Moldova has been in the state of a constant political crisis since the election in February. Nonetheless, recently, the political crisis had deepened causing a new round of instability.
On June 8, the ACUM [the electoral alliance of DA and PAS, and the Șor Party] and the Socialist Party (SP) of President Igor Dodon forged an alliance forming a government. As a result of this ‘unprecedented step’ [the mainstream media describes ACUM as a pro-Western bloc and the SP as a pro-Russian one], ACUM’s Maia Sandu, a former minister and World Bank adviser, was named prime minister, while the SP’s Zinaida Greceanii. Besides this, they voted on other key parliamentary leadership posts.
Sandu said her government’s program consisted of “the country’s liberation from the oligarchical system,” “the restoration of the economy and cooperation with the International Monetary Fund,” and “the fight against corruption and poverty.”
The Socialist Party and the ACUM together control 61 seats out of 101 in the Parliament. Following the February 24 parliamentary election, both parties refused to create a coalition with the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM), which controls the government and which they blamed for power grab in the country.
Their move clashed with the interests of the well-known grey cardinal of the Moldovan politics, the oligarch Vladimir Plakhotnyuk. He’s the real decision maker behind the DPM that controlled the ruling majority in the previous parliament. However, the wide-scale level of corruption and never-ending scandals surrounding Plakhotnyuk resulted in a drastic fall of the DMP’s popularity. In the new parliament, it controls 30 seats only. Despite this, Plakhotnyuk and his inner circle kept a significant influence on the executive branch and courts of the state through a wide network of loyal persons.
The established situation in Moldova is not something new. SouthFront’s 2016 analysis on the topic:
In response to the June 8 development, Plakhotnyuk’s DMP submitted a request for delivery of judgement by the Constitutional Court of Moldova. The Constitutional Court almost immediately issued a statement invalidating the proceedings.
“The court finds the decision of June 8, 2019, taken by the members of the 10th parliament to elect Zinaida Greceanii to the post of speaker of parliament to be unconstitutional,” the court said. Additionally, it declared all future decisions of the parliament invalid as well. [This decision is based on the allegation that parties failed to form the coalition in time. Depending on how the 90 days to form a coalition are being counted, the deadline can be set on June 7, June 9 and even June 21]
Furthermore, the Constitutional Court suspended President Igor and named Pavel Filip, who was the DPM prime minister, as acting president.
On June 8, Moldovan President Igor Dodon met with US, EU and Russian ambassadors. Dodon informed them about the possible destabilization of the situation and stressed that he had decided not to sign the decree on the parliament’s dissolution, despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling.
On June 9, Filip said that he had dissolved parliament and called snap elections for September 6. The DMP held a demonstration in support of this move. Both Plakhotnyuk and Filip participated in the rally.
Moldova officially entered into the period of duality of power.
If Plakhotnyuk and his DPM achieves in victory in the ongoing standoff, the chances that Moldova would break the vicious cycle of poverty and instability will return to a minimum. This will demonstrate the oligarchic essence of the current Moldovan state, in which the pro-oligarchic forces can remain in power even despite an open failure in the elections.
One more eastern European state suffering from the large-scale corruption, government incompetence and oligarchic clans is Ukraine. Its previous president, Petro Poroshenko, was an oligarch himself. Its newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky is publicly backed and influenced by another oligarch, Igor Kolomoisky.
During the presidential campaign, Zelenksy repeatedly called for establishing a real ceasefire on the contact line between the Ukrainian Army and forces of the Donestk and Luganks People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine. Nonetheless, despite the start of the Zelensky term, clashes and artillery duels in the area continued without changes. Units of the Ukrainian Army and its special forces continued limited offensive operations and daily strikes across the contact line. Forces of the DPR and LPR respond by force.
An interesting fact showcasing Zelensky’s attitude towards situation was noted during his recent trip to the line of demarcation in eastern Ukraine. The president attended and observed positions of Ukrainian troops stationed there, but fully ignored civilians leaving in the area.
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Besides this, the acting Ukrainian President followed rhetoric of his predecessor on the international scene. During the June 4 visit to Brussels, Zelensky met with EU and NATO officials and declared the Poroshenko-style course to joining the NATO and fighting Russia.
After the meeting with Zelensky, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia of “illegal actions” in the Black Sea and said that NATO would hold more exercises in July 2019. In own turn, Zelensky called for the increase of sanction war on Russia.
The staff policy of the new Ukrainian president is also a source of internet memes. Zelensky appointed own business and childhood friends as well as persons affiliated with oligarch Kolomoisky at key positions in the government. For example, Kolomoisky’s lawyer, Andriy Bogdan, became the presidential chief of staff.
The social and security situation in the country is instable. Former members of “volunteer battalions” of pro-Kiev forces and other radical elements play a key role in the so-called “democratic activism” observed on the streets of Ukrainian towns and cities. The radicalization of the society was publicly endorsed by the Poroshenko government as a tool of internal policy. The Zelensky administration seems to not willing to change this situation.
The state of General Georgy Zhukov and one of the key Red Army commanders during the World War 2 was toppled by radicals in the city of Kharkov on June 2. The incident took place during a rally of right-wing organization like Self-defense, Kharkiv Euromaidan, National Druzhyny (volunteer squads), and the National Corps Party.
The religious sphere is another source of tensions. After the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) by non-canonical Ukrainian churches with the support from the Poroshenko government, persons affiliated with and supporting the newly created entity launched a new round of campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in the country. The goal of this campaign is to intimidate priests of the canonical Orthodox Church and seize property belonging to it. Reports revealing these efforts appear from Ukrainian regions.
In the village of Novaya Moshanica of the Rivne (Rovno) Region, supporters of the OCU attacked home of a local priest of the Russian Orthodox Church. Pro-OCU radicals reportedly beat the priest and are attempting to expel him from the village.
The OCU was established in December 2018 with help from the Kiev government. Then President Poroshenko saw it as a useful tool in his presidential campaign mostly based on anti-Russian propaganda and claims that Zelensky was a ‘Russian puppet’. The decision was also endorsed by the US through its influence on the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The OCU received its Tomos of autocephaly from Constantinople in January 2019. The Washington establishment saw this as a logical step to divide the societies of Ukraine and Russia even further.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- What’s Shaking Moldova? The Sign of Easteuropean Oligarchy.
- New President, Old Story: Zelensky Visits Brussels To Discus NATO, EU Membership
- Orthodox Church Found Itself In Center Of Geopolitical Standoff In Eastern Europe