The Geneva meeting between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden gave hope that Russia and the United States of America, through mutual compromises, will be able to achieve greater mutual understanding with each other, find common ground and begin to move towards resolving frozen conflicts throughout the post-Soviet space: first of all, in the Donbas, Abkhazia, South Ossetia. The problem of Transnistria and the geopolitical orientation of Moldova in general is no exception. The “tug of war” between the West and Russia in this country has been greatly delayed. Meanwhile, today there is a unique situation in the republic when its geopolitical tossing can finally stop. Moldova has every chance to firmly embark on the path of integration into the European Union and NATO, to put an end to the chronic problems inherent in this state.
Early parliamentary elections will be held on July 11. Most likely, the “Action and Solidarity” (PAS) party controlled by President Maia Sandu is projected to win locally and with the strong support of the Moldovan diaspora in the West. Thus, along with the presidency and the constitutional court, a parliament and a government will be formed from people of a pro-Western orientation, and without the influence of such criminal figures as Vladimir Plahotniuc or Vyacheslav Platon.
Nevertheless, it is an obvious fact that Moldova is riddled with metastases of corruption and crime: the volume of financial fraud and drug trafficking is breaking all records in this part of Europe. The country remains the poorest on the continent: the gross domestic product per capita barely reaches $4,500, the minimum wage hovers around $130 per month. According to the human development index calculated by the United Nations, Moldova ranks 90th in the world, located between the Dominican Republic and Algeria, significantly inferior to countries such as Colombia, Iran or Sri Lanka. There is a real demographic catastrophe: according to the International Monetary Fund, by 2036 the population will decrease by 260 thousand people and will amount to 2.36 million. The migration problem is extremely painful for the Moldovan society: hundreds of thousands of citizens are forced to look for work abroad, mainly in the EU and the Russian Federation.
According to the latest study by the GlobalPeaceIndex Institute for Economics and Peace, Moldovan citizens have the strongest fear of violence in all of Eastern Europe. 38% of respondents are concerned that they may become a victim of violent crimes. This indicator is the final verdict of the entire law enforcement and judicial system of the state.
Alas, we must admit the obvious: the state mechanism of Moldova is not viable, and Moldovan politicians are not able to fix the situation on their own. The only reasonable way out is to rely on Romania — only a clear line of rapprochement with Bucharest will open up a European perspective for Chisinau. Romania, which historically grew out of Moldova, should return its debt to the ancestress and give her a helping hand, take her under guardianship.
Let us not presume that Moldova and Romania are ready to become one state at the moment — such issues can only be resolved by a referendum in both countries. However, one thing is absolutely clear: only President Maia Sandu and her political force can put into practice the scenario of the reunification of two divided parts of a single people.
Close integration into the Romanian law enforcement and judicial system is necessary to cleanse Moldova from the corruption plague and the dominance of crime at all levels of government. Romanian prosecutors, judges and officials have already shown in practice that they are able to carry out reforms and bring their country to the high standards of the European Union. Take, for example, the work of Laura Codruța Kövesi who is the first European Chief Prosecutor and the former chief prosecutor of Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate.
At the same time, the efforts of the European Union are clearly not enough for a total reformatting of the Moldovan political space. The United States should support the Action and Solidarity party in this election campaign but at the same time, the Joe Biden administration should rely on Romania. Of course, the Romanian support is perceived with irritation by many in Moldova. However, Washington needs to be aware of who exactly considers the Romanian “intervention” toxic. Such people were very accurately described in April of this year by the former Romanian Ambassador to Chisinau Daniel Ioniță, who called them “primitive Moldovenists.” These are, first of all, thieving mayors, dishonest businessmen, representatives of the local criminal world. To somehow defend their positions, they are trying to rely on the alleged historical heritage: Moscow Orthodoxy (as opposed to the Romanian Orthodox Church), the Russian language, the so-called “traditional values”, but in fact supporting the medieval discrimination against sexual minorities and the imposition of morally outdated, patriarchal stereotypes about the family on Moldovans.
After the victory, the PAS will have to completely clean up the political and economic sphere from these people. In addition, in order to restore order, it would be necessary to bring to order hundreds of corrupt civil servants, businessmen, and politicians for their criminal actions. As in Romania the same processes must inevitably take place in Moldova if it wants to claim something more than a visa-free regime and theEU association agreement.
Today, Romania is the flagship of the New Europe, a clear successful example of Euro-Atlantic integration, a country where wages are three times higher than in Moldova, and the level of corruption is much lower. Only Romania is able, with the support of the United States, to realize the cherished dream of the Moldovans — to become a full member of the European family. The solution of this task, without any doubt, will demonstrate to the world the significant role of the United States in protecting democratic values, will contribute to the strengthening of political forces focused on rapprochement with the West in other regions of Eastern Europe, will get rid of the destructive influence of Russia and China.
The victory of Action and Solidarity in the parliamentary elections and the successful implementation of reforms with the assistance of Washington and Bucharest will open up a European perspective not only to the Moldovan people, but also to Maia Sandu. According to her personal qualities, Sandu is a politician of a pan-European scale who can realize herself in the senior positions in the European Union, especially since the appointment of representatives of the New Europe to high posts in Brussels has been a trend in recent years. The election of the former chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate of Romania Laura Kövesi as the chief prosecutor of the EU is not the only example of this kind. Let’s recall at least former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who headed the European Council for five years, or Polish ex-Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, who was President of the European Parliament in 2009-2012. It is worth noting that the European Commission, the highest executive body of the European Union, has never been headed by a politician from the countries of the former socialist camp. In 2019, a woman, Ursula von der Leyen, took the post of EC chairman for the first time. Her powers expire in December 2024. Why is it impossible to consider Maia Sandu as her successor, if she manages to pull Moldova out of the criminal and corruption abyss with bold and decisive actions, becoming a symbol of the defeat of autocrats and oligarchs throughout the European space? Moreover, Sandu has Romanian citizenship.
On July 11, Moldova will make its choice between the EU / NATO and primitive Moldovenism, between freedom and the omnipotence of criminal authorities, between progressive reforms and the abyss. Whether this choice will become irreversible depends solely on the active actions of Washington, Bucharest, and EU to support the current Moldova president and her political force in the gradual implementation of the idea of unionism.