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19 October 2019
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Gheorghe Russu

Vice-director, The Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption

Parties-Phantoms, Parties - State Institutions, Parties - State Enterprises

Ion PREAŞCĂ

20 parties have registered in the current election campaign. Many people say it is a too big number for such a small country as Moldova. At the same time, much more parties could take part in the election campaign.

Last week illustrated
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Activists launch Moldova’s first ‘Space Camp’ © Susan Coughtrie

Why did the communists keep their positions in the political ranking?

For some people this is a rhetorical question, because the former officials are now in deep opposition, and the liberal government is forced to manage a problematic economic situation, without disturbing the public interest.
Denis CENUSA, 22 April 2010, 10:19

Still, what is the secret of the communists' success: the political circumstances, the complicated socio-economic situation or the unsustainability of the current Alliance for European Integration? Why, despite the efforts of the liberal parties to destroy the image of PCRM, the communists come first in the political preferences of the local public?

Thus, we find that the anti-communist liberals failed in their attempts to weaken the political position of Communists. It seems that the actions of the liberal democrat coalition had a rather opposite effect. The Communist Party continues to be supported by over 30% of the Moldovan electorate, having a similar percentage as during repeated elections.


Politics is more tolerant towards opposition

Being in opposition gives the former „government party" credibility in the eyes of the public, which naturally tends to identify with those opposing the government. Such an attitude is inevitable in the relations between the government and the governed. Neither the controversial political experience of PCRM, nor the extraordinary disclosures about the leaders of this party were sufficient to decrease the „public approval" of the main opposition party.

Massive declassification of deeds committed by the communist government, as well as the establishment of a range of tools meant to reduce the communists' influence in the country, led to the transfer of resistance from the political to the social environment. Finally, various groups of electors have become supportive of the Communists, enjoying the „political victim" condition acquired by the Communist Party as a result of the imperfect, clumsy „liberal offensive", sometimes lacking necessary coherence and linearity.

Actions according to the „political vendetta" principle hindered the objective and consistent judgment of the deeds committed by the former government. The consequences of this irrational power transfer has changed certain population segments from mindful spectators into the docile social agents, motivated to fiercely defend „the honor" of PCRM, despite obvious violations liable to harsh penalties.

The inviolability of communists "status-quo" is due to the following strengths:

• The institutionalized „Moldovan identity", interiorized in mass psychology, but also redesigned into new political initiatives;

• The renewal of the „vanity" of ethnic minorities, driven by the popularization of anti-liberal phobias;

•The revival of historical polemics related to before and post-war period (the Soviet past, the role of Soviet forces in the Second World War, etc.), clever using of the pro-Romanian orientation of the local public agenda by "more radical liberals".
"The logic of the liberals"

Multiple „lawyers" of the liberals tried to convince the public opinion that after the elimination of media monopoly (eliminating the control of the Broadcasting Coordination Council (BCC), changing the management of "Teleradio-Moldova" public company, ordering the activities of pro-communist media outlets, etc.) the popularity of the communists will decrease. In reality, public memory, based on perceptions inoculated by communists during two terms, is more durable than unilateral campaigns initiated by some participants of the new power (in particular, Liberal Party (LP) and Liberal Democrat Party of Moldova (LDPM)).
However, the current government has heavily staked on the loyalty and indulgence of civil society, which mostly kept its neutrality and objectivity towards the political actors, although it has generously supplied political parties with staff.

On the other hand, the officials are forced to accept criticism channeled civil society, adjusting its discourse to the democratic and European coexistence principles. The calm attitude of liberal parties towards the bad results of the recent survey presented by the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives „Viitorul" (Communist Party - 30.3%, Liberal Democratic Party - 14% Democratic Party- 10.8%, Liberal Party - 7.4% etc.) is a proof of that. This remark is conclusive, especially when we remember the heavy accusations of actual governing parties against non-governmental organizations regarding the "inaccurateness" of polls. Often such civil society products were considered to be carried out at the orders of communists.
However, we must remember that the initiator of this survey is a strong supporter of the new government and fierce critic of the communists. For those who distribute power levers would be illogical to disapprove of civil society representatives promoting ideas acceptable and sometimes even beneficial for the Alliance for European Integration (related to National Security, Constitutional Reform, National Economy, etc.). On the contrary, they are focused on increasing the number of supporters among the society, by attracting them into various mixed partnerships (public - associative field), which sometimes have a political nature.

"The meaning" of the external vector

The role of external factors in maintaining communists in the popularity top is essential. Both West and East have become, unintentionally or intentionally, a part of communist strategies of preserving influence in the Moldovan society. We remember the hesitation of European institutions to frontally attack communists, while equidistantly emphasizing very positive aspects of the communist government, addressing its negative features rather superficially. Here we have to mention that, in the case of the Republic of Moldova, Europeans do not breach the principles of impartiality and non-interference in internal affairs of a third state. Even if during the communists' term Brussels was more vocal, it now deliberately keeps the criticism of communists to the minimum, in order to calm down the political situation which is extremely volatile and unpredictable (due to a very long political crisis).

However, the Communists have a „carte blanche" from Moscow. In the same context, after having been reserved in comments about the former government, the Russian authorities tend to develop an attitude of discontent with the liberal government among Russian speaking Moldovan. The attempts of the Russian party become more efficient since certain political actors from Chisinau continue dropping bricks by participating in the development of policies which are too hostile towards Russia.

Finally, all the conditions described above allow PCRM to strengthen its electoral positions, the access to external policies of foreign factors being, at the same time, increased, for the purpose of establishing a strong partisanship within the Moldovan community, exposed to polarization / radicalization, but also to dangerous endemic antagonisms.

 



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