal mechanisms.

Petro Okhotin

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